The South Colonie CSD continues to report on past students and their respective pathways to success through the district’s inaugural alumni series. This feature series offers in-depth Q&A, storytelling and article features, while keeping you up-to-date on past students, faculty and staff. The district seeks to highlight former student(s) who are accomplishing great things academically, professionally or is making an impact in the community.
The definition of entrepreneurship is generally described as, “the activity of setting up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.” That quote could not be farther from what South Colonie CSD alumnus Gabby Fisher is accomplishing in her life and for her community. As the founder of Co-Mads, she is striking out on her own to connect young adults with making an impact in their communities, while keeping her sights set on new horizons.
A Class of 2010 alumnus of South Colonie CSD and a graduate of the University of Vermont, Ms. Fisher is creating, collaborating and building promise for the Capital Region. Learn more about her story and the impact she’s having in the nonprofit world in today’s Q&A:
How did you get interested in entrepreneurship? How did that carry into the nonprofit sector?
After quitting an unfulfilling job and traveling the world for months, I had time to reflect on the type of life I wanted to live and the type of career that would fill me with purpose – something rooted in community impact. I had always thrived in environments that allowed my creativity to blossom and take on entrepreneurial projects. Working for someone else, for other companies and organizations, never allowed me to have the impact I longed for. Starting something from nothing provides me a thrill. I decided that after my travels, I would come back and build a business that would not only give me the opportunity to create at my own will, but to truly make an impact on the communities and causes that were important to me.
How did South Colonie sharpen your mindset to follow your current pathway?
I had the great fortune of having teachers that believed in me and helped me develop a mind that was world and community centric. My involvement in sports, extracurricular activities, and volunteerism allowed me to develop into a leader with great self-confidence. Without these experiences, I would’ve never been able to embark on the entrepreneurial path I’m on now.
What’s your vision for community impact in our region?
I’m currently the Senior Producer of the Capital Region Brand Initiative, CapNY. It is my mission to not only tell the stories of the great, diverse communities that exist within our region of one million people, but to connect residents to community building and volunteer opportunities that expand one’s worldview and impacts our region in a positive way. Along with a partner, I’m also in the midst of building out “Partners in Change,” which is programming geared towards involving high school students in the missions of local grassroots nonprofits. More to come on this…
What life advice would you give to today’s students to become entrepreneurial?
Growing up, entrepreneurship never seemed like it could be a reality. It seemed so far out of reach. Many people told me I shouldn’t take the risks I did to start my business. Many people didn’t, and still don’t understand why I feel the need to build a business rather than sit in a comfortable, predictable 9-5 position. That lifestyle has never, and will never, be for me. If you want to start a business, put yourself in the company of entrepreneurs and entrepreneur communities – people who are like-minded and can support you along your journey. Contact me. Anytime. I talk to aspiring entrepreneurs all of the time and I’m happy to share my network and put you on the right path.