I would be more than happy to speak to anyone about my experiences and share my story. I would also love to meet with anyone who is interested in potentially leaving the City and working in charity as The Walkabout Foundation is now recruiting and looking for interns.This may be a way for someone who is contemplating making the career change to get a taste of what it's like to work in charity.
Carolina quit her job at Goldman Sachs to pursue a long-time dream. Carolina and her brother Luis founded The Walkabout Foundation in 2009. Walkabout focuses on finding a cure for paralysis and donating wheelchairs to people in need, restoring to them their freedom and independence.
I would be more than happy to speak to anyone about my experiences and share my story. I would also love to meet with anyone who is interested in potentially leaving the City and working in charity as The Walkabout Foundation is now recruiting and looking for interns.
This may be a way for someone who is contemplating making the career change to get a taste of what it's like to work in charity.
I am the Co-Founder and Executive Director of http://www.walkaboutfoundation.org/" rel="nofollow">The Walkabout Foundation.
Before starting The Walkabout Foundation, I worked for Goldman Sachs in the City. I joined the analyst program in July 2007 in London, which provided me with the building blocks of financial analysis, investment management, and the workings of global markets. At Goldman Sachs, I was able to witness first hand the effective team structures that make up the driving force behind such a powerful and efficient organization.
A year after working for Goldman in the City, my boss asked me if I wanted to move with him to Dubai. I dove straight into the challenge and moved to Dubai with the firm.
After seeing the financial markets collapse and the global economy deteriorate sharply at the end of 2008, I was forced to take stock of my situation and ask probing questions. What tangible challenge did I ultimately want to tackle? What did I really want to achieve with my life?
I took a leap of faith and decided to leave Goldman Sachs to take on a challenge I had been eyeing for over a decade. I left the comfort and security of my job in finance to pursue a passion and start http://www.walkaboutfoundation.org/" rel="nofollow">The Walkabout Foundation.
I had been thinking of doing something with my brother, and for my brother and the millions of individuals out there who, like him, are paralyzed and unable to walk. My brother Luis had a car accident in 1994, but I was very young at the time and did not know exactly how to manifest that desire and how to translate it into something tangible and concrete like a charity.
When I took the leap of faith and decided to leave Goldman Sachs amidst the whole financial crisis, despite the fact that everyone told me I was crazy for leaving my secure and high-paying job, that's when I realized, "wow, I am finally pursuing a passion and I am finally going to do something I have wanted to do for many, many years."
After months of dealing with bureaucrats, lawyers and accountants, The Walkabout Foundation was officially formed. And just when I started to relax, thinking that the most daunting task was over, I realized that I had a launch benefit to organize.
On paper, that should have been the fun and easy part, but something just did not feel right. I felt there was an inherent contradiction in spending large sums of money in order to raise money. Furthermore, would my guests remember what the foundation was all about just a few days after the event? I needed something more meaningful and more relevant to the essence and mission of The Walkabout Foundation.
After a few days of fruitless brainstorming, while sitting in my living room, my eye fell upon a book in my library – http://www.amazon.com/PAULO-COELHO-CAMINO-SANTIAGO-COMPOSTELA/dp/B004H6UROM" rel="nofollow">El Camino a Santiagoby by Paulo Coelho. I picked it up and started flipping through the pages. Within minutes, I realized right then and there that this was the perfect way to start the foundation. It was going to be a walk, to launch The Walkabout Foundation, and it was going to take me from France to Spain, symbolic of the foundation’s goal of bridging the gap across borders and making this a global fight; a universal call to action.
The walk was going to require a heavy dose of courage and determination, which is what I admire in the way my brother faces life each and every day. Everything fitted together. I set myself in motion to make this happen.
Together, my brother and I traversed the entire country of Spain, walking over 870 kilometers, without a single day’s rest. On August 31st, we reached the city of Santiago de Compostela and Luis became the first man in history to cross Spain with just the strength of his two arms. We were able to raise a significant amount of money for every kilometer we walked and cycled respectively.
Furthermore, I enrolled in Oxford University's MBA program in order to help me take The Walkabout Foundation to the next level. I came across http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/Pages/default.aspx" rel="nofollow">Said Business School at the University of Oxford, and I knew its focus on Social Entrepreneurship was the perfect fit to teach me about running a non-profit organization.
The best thing has undoubtedly been following my passion and waking up each and every morning to do something that I love to do. Additionally, the best thing is changing peoples' lives and making a difference in someone's life.
A wheelchair sounds so simple and so utilitarian, but it is actually a form of mobility and therefore freedom and independence. To be able to give someone a wheelchair, who otherwise cannot afford one or is unable to procure one, is to give someone back his/her own basic human rights.
The worst things, or more negative things I should say, would be the fact that no one is holding my hand and telling me what I need to do or how to do something. Instead, I have to learn as I go, and I teach myself how to do things as they arise.
Furthermore, unlike my life at Goldman Sachs where I was constantly surrounded by a very dynamic team, I now work mostly on my own, with the help of my family and a few interns, but mostly by myself. That's definitely a challenge.
The best advice I've ever been given is to follow your dreams because success will come if you do something you love and are passionate about. There is nothing worse than being stuck in a routine that you don't enjoy and cannot get out of. I truly believe that if you love what you do and you have a burning desire to make it work, it will work and you will succeed.
The other best piece of advice I was given was to understand the value and importance of networking. You never know how someone you meet may help you or guide you in some way or another at some point in your life. Don't ever pass up an opportunity to speak to someone or meet with someone, because those relationships can prove so fruitful and invaluable in life.
What I'd wish I'd known before I made the leap and what I constantly remind myself of, is that this a marathon and not a sprint. The race is long, but in the end, it's only with yourself. So not everything needs to get done and sorted on Day One; things will evolve and one needs to be patient - patient while never losing the fire in your belly.
There are several books that have helped me: