When I was going through the redundancy process in early 2013, a friend told me about an organisation called Project Starfish, saying that it was an organisation that employed blind people to work from home. He said that the founder was interested in growing this organisation outside the US and that I should contact him.
Intrigued, I called the founder Subhashish Acharya and found that, in fact, Project Starfish is an organisation that teaches people with vision impairments, and other disabilities, basic business skills, so that they can then work on projects with businesses, and become more employable. (see their website here) After a long discussion with Subhashish (or Subs as we like to call him), I said that I would be very interested in becoming involved with Project Starfish, as I would like to see the organisation grow.
I spent the next few months on conference calls with the other Project Starfish members, learning about how businesses work, and hearing about their opportunities and challenges. It was something I’d never been exposed to before, and fitted in very nicely with the work I was doing in setting up my own business.
Some of the Project Starfish members had a lot of experience in areas such as Microsoft applications, sales and business analysis, so we decided to put together a formal training program for the other members. I expressed an interest in learning to manage a team, so was appointed training Manager. As our membership grew, we added trainers to our group, and ended up providing our training to members in 8 different countries. It was great!
I learned a lot about training, scheduling, dealing with people from different cultures, and managing conflicts. It was wonderful to feel valued and needed again, and to see others growing and flourishing as they gained skills and confidence.
When I joined the John Maxwell team, and started my training, Subs was kind enough to let me try out my new coaching, training and speaking skills on the project Starfish members. It was not only a wonderful chance to practice, but also to see what value John Maxwell’s material could bring to others. Even now, I have a new mastermind I want to add to my collection, and have been given permission to try it out on Project Starfish.
In his book “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, John Maxwell states that “Leaders add value by serving others” (The Law of Addition). I learned this lesson very practically through my work with Project Starfish. But little did I know how much they would give back to me. I am very grateful to Subs and Project Starfish for helping me become the person I am today.
If you know anyone with a vision impairment, or other disability, who is unemployed and willing to learn some extra skills, please visit http://pstarfish.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Nasreen on +1 781 262 0520.