We are so excited that Ana Hammock, VP of Lending, Accion East is joining us as a VIP for our 7th annual Speed Networking evening on June 25th, 2014. We caught up with her to ask a few questions and find out more about her journey as an impact professional.
How do you introduce yourself at a networking event (your personal elevator pitch)?
Hi, I am Ana Hammock the VP of Lending at Accion East. Accion East is a national nonprofit microlender that provides business loans and financial education. By connecting small business owners with the financing and advice it takes to grow healthy businesses, we’re fulfilling dreams, creating jobs and strengthening local communities.
What inspired you to pursue a career with positive social or environmental impact?
My father has always been my inspiration. He has always worked to create positive change in the world. Because of him, I knew from a young age that I wanted to be involved in work that had a positive social impact. Initially, I was convinced that my path would be one involved in international development. I studied at Tufts and lived for some time overseas in Sri Lanka and parts of Africa, working in the field of international trade and development. After a few years spent abroad, I found a strong pull to return to Boston. I have always loved Boston. I grew up in a suburb of Boston. I felt that although I had a lot to give overseas, I had even more that I could contribute to Boston and surrounding communities. Since then, I have dug in deep and put forth every effort into improving my beloved hometown.
What’s the most interesting/most fun/most challenging aspect of your job?
I love working with people. The people that work at Accion love the work and that energy is contagious. It is amazing to see businesses that we have been working with for years succeed. I never get tired of hearing the personal stories of our clients, sharing their feelings of triumph and the obstacles they face. I love not only meeting, but knowing the business owners down the street where I live, where I socialize and where I work. As a result, the work can engulf your every waking moment because you are tied to that entrepreneur’s success. What makes the job the most rewarding is also what makes it the most challenging.
What advice would you give to those looking for a career with a positive social or environmental impact?
It is so important to truly understand the culture of an organization before you dive into a career there. Understand as best you can how you would fit in–or not–with that culture. Once you decide on an organization, you will immerse yourself in the mission. It is critical to work hard and apply passion to your work. By working hard, you will learn skills that will be useful in the future. Do not give up and remember that a path might lead you to where you least expected it to.
What’s the best networking tip you’ve ever been given?
Listen more and talk less! When networking, always focus on how you can help the person you are talking to rather than what you can get out of them. By focusing on others, you are creating lasting connections. It also may help with removing any social anxiety you may have.
Places for Speed Networking 2014 are going fast! Sign up today and join us on June 25th to meet an amazing line up of VIPs and make connections with fellow Net Impact members – you never know where it could lead.