Achieving a Global Impact From Home: What Makes a Remote Work Term at Simbi Foundation So Engaging

In January 2022, Emily Messmer, a Business student from Simon Fraser University (SFU), joined Simbi Foundation as the Communications and Marketing Coordinator. As Emily concludes her eight month internship with Simbi Foundation, she looks back on the impactful experience in this memoir style blog!

The Simbi Foundation team joining the monthly town hall meeting from around the world.

When I first committed to a remote internship with Simbi Foundation as the Communications and Marketing Coordinator, I wondered what I would take away from an experience working from home. Given my experience feeling less engaged in remote university courses versus in-person learning during the pandemic, I was surprised to find that this remote work term was my most engaging academic experience to date. After working with Simbi Foundation for eight months, I have gained a plethora of impactful experiences and countless practical skills to guide my career.

Simbi Foundation’s research-based mission to enhance access to quality education in remote and refugee communities is the perfect cause to align with my values as a student. Learning and progressing academically in a role that aims to enhance education for others fostered a mutually beneficial relationship between myself and the organization — one of the many ways that “Simbi Foundation’’ underpins and practices “symbiosis.” It was easy to feel engaged and inspired when I knew that my contributions could have an exponentially positive impact on others, whether practiced through thought leadership by writing a blog post or by working on methods to inspire the Simbi Foundation community to directly contribute to our mission by creating an engaging social media post.

The Simbi Foundation team unites in-person after months of working remotely.

Given the nature of Simbi Foundation’s small but mighty team, I felt further engaged by having autonomy over significant communication and marketing outcomes. I was able to manage the social media calendar and implement personal creativity when planning and developing content. One of my favorite opportunities was planning a promotion schedule and creating affiliated material for Simbi Foundation’s podcast, Impact in the 21st Century. This involved editing inspiring podcast clips featuring prominent innovators like Primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall. It was an honor to develop new media editing skills by working on such valuable content.

One of the most engaging factors of this role was the necessity as a Communications and Marketing Coordinator to collaborate with all internal teams and accurately communicate their projects to the wider Simbi Foundation community. This involved working with our team based in Uganda who reported directly from Bidibidi Refugee Settlement where Simbi Foundation’s seven BrightBox solar-powered solutions are located. I was often the first point of contact to receive photos of the learning resources in use, which I would take initiative to consolidate into shareable content. This allowed me to feel directly connected to our positive impact in Uganda, that I otherwise would have felt less involved in from a remote position. Collaborating with the various teams at Simbi Foundation also meant learning the complete inner workings of a startup organization, which will translate into entrepreneurial skills that guide my future career endeavors.

I am thankful to have gained such a diverse skill set during this work term and to have proved to myself how engaging a remote role can be — especially when working towards global impact. In a podcast clip that I was involved in promoting, Dr. Jane Goodall stated, “Every single individual makes an impact on the planet every single day and you can choose what sort of impact you make.” This quote is a perfect reflection of my experience!

Written by: Emily Messmer

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