Summer Entrepreneurial Experiences

Author Archive


Friday, August 21, 2015 4:00 pm

As the summer closes and I reflect over my work thus far with Minds Renewed, I am pleased with all of the progress that has been made. Lucy, myself, and several volunteers have worked tirelessly collecting contact information and emailing thousands of therapists nationwide. While all of the emails have been sent and a good number of responses have been recorded, it is time to design the survey and send it out to the therapists who agreed to take it. As Lucy so thoroughly described in her latest post, the first survey will consist of open-ended questions to give us an idea of the feasibility of MR, as well as how some of the logistics will be worked out, and if it’s an idea that mental health care workers would be interested in. While I myself am not taking part in the design of the survey questions (this is what Lucy, our marketing expert, and Mr. Mills are tackling), I am still working to get the involvement of minority therapists. My latest phone call was very beneficial, as I was given a number of people to contact, as well as organizations to look into. Other than that, most of my work is complete for now. Like Lucy, I will also be sending out surveys and continuing to work during the school year, in an effort to get MR up and rolling. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but I am confident that MR is well on its way and that our efforts this summer, though seemingly endless, have put us a step closer to our end goal.

Little Successes

Friday, July 10, 2015 3:32 am

For the last few weeks, I have been working to collect and document information on therapists nationwide, a seemingly endless task that entails hours of monotonous computer work. I finally finished all of the states that were assigned to me and was given the go-ahead to start officially contacting therapists. Of the nearly 900 emails that I have sent out thus far, I have received about 50 positive responses. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but the people who have responded have been extremely positive, willing to help out, and encouraging. Getting this type of feedback is like confirmation that I’m making a small difference in Transformed Minds and that I’m helping us get that much closer to completing the consortium. A few of the enthusiastic therapists have been very interested in TM and have asked how they can get involved. All that’s left after a few hundred more emails is to make the survey, send it out, and wait for the responses. The responses will then be used to build the website, build the consortium, and reach clients. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we’re well on our way!

In addition to sending out these general emails, I have been working with a few of our board members to identify members of historically black denominations. After some productive phone calls and emails, I have a list of contacts to reach out to and organizations to look into, as well as some more research to do to work on keeping the consortium diverse and covering all of our bases. While this project doesn’t seem to have really paid off yet, I am certain that once the ball starts rolling, it will continue to gain momentum until our special advisers are found, nominated, and named. I am looking forward to more conversations with our board members and their potential nominees. All in all, I would say that things are finally starting to fall into place. These little successes are adding up one email at a time.


Easier Said Than Done

Thursday, June 18, 2015 9:34 pm

I’ve been working with Transformed Minds (TM) for a little over a month now, at my own pace, and I am enjoying it. Just to recap, TM is an organization working to build a national consortium of 12,000 Christian therapists and to create a website where mental health patients can go to find resources and the right therapist. Anyway, TM is at the stage where we’re having to turn our ideas into actions, which is “easier said than done.”

Right now, we are working on creating various surveys to send to therapists to provide insight on what we should be doing, what we should be focusing on, the best way to reach potential clients, whether or not the idea for TM will work, etc. In the meantime, we are in the process of contacting Christian therapists nationwide and asking for participation in these surveys. After using the Psychology Today database and looking at the number of Christian therapists listed per state and comparing that to the total number of therapists, our marketing expert told us that 500-600 completed surveys would be roughly representative of the nearly 12,000 listed Christian therapists. This means that we need to send out 2,250 emails, in the hopes of getting 500-600 to agree to take our surveys. The work is very time-consuming, as we are also recording information on each therapist who will be contacted, but the motto that keeps me going is: “Every little bit helps.”

In addition, I am in charge of getting minority therapists involved, so I have been working on another project. For now, I’m starting with historically black denominations (HBDs) and working that angle. I’ve begun corresponding with a few of our black board members to get suggestions from them. They are helping to identify, nominate, and engage the handful of consortium members who are from HBDs, and once I have those names, I will be reaching out to them as well. This means more phone calls, more emails, and more meetings. As an introvert, I’m not usually one to put myself out there, but working with TM is teaching me how to be more assertive and how to network. It’s a great learning experience, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the summer!

A Nationwide Effort

Sunday, June 7, 2015 11:05 pm

The purpose of Transformed Minds (TM) is to create a website that can be a major resource for people who suffer from mental illness. Because TM is a web-based organization still in its preliminary stages, much of the work I have been assigned is on the computer. This includes research, nationwide database searches, and general information gathering. Although I can work from home, the work is rather time-consuming. I am enjoying it, because I know that every little bit I do is helping to make a small difference in the future of the company.

With TM being a non-profit organization, it relies on the combined efforts of volunteers, interns, and its executive board. The only person I have direct contact with is Mr. Bob Mills, the president of TM and my supervisor. We meet periodically to go over how various projects are progressing and to see what our next move will be. The most recent project is in response to a meeting with one of TM’s marketing volunteers, Doug Shouse. He and Mr. Mills discussed the best way to reach a representative sample of Christian mental health care workers in the U.S. Based on his advice, our next project will be collecting information on a percentage of therapists in each state and asking for participation in multiple surveys that will be sent out to provide more information on what exactly TM’s approach should be. The data gathered will put us one step closer to the overall mission. In addition, once preliminary data is gathered, I will take information from the minority counselors and work to to get their specific feedback on how to reach minority populations.

Help for the Hurting

Sunday, May 31, 2015 1:35 am

An estimated 1 in 5 adults in the United States suffers from some type of mental illness, whether it be depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, PTSD, or any other mental disorder. While there are hundreds of thousands of mental health care workers to provide relief and treatment for mental illness, in many cases people are overwhelmed by the simple act of finding the right therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, etc. It can be discouraging, time-consuming, and embarrassing to “put yourself out there” in the midst of a society in which there is still a stigma attached to mental health patients, as well as fear and discrimination.

Enter Bob Mills, a retired Wake Forest University Advancement employee, who is the president of the organization for which I’ll be interning this summer – Transformed Minds: The Consortium for a Christ-like Response to Mental Health. After Mr. Mills was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in his 40s, he began seeing a therapist and turned to his church for support. He was then inspired to form Transformed Minds (TM), a Christian-based organization that would consist of a user-friendly website with resources and contact information (of members of the consortium). The consortium will eventually be comprised of 12,000 hand-selected mental health care workers nationwide who agree to be resources for users of the website and potential clients. The goal of TM is to make it easier for mental health patients to get the resources they need.

Presently TM is in its early stages and Mr. Mills, myself, other interns, and volunteers are working to gather information and feedback from mental health care workers across the country. The consortium, when complete, will mimic the layout of the U.S. in terms of people of various demographics, religions, and locations. My focus this summer will be reaching out to minority mental health care workers, beginning with members of the black community.

I am looking forward to corresponding with mental health care workers, learning how to network, and just working with people in general. I expect to learn more about the field of mental health and the workings of web-based organizations. Transformed Minds is an organization with great promise and the potential to help people nationwide, and I am grateful to be a part of it.

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