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EoC Internship 2018: an experience beyond expectations

Summer 2018, an EoC internship that left an indelible mark: the exciting story of an all-round "experience"

by Melissa Mejía Flórez - Organizational Communicator, Colombia

Melissa 225x300During summer break last year, I was accepted to participate in an Economy of Communion Internship Program in the United States as a complement to my academic studies in Economy and Management at the Istituto Universitario Sophia in Italy. When I first arrived, I thought I was looking for a research experience related to the Economy of Communion (EoC) project, but, in addition to the practical research, I found myself immersed in a deep personal adventure - a reminder to disarm our expectations to welcome the depth of every experience. Sharing my experience, I would love to encourage young people and entrepreneurs to make space for an internship on our schedules; all we can give of both sides is just amazing!

During summer break last year, I was accepted to participate in an Economy of Communion Internship Program in the United States as a complement to my academic studies in Economics and Management at the Sophia University Institute The EoC Youth Internship Program was hosted by Mundell & Associates in Indianapolis, Indiana. Last year, it Mundell 01 ridhad something new. Interns could spend time with the program while sharing their professional talents at Project Lia, another EoC company in Indianapolis that has two backbones - social and environmental impact. It was a treasure to get to know the aim of this business on a profound level.

It was exciting to know that there were many opportunities in which I could participate in and contribute to during that year’s internship program and I would love to share a couple of thoughts about it. First, I consider that one of the most important aspects to study, observe, practice, believe and promote the Economy of Communion is the willingness to collaborate. To enter into the relational dynamics of the EoC, it is necessary to open the heart, the mind, and the eyes to those little details that make each experience something extraordinary: the words of encouragement, the smiles, the recognition of the greatness and humanity of the other, the capacity for amazement, the balance of different aspects of life, meeting new people, embracing each new learning, recognizing new information, accepting to transform old concepts, identifying opportunities for change, growth, and creation. The economic proposal of 'communion', of course, goes beyond sharing profits; it is about sharing what makes us human: ideas, emotions, and the willingness to build with others.

Project Lia 03 ridThe EoC is a very social and community oriented project and I feel a responsibility to share this experience: The Economy of Communion is an economical proposal different than others because it is managed by different people and it allows those differences and diversity to become the strength of the organization. It is not the model; it is the people that are the center of every action.

I have embraced the difficult question: how am I going to describe the experience I had so I can encourage others to be part of this network? This internship was very different from previous years. It was demanding and a great example of the process of entrepreneurship. The strong and constant relationship with Elizabeth Wallin, the founder of Project Lia, Project Lia 06 ridallowed me to see myself in the future facing many challenges and difficult moments with resilience and faith, because in the end, running a startup is a very enriching process.

It’s no secret that being an entrepreneur is a continuous discovery of new things and struggles. I observed Elizabeth on a daily basis and came to admire her ability to navigate these constant changes. I really appreciate the time I had to get to know Project Lia’s story because it allowed me to connect not only with the business, but also with the essence of starting a social enterprise and understand the importance of starting a new business from the heart and with intelligence. Now when I think about creating an EoC company, I am sure I will need to step outside my comfort zones and meet with other people. I will need to be patience, humble, and flexible with life, with my friends, with my family, but most importantly, with those I don't know well. When I allow myself to venture to the unknown, I will grow more and have a better picture of why am I here and now. I am still very grateful for the relationships built during the internship experience.

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