As a way to promote the incredible work our Host Organizations are doing and to spread word of the substantial impact Atlas Corps Fellows have on their teams, we are sharing a short feature on Spark and their experience with Atlas Corps.
Host Organization: Spark
Spark seeks to advance gender equality by engaging the next generation in accessible forms of philanthropy.
Fellow: Marina Bulavskaia (Russia, Class 23)
Originally from Saint Petersburg, Marina has three years of development experience and ten years of international volunteer experience. She graduated from Saint Petersburg State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Management. Marina has embarked on an international journey and contributed to several organizations such as the Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, the UN Foundation and Fair Observer “Voices of the World” Program, and The Earth Saviours Foundation in India in project management, marketing, communications and capacity building.These activities have allowed her to strengthen her analytical reporting and content creation skills, and have developed her passions towards volunteering, climate change, and environmental and energy sustainability.
Marina’s View on Serving Spark:
What is your role at Spark?
I am serving at Spark as a Communications and Marketing Director. Spark’s team consists of the Executive Director, Program Director, and Communications and Marketing Director.
How has your experience with Spark impacted your perspective? What has the organization taught you?
Being part of an organization like Spark, with a small team and a great vision, has showed me how a combination of a valuable cause (e.g. gender equality) and a network of people passionate about the work that you do can generate remarkable results that often times exceed everyone’s expectations. The people who contribute their time and expertise to the advancement of Spark, some of whom have been doing it voluntarily for many years, are a driving force behind our progress and behind the advancement of gender equality around the world.
How has your experience with your supervisor impacted your perspective? What has your supervisor taught you?
Working closely with my supervisor and Spark’s ED, Amanda, has taught me how much I could achieve while being guided by a supportive and understanding leader. She has helped me channel the drive, passion and resilience that I have into supporting Spark’s development and growth.
How will you build upon the skills and knowledge gained during your Fellowship once you return to your home country? How will your experience in the United States help you pursue your goals in the future?
Serving at Spark has helped me deepen my knowledge and understanding of the gender and social justice landscape, and I hope to continue my work in this area. I have learnt about many creative and innovative approaches to tackling various social issues, and I am convinced that this new understanding and this new mindset will stimulate me to develop more wholesome solutions for my community.
Supervisor: Amanda Brock, Executive Director
At Atlas Corps, we have a tradition of stating our “Five Facts” when introducing ourselves to new people. Please state the following facts:
- Name – Amanda Brock
- Hometown – The small town of Los Angeles, CA
- Role at Organization – Executive Director
- Social Issue/Interest Area – Gender equality/next gen philanthropy
- Fun fact – I got to perform Scene 3 Act 2 of Midsummer Night’s Dream on the stage of the Shakespeare Globe Theatre in London. It was a total dream!
Why did you decide to host an Atlas Corps Fellow?
As a lean non profit, hosting an Atlas Corps Fellow seemed like the perfect opportunity to grow our capacity in a way that was responsible and also truly interesting! It’s been awesome experience to have an international perspective on the nonprofit and women’s rights landscape. We chose Marina because she came HIGHLY recommended from Atlas Corps HQ and had a lot of gumption. She was proactive in her approach in contacting us and I was really impressed with her professional experience which has led her around the globe.
How has your Fellow contributed to your team?
Marina goes above and beyond the call of duty everyday and we feel so lucky to have her. She is a true professional with a creative eye to boot. Marina has revamped our marketing material and social media strategy while also ensuring our events run smoothly and our members are engaged. Renaissance woman!
How will your Fellow’s contributions and insights impact your organization in the long run?
Marina’s creative approach will be adopted even after she has to leave Spark. Additionally, she has implemented many processes that streamline our event check in, donor renewals, and marketing strategy.
What has your Fellow taught you?
Marina has taught me so much! She is so cultured, having lived all over the world. I’m constantly learning from her travel experiences. Marina has also taught me more about Russian culture – from a philanthropic, political, and organizational standpoint than I would have ever known otherwise. She is wise beyond her years!
Since it is International Women’s Day in March, we are looking to highlight the importance of empowering global female leaders in our next newsletter. With that said, why do you think it is important to empower global female leaders?
It’s a fact. When you invest in women, they reinvest in their communities and their impact is exponential. Women have been – and continue to be – at the forefront of grassroots change. It’s imperative to invest in global female leaders so they can do the hard word they set out to do. The gender gap for funding women founders is getting worse – especially for African American women entrepreneurs. Also, women still only make up less than 20% of the U.S. Congress. Women around the globe are deeply connected to their communities and know what is best for themselves, their families and their communities. Investing in women is not only the right choice; it is the smart choice for the future of social change.
More about Atlas Corps:
Atlas Corps partners with mission-driven organizations (nonprofit, private, and government) to facilitate a professional exchange program for the world’s best emerging social change leaders to live and serve in the United States for a 12-month Fellowship. The Atlas Corps network currently includes more than 600 professionals from 87 countries who have served at 220 organizations.
Interested in becoming a Host Organization for an Atlas Corps Fellow? Contact Brittany Gropp at firstname.lastname@example.org.