charity: water

Making A Career In Social Entrepreneurship by Lucas Turner

Earlier this year, I was interviewed by Unite 4 Good, which is an online global community of socially conscious leaders & entrepreneurs. I spoke about everything from studying social entrepreneurship in college, to hustling to make key connections, to living and traveling abroad to the developing world with incredible organizations, to working with inspiring youth from all over the world. Read the entire article here at  Unite 4 Good


#withoutshoes by Lucas Turner

Love your work, work for what you love, and change the world - all at the same time.
— Blake Mycoskie, TOMS

Today, the company that first inspired me to become a social entrepreneur, celebrates a holiday worth honoring. For every photo of bare feet tagged with #withoutshoes on Instagram, TOMS will give a new pair of shoes to a child in need, no purchase necessary. Yes, there are going to be an incredible amount of shoes given on this one certain day, due to One Day Without Shoes, but it is even more incredible that TOMS places giving at the core of everything it does and believes in, every single day. That is why I first fell in love with TOMS, why I became a student of their model, and why I strove to become an intern there some day. That day has come and gone.

May 20, 2015 - TOMS Roasting Co. - NYC

If I am being completely honest, interning at TOMS was a very distant dream of mine. I am pretty sure at one point, they received over 10,000 applications for one summer term. However, that did not stop my determined 20 year old self to apply and try to e-mail anyone that might have known someone's aunt's friend who had a neighbor that worked at TOMS. Looking back on those e-mails, I laugh because I knew no one (stalking LinkedIn accounts doesn't count) and I thought that everyone was interested in my laundry list of high school achievements and sudden interest in social entrepreneurship. I had not even been to LA. Let's just say I never heard back from any of those application pleas. 

I don't take rejection or people ignoring me very well, so I decided to work my ass off and hustle. I was determined to work for a for purpose company, especially after reading Start Something That Matters. So, fast forward two years, and there I was, finally in LA, on my fall-break as a senior in college, with my best friend. Instead of boozing on some beach with the other college grad hopefuls, we decided to go to LA to make our faces known and bust into our favorite company's and non-profit's doors. IT WORKED. I met so many key people. I don't know how many times I heard "you're from Kansas? why are you here?", but for some reason people liked me. We successfully hustled TOMS, Krochet Kids International, Homeboy Industries and some how ended up on the game show Let's Make a Deal (I lost). I ended up landing my 6 month internship with KKi in Peru that spring and I credit it to that trip. 

October 16, 2012 - This was the day I tracked down TOMS brand new HQ, walked in the front door like I was supposed to be there, and asked A LOT of questions. It was one of the best days of my life at the time. 

I officially started my internship with TOMS on June 16, 2014. That previous spring I was in between jobs after spending 3 months working for charity: water in Uganda, and I had no clue what I was going to do. At that point, the thought of taking another internship was not incredibly appealing as a college grad, but I decided to shoot one last ditch attempt email to the TOMS recruiter even though the deadline to apply had past. My subject line was catchy, I mentioned KKi and charity: water in the first sentence, and lo and behold, it caught the recruiters eye. I went through a few interviews, made myself incredibly adaptable and headed out to LA for the summer. 

The summer was a beautiful whirlwind. My time at TOMS was exactly what I had hoped for and everything I did not expect. It was equivalent to a 10-week crash course on all things TOMS, with meaningful projects, meetings with execs, new product roll outs, field trips, community service, hard deadlines and lots of TOMS Roasting Co. coffee. I was even asked to model for the Holiday Catalog. The project that excited me the most entailed working with the TOMS Retail Store roll-out team. I witnessed the most dynamic team dream up, envision and execute opening the three new TOMS stores in Portland, Chicago and New York City. One of my tasks was to help redefine what the retail experience would look like for the TOMS customer, with an emphasis on giving. This project challenged me beyond my wildest expectations, but at the end of the day, I had a hand in executing a successful event for over thirty TOMS supporters at the Abbot Kinney store, I presented my findings to the retail executives and I ended the summer feeling like a made a small impact on a company of over 300 employees and millions of supporters. Watching the One for One movement and TOMS brand come to life has been amazing - I have now visited all of the stores except the international locations and Portland.

