Over the past few weeks in my meetings with my mentor, I have discovered lots of new information. Namely, together we have come up with a plan for the formulation of the presentation I hope to give to the owner and president of the ESL school. When our conversations drifted away from the refugee stage of my project, where it has been so far, we began to talk about our presentation experiences and how to approach this new one. My mentor does business presentations as a part of her work, and I have done a few presentations but generally they have been in a more relaxed setting. I learned that my mentor has the precise skills and experience to assist me in more than just the refugee aspect of my project. I asked Ms York if questions about her specific experiences, and this allowed for me to also ask her about the tone and approach I should bring to my presentation.
When I asked my mentor about ideal tone and attitude, she recommended I think from the perspective of the school. “Think of what they want. How would this benefit them?” We discussed how a donation is different from a typical business deal where each party gets something of a fair value. In a donation, one can appeal to the humanitarian side of the managers and owner, but past that there is not much to be gained by the owners. That is why I need to be very thorough in my research and pitch. I must find as much as a benefit for the management side of things, but I am still relying heavily on their sense of charity.
A new perspective that will be valuable to me is that of the school management. It is a really crucial part of the success of my proposal, and something that will be a consideration throughout my project research. ‘How will this sound to the school management?’
My mentors values are more in tune with the professional and business world. Ms York understands the mindset of the kinds of people I will be trying to get donations from. This is going to be a challenge for me, because as we discussed, I genuinely do not understand why no action on the refugee crisis has been taken on by the school already. It is very difficult for me to comprehend that mindset and assortment of values. My mentor, however, is able to reason through the decisions and action or lack thereof of people in the business. This difference of values is really going to assist me in the progression of my project.
Some questions I asked included:
- How long should my presentation be?
30 minutes maximum, says my mentor. I must also include question time and preparations.
- What kind of notice should I give the schools of my project
After discussing this with my mentor, we have determined that I will be contacting the Owners and management, (anyone involved in the decision making process), two to four weeks in advance to book a time for a meeting.
- What should I be researching?
I need to research on self, refugees, and them (as mentioned above) as well as the answers to some questions that I can anticipate will be asked of me. Use hard facts and numbers!
- What should I talk about during my presentation?
My mentor suggested I speak about the lack of footing currently available to new refugees in Canada, and even more locally. I will need to be clear in what I am asking of the school and why. These components should be supported with visuals.
The project specifics and questions that my mentor and I went over these past few weeks mostly consist of my presentation to the school executives. We have determined that this presentation includes three parts, Self, Refugees, School. These three categories represent the research I will have to do, perspectives I will have to take, and questions I have to ask. The Self part includes my reasoning, story, and vision in relation to this proposal. The Refugee aspect includes their stories and needs, information I will collect from ISSofBC studies and other resources. The final aspect, School or ‘Them’, which will be mostly what I am asking of the school, what it would cost them, and why it matters that they contribute, all spoken from as close as I can get to their perspective.
This will be my last official post until after spring break, so I will be posting about all of my research progress in a few weeks. Have a great break!