Read how Watson Institute helped an entrepreneur, like MacKendy, build his skillset and network to scale his business ideas to meet his ultimate goal of building a better community in his home country.
What field of work were you in prior to Watson?
I was in the social impact space during a lot of international cultural exchange programs. I did that for a couple of years, working with various different groups. The programs were dispersed in about seven countries with different government entities and private entities as well, funding all programs. But then I wanted to do something more significant, which is why I was so keen on Watson trade school.
What made you take the route toward trade school?
We were doing a lot of those programs in Haiti. But I felt that they weren’t having the intended impact that I wanted to have on the local population I was working with. My objective was to level the playing field for them so that they can compete in the job market for their families and community. One of the ways that one can establish themselves as an impactful figure is through economic opportunities. In a country that is riddled with poverty, financial opportunities are harder to come by. The challenge then becomes if you can channel those obstacles and make them work for you.
How has Mia Share helped you on your journey?
I realized that the Watson Institute provided a unique opportunity for me to get a degree in the field of social impact while bringing my personal project to light. Shortly after I graduated and started my ISA payments, I faced some financial difficulties and was struggling to make my payments. Mia Share is in constant contact, so it was easy to reach out and talk to someone regarding my situation.
“In a couple of minutes, they were able to help me with a solution that worked for me and the institute. I was able to get back on track with my payments which allowed me to build myself back from some bad economic circumstances.”
What are some major changes you’ve noticed after trade school?
One of the biggest things I took away from my trade school education is taking mental health seriously, which has proven very helpful in both my professional and personal life, especially as an entrepreneur. I learned a lot about myself and how to cope with poor mental health, but I never actually put it into practice. While at Watson Institute, I was laying the foundation for myself, and then when I graduated, I went back to Haiti. The political sphere there began to change and, ultimately, my mental health declined significantly. Then, after a year, I came back to the US and actually started to listen to my body, what it needs, and how to take care of it. The other thing I learned through school is just how useful a strong network can be.
Do you feel your current work is more in-line with your goals?
Yes and no. No, because I had a vision for my projects in Haiti and I put all my savings and everything I had into it. Things didn't work out the way that I anticipated due to the political climate and the predisposition of those in Haiti. Basically, I lost everything, and as an entrepreneur I was risk-managing. Due to the connections, I’d built in school and through Watson Institute’s network, I was able to land this great job at the University of Boulder Colorado. Now I feel like I’m learning the skillset that better aligns with my goals. There is still a lot I can learn and apply to propel my professional career forward. So I feel like I’m just now on the cusp of my goals and visions coming to fruition.
What advice do you have for someone considering a trade school education?
I would say to define what your true power is and build the pathway necessary to make it your career. Despite how rocky the journey might be to actually step into that power, you will develop the foundation and truly thrive in that industry because of your passion. The second word of advice I need to reiterate is network. Don’t leave any connections untapped. Turn a connection into an acquaintance, but don’t discontinue the network altogether. You never know who can help you!