Giving back to the Start-up Community By Elena Oprea

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eLab Contributor

eLab Contributor

Steve Jobs in his speech for Stanford Graduates in 2005 said that “you cannot connect dots looking forward, but you can connect them looking backwards” and few months ago I managed to connect some of my dots linked with CIEE.

While living my student life I never fully realised how impactful will be on my career the network I was building at that moment.

Only few years later, while working as a Ventures Manager for Innovify - one of London’s more innovative digital product agencies I had this “eurica” moment.

How it happened?

In November last year, I got an email from Kiran - CIEE London eLab Manager regarding a potential partnership and while reading it I felt that now it the moment to “give it back”.

The work and travel experience from the first summer of my student life opened my eyes on how “accessible” is the word. I was 19 years old at that time and traveling completely alone to the other side of the globe for a summer job was the “big event” of my life. I really wanted to prove to myself that all the fears I have  are just in my mind. And it happened, only few hours after I landed in San Francisco. The fear of uncertainty was vanished and I felt so powerful - on the top of the world.

The self confidence that I got from this experience proved to be the best life-long asset.

It helped me get several student scholarships abroad, dare to move to London and find my dream job only few months after graduation.

Now let’s go back to the collaboration between CIEE London eLab and Innovify. We became partners and I start delivering a workshop on How to pitch to investors. Also, together with Innovify’s CEO - Maulik Sailor, we form the jury for the eLab London cohort.

It is a great pleasure and a fulfilling activity to “give back” to the CIEE community because

“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” ~ Arthur Ashe

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