What defines a Camelback Fellow?


Tomorrow, the application for the 2018 Camelback Fellowship will open. We recently held a webinar with a Q&A session, and over the past month, we’ve been getting a lot of questions along these lines: What makes a successful application? Who are your entrepreneurs and what are they about? What defines a Camelback Fellow?

I started this blog post by trying to write an analysis of our rubric to share, but as I drafted, it became a reflection on the shared values of not just our organization, but of the amazing Fellows I have had the honor of supporting with my work at Camelback. If these observations speak to you, I hope you consider applying to the Camelback Fellowship. (I also wrote another post with application tips.)

Jon shares a moment with 2017 Fellow Ashley before her pitch at the Showcase.

Who are Camelback Fellows?

They believe in our mission.

The entrepreneurs we serve are building schools, services, and products for people whose needs are not generally met. They look at the status quo and say to themselves, this is not enough. They know that markets have disadvantaged the needs of many, for the sake of few.

The entrepreneurs we serve design their product or service hand-in-hand with their customers or beneficiaries. They understand that social enterprise is heavy with good intentions, but light on the understanding required to meet the needs of the people they serve.

They give first.

The entrepreneurs we serve show ambition for their organization over ambition for themselves. They intensely channel energy into initiatives that are large and impactful.

The entrepreneurs we serve build a team passionate about the mission of their organization. Their team is willing to sacrifice to see the organization succeed.

They’re humble and hungry.

The entrepreneurs we serve are turning heads in the communities they serve, as well as within the industry they look to affect.

The entrepreneurs we serve have thought deeply about the team that is needed to help build their organization. They take their time hiring the right people for the right position.

The entrepreneurs we serve understand that conflict is a consistent part of any organization. They actively think about what they can do to create an environment that feeds the needs of their coworkers.

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The 2017 Fellows during one of their first workshops together. 

They are constant learners.

The entrepreneurs we serve have researched, heard, listened to, and observed the needs of their beneficiaries and understand the industry space they represent.

The entrepreneurs we serve spend time thinking about how they are going to make their organization work financially. They run scenarios to understand what is possible and what isn’t possible. They highlight and refine the assumptions they use to determine the profitability and sustainability of their organization.

The entrepreneurs we serve believe that measurement is not a buzzword. They don’t measure for the sake of measuring, but rather to improve outcomes for their organization and the people they serve.

They’re unafraid of failure.

The entrepreneurs we serve value mentorship. They believe that if you aren’t growing, you're not living. They set goals because they will find a way to achieve them. They change what they are doing, if they find a better way to achieve their goals.

The entrepreneurs we serve crave to learn, embrace failure, they give often and without hesitation, they are proud of what they’ve accomplished, but their pride comes from being ruthless for good.

This piece is a part of Camelback's Ruthless for Good series, sharing different ways that individuals embody the spirit of our manifesto and what they fight for. 

Jon Losey is Camelback's Director of Insights and Strategy, and is the project leader of the Camelback 2018 Application.