Social Entrepreneurship Essay

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SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: FOUNDING THE LAKELAND BLACK WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE Barbara J. Nelson and Rita Ulrich Abstract A 35-year-old African American administrator in a state university outreach center attends a workshop on women and leadership. She comes away from the meeting believing that African American women, a small minority in the community and at the university, warrant a leadership program of their own, and she sets out to establish the Lakeland Black Women’s Leadership Conference. She is faced with building an organization from scratch— needing to form an alliance with an existing similar but racially integrated program, already located within the university in which she works. The case is about social entrepreneurship, organizational creation, and separatism as a societal and organizational issue. Case Study How do you build an organization from scratch? Where do you start when there are limited organizational role models to follow, when the very nature of the organization you envision is different from many other organizations? These were questions Tamara Davies faced when she set out to establish an organization where black women could develop their own leadership potential. Tamara Davies was an energetic, 35-year-old administrator for the Community Outreach Program of the Extension Service at Lakeland State University, a large university located in a predominantly white Midwestern city. The Community Outreach Program was an office of 35 full-time people and 40 freelancers that produced communications products—mostly popular articles, reports, and booklets—on a wide range of topics for use by citizens of the entire state. Davies’s formal training was in journalism. Her job at the Community Outreach Program was assistant project manager in Community Resources,
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