When the summer ended, I knew something bigger was calling my name and I was not sure if that was with TOMS or not. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to land my dream job with buildOn, which took me back to the East Coast. Trust me, had I not taken a chance on the TOMS internship, I would have never been considered for my current position that takes me all over the globe. I now utilize skills every single day that I acquired in those 10 weeks in LA. I will forever be grateful to TOMS for taking a chance on me and I will always be a supporter of the One for One movement no matter where I go in life. I am proud to be a part of the #tomstribe for life. 

If you find yourself wanting to do something, it is never to late. Go for it, make yourself relevant and known, and get ready for one hell of a ride. As the TOMS Founder and Chief Shoe Giver, Blake Mycoskie, always says - Carpe Diem! 



Learning From 365 Days of Uncertainty by Lucas Turner

— Seth Godin

Taking advantage of opportunities. Taking risks. Taking a step back. Taking my career on a whirlwind. Taking the hands of loved ones. Taking full control over my happiness. 

2014 was a year for taking. 

Yes, I gave. I gave my time. I gave hope. I gave expertise. I gave love. I gave advice. I gave my best. Giving is naturally a part of who I am. But as I closed the chapter of 2014, I have been focusing on what I took from my journey around the sun and I am using it as momentum for 2015. It is shaping up to be just as unpredictable and candid as 2014. 

Every month in 2014 brought new challenges, new people, craziness and everything I needed in the present moment. There were a crazy amount of kickass moments where I had to pinch myself, but equally I had those shitty moments where I was left wondering why the eff things were sucking so bad. If someone would have told me in January what my life would have been like in December, or explained the revelations I would have or the accomplishments & failures I would encounter throughout the year, I would have laughed my ass off.

But, being open to the uncertainties is what makes life fun. And that is exactly what I did. I let the uncertainty fuel me. It kept me guessing, kept me motivated, kept me courageous and kept me honest. Some months were more adventurous, some more challenging and some went by in a flash. However, I can confidently say that I grew and positively evolved from every single month. 

2014 best year ever? It's definitely up there. 

- Took a chance on fundraising and reached my $5,000 goal to fund #lucastouganda. 
- Took a step back and held my family close as we came together to fight cancer. We won. 
- Took off on the adventure of a lifetime to Uganda as a field volunteer with charity: water.
- Honed in on my photo & storytelling skills.

- Drove through the Ugandan bush in a truck (l learned how to drive a manual) with my translators Fred and Dennis. We laughed a lot.

- Finished clean water assessments in 65 villages in Uganda & took over 5,000 photos.
- Visited Krochet Kids Uganda, rafted the Nile and showered in waterfalls at Sipi Falls.
- Spent time at Abide Family Center & took a 12 hr bus to the Africa Yoga Project in Nairobi.
- Took photos at a baby elephant orphanage, kissed a giraffe and practiced yoga, a lot.
- Explored the Kenyan coast, chatted with Mama Aliya & sailed a sailboat in Lamu, Kenya.

- Drank coconuts from a tree, did sunrise yoga and chased dolphins at 6am in Zanzibar. 
- Ended my time in Africa with a 3-day safari in Murchison National Park. I SAW HIPPOS!
- Wandered the streets of Istanbul and caves of Cappadocia & then went to a turkish bath.
- Stayed with new and old friends in Berlin, Amsterdam and Gloucester, England.
- Got my annual sis/bro passport stamp in Barcelona, Spain - drank mucho sangria & gin.

- Returned to NYC jobless & had the WORST reverse culture shock. I cried in the park.
- Had 4 job interviews, went to Boston, went
home to reset & returned to NYC to hustle.
- Resumed my role as "resident house elf"
at my sister, Emily's, apartment. She rocks.
- Met the badass Miki Agrawal & partnered w/ her to make Do Cool Sh*t a movement.
- Started training for Boulder 70.3 Ironman.
- Accepted a summer internship with TOMS.

