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Report on my last six months

Posted By 11th Department     August 28, 2016    
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Dear Friends

It has been several months since my last communication to you and I apologize for this.

Let me bring you current to what I’ve been up to these past six months. Not many of you knew that I have been living in Moldova (my second adopted country) for the last three years. (I’ve been going there for about 12 years.) I went in December 2011 for a short stay to get away and to rethink my role in the art world, but while there my partner and I came up with a new technology idea, which has since taken me on a different path. I have put away my art brushes and canvases (for the time being) to focus on this exciting and refreshing new venture. Developing the idea kept us very busy. The 11thdepartment.com was revived during my stay in Moldova as a result of this project, which is a professional platform with a focus on the events industry. To validate the idea, we launched MMCSEvents.com and that process continues to this day as we fine-tune our implementation.

Since launching the 11thdepartment.com, I’ve come in contact with some impressive individuals (Haitians and non-Haitians) who inspire me to work harder for Haiti. However, the road ahead as many of you know too well is not always easy and rather full with obstacles—government changes, instability, the market, and others. Needless to say we have to keep trucking, because you either quit or charge forward. I chose the latter. To be fair, my commitment and conviction have been tested many times, but I have found courage and strength from the 11thdepartment.com community and the people of Haiti who truly need our help. Because if it’s not us in the Diaspora, who else will they turn to? If we turn our backs each time the going gets tough, then what? Sometimes, what it takes is a change in strategy, which is what I did three years ago—to move away from the art world (for a while) and to thrust myself into technology. With respect to my Haiti interests, I also am moving away from the usual way of doing business since that has not proven successful. (Want to hear more? Plan to attend the kick-off event of GEW Haiti.) I also made a change to make the 11thdepartment.com a subsidiary of The Diaspora Group, LLC, now registered in the State of New Jersey (formerly registered in Maryland). 

Every now and then, I have to take a step back to re-examine my strategy and to re-evaluate my goals. As a result of past experiences and a few failed attempts at various undertakings, I have come to realize a few things. I suppose you can say that I’ve become a bit wiser. At 52 (I know what you're thinking, and I thank you), I no longer have the luxury of time. I have been on this Haiti journey for what seems an eternity now, and the landscape has not changed much. My focus, therefore, has pivoted to developing technology and online resources that will help us (the Diaspora, Haitians, and Friends of Haiti) to achieve greater results with lesser efforts and resources. You’ll read in this newsletter about some of the projects that I’m putting forth for this purpose.

I have also decided to support some select nonprofit organizations in Haiti (the ones with no foreign affiliates) by providing them with free consultation and technology so they may have an online presence, which will provide them the means to conduct their outreach, facility to fundraise and to manage their operations, personnel, supporters, and membership. The first organization is AJPA and I will share more about them next week. For organizations with foreign counterparts, or US-based organizations, I’ll be offering an integrated platform (SaaS) that will help them save time, money, and achieve more with connectivity, productivity, marketing, and sales tools.

Earlier in the year, I became the official Haiti Delegate for the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) held each year in November. As a Lead Delegate, I was invited in March to participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) held in Medellin, Colombia. GEN covered all the expenses for nearly 160 country lead delegates that attended. (If you have not visited Medellin, I highly recommend it. The country has undergone an amazing transformation and Haiti can do the same with good governance, but more importantly with vision and the will of the people. That’s what it took for them.) The GEC was an incredible experience and to my regret I was the only Haitian present at this event. Next year in March, the GEC will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The South African delegation presented a challenge to all lead delegates to bring a minimum of 40 participants from each country. Therefore, I am extending an invitation to all who is interested in entrepreneurship (business and nonprofit leaders, government officials, investors, educational professionals and others) to join me so we can have a large delegation from Haiti. You will have an opportunity to learn from investors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs from more than 160 countries, in addition to local entrepreneurs from South Africa. You will not regret your decision to go. The GEC is free to attend, however, one lucky 11thdepartment.com member (Advocate, Ambassador, Nonprofit, or Business) will have the chance to win a free round-trip ticket to the event. More details to follow so make sure you have an active account on the 11thdepartment.com, as this opportunity will only be promoted to registered paid-level members.

I am back in the US for now (in New Jersey), but I long to return to Moldova. I will be busy preparing for the November events and look forward to partnering with organizations and businesses interested in being part of GEW Haiti. If you are, you can contact me here. I will be scheduling a webinar to present more information soon.

I look forward to meeting the 11thdepartment.com community members at one or more of the upcoming GEW Haiti events in the US and in Haiti.

I wish you all well and thank you for being a part of this vibrant community.

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