- Worked on DCS @ Centre for Social Innovation, a hub of NYC's most talented. 
- Woke up each day and either swam 40 laps or ran at least 6 miles. 
- Learned how to use inDesign and Photoshop.
- Lived off of $600 for the entire month. 
- Spent Memorial Day on Nantucket with my 
friends from THINX - we painted and beached.
- Biked 50 miles along the Hudson River & on
New Jersey's Palisades cycling highway. 

- Executed the first ever Do Cool Sh*t Meet-Up
WILD Williamsburg - hosted over 85 Doers.
- Launched the DCS Bootcamp Website!
- I left NYC for the summer literally buzzing.
- Roadtripped to LA w/ my badass mom, saw the
Grand Canyon, ate In-N-Out and sang a lot.
- Moved into a beach studio owned by a hippie.
- FINISHED Boulder 70.3 Ironman in 6:34:25!
- Kicked off my dream internship at TOMS.
- I auditioned for SURVIVOR for the 2nd time.

- I was blown away by having a complete stranger feel like I had known them forever. 
- I spent July 4th in Malibu with some of the 
coolest new friends LA could have given me.
- Went to a Dodger's game, to Disney-Lund, Soul-Cycled, explored DTLA & chilled in WEHO.
- I road-tripped to Sequoia National Park w/ my soul-sister Sarah. We chatted, camped, ran out of gas & fist pumped into Santa Barbara. 
- I modeled for TOMS Holiday Catalog - what?!

- I met #TEAMTURNER for a TX family triathlon.
- I won the TOMS watermelon eating challenge.
- Took 2 spontaneous road trips along the
amazing PCH to San Diego & Santa Barbara. 
-The Head & the Heart @ The Hollywood Bowl.
- Flew to San Fran for an interview w/ buildOn.
- Hosted a TOMS Giving Night for 30+ guests.
- Made the toughest decision to close my 
LA chapter & had the hardest goodbye ever.
- Drove thru Vegas, Zion, CO & KS w/ my dad.

- Made the incredibly tough choice to stop working on Do Cool Sh*t.
- Packed my car & hit the road w/ Sarah to NYC & celebrated 24 in CHI w/ tons of amazing pals. 
- Started my Trek Coordinator job w/ buildOn & earned my 1st salaried paycheck - woo hoo!
- Earned my WFR certification in Detroit
(I got you for head trauma or travel diarrhea).
- Saw Broadway shows Once & Rock of Ages!
- Moved into a studio apt in Stamford, CT. 

- Spent a weekend in Boston w/ camp friends.
- Hosted my parents for the weekend in CT.
- Ran the Staten Island 1/2 Marathon w/ my dad.
- Interviewed 30+ Bronx students for trek.
- Took off to Nepal for my first 2 buildOn treks.
- Briefed Kathmandu & flew over the Himalayas.
- Lived in Jamunipur Village, broke ground on
buildOn's 700th school & celebrated Diwali.
- Danced in traditional Nepalese clothing, took
 cold bucket baths & spoke Tharu language.

- Scaled the Monkey Temple, saw a cremation ceremony & received tika from a Hindu priest.
- Welcomed 18 Dubai Cares trekkies to Nepal.
- Dug a latrine, failed at balancing things on my 
head & ate with my hands ... also ate SNAILS!
- Missed flights, took buses & slept in the UAE.
- Attended my first buildOn gala.
- Went to KC for Thanksgiving & faced one of 
my biggest fears eye to eye - I won. 
- A million emotions - Nov. ended - thank God.

My buildOn "unselfie" made it on Mashable.
- I became incredibly close to my siblings.
- I was inspired by charity: water's TRIBUTE 
event in NYC & connected w/ old colleagues.
- I attended many a Christmas parties.
- Led Haiti pre-trek workshops for my students.
- Began hating my studio & planned NYC move.
- Flew home for Christmas - lots of family time.
- Ended the year by partying w/ some of my
closest camp friends in Miami - bc why not?