Sacrifice Today

Hello All! Welcome to the last newsletter of January! Can’t believe the month is over? Too bad. Here’s hoping you made the most of it!

Our first event of the year was on Monday night and it was spectacular! Rebecca Thorman and Christian Benjamin were amazing speakers. Of course, the real kudos go to the great crowd of DCYErs, who stuck it out despite technical difficulties and asked some great questions and shared their inspiring stories. I love this new Fireside Chat format and I hope you do too.

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Don’t Miss DCYE & Drinks on May 21! Get the Lowdown on Financing Your Business

Questions about financing your business? Chasing your entrepreneurial dream?

Our three great speakers will help you get the cash to get you there! Come out and learn all about venture capital, crowdfunding, and good old-fashioned bootstrapping, Monday, May 21, at the fabulous Local 16.

Plus there’ll be giveaways, news from DCYE, drink specials, networking by TappedIn (to hook you up with potential clients, vendors, and partners!), AND you’ll get to see the unveiling of our top-secret, brand-new logo. Don’t miss it!

More details here:
And register for your free event ticket here:

Event speakers:
Jonathon Perrelli of
Alex Budak of StartSomeGood
Darius Graham of DC Social Innovation Project


Tell Your Story

Hello, all!

This has been an awesome week for #treplife, and it’s only Wednesday morning! On Monday I had the privilege of lunching with a few of the most amazing female entrepreneurs in DC. From the founders of tech startups to the leaders of nonprofits and even a few magazine publishers, these women are proving every day why it’s amazing to be a DC trep. And why everything is better when you’re a girl.

Of all of the amazing takeaways from the lunch, one of the things that really stuck with me was a comment about telling your business story. The comment was in reference to finding topics when asked to speak. Speaking engagements can be terrifying to everyone, including young entrepreneurs, and this woman of wisdom told us that if you think about your business (and life experiences) and think about what’s teachable, you’ll easily come up with plenty of topics.

However, as my day went on, I realized that there were far more implications to this whole idea of telling the story of your business. Take pitching your biz to a prospective investor (for instance, at Distilled Intelligence. See below). Having a story that connects with your listener will make a huge difference in whether they care enough about you and your venture to join your team, or if the flow charts and code talk just puts them to sleep.

And what about social media and marketing? Think about your favorite ad campaign. Or your favorite tweeter. You probably feel like you know a little more about the person, product, or company than just what they’re selling, right? Right. So whether you’re a small business, a solopreneur, or living out of your car trying to start the next Apple, tell your story, and you’re bound to win.

SocEnt Happy Hour
Are you a social entrepreneur? Do you want to be a social entrepreneur? Do you like social entrepreneurs? If you answered yes to any of these questions, check out the DC Net Impact happy hour tonight at The Brixton on U. More details HERE!

Product Happiness
Need a better way to sell your products? How about on the Zuckerberg machine? Check out for an amazing way to use the power of Facebook to bring a little more cash your way.

On Monday I met the fabulous and effervescent founder of Umbabox, Lauren Thorpe. She’s brilliant and will probably be a DotW soon, but I just couldn’t wait to tell you about her business. You know how you can spend hours and hours on Etsy, and never find anything good? Well Umbabox solves that by sending you a box every month with only the very best stuff on Etsy. It’s easy and fabulous, and if you like pretty things or know someone who does, sign up now!

Distilled Intelligence
You’ve heard us talk about DI a lot and if you were at our finance D&D, you heard Jonathon Perrelli talk about pitching to VCs and angel investors. Well, here’s your chance to give it a try. This October, (if you’re not following JP and the amazing Carla Valdes on the tweeter then you’re missing out) is hosting Distilled Intelligence 2.0 and they’ve seriously upped their game from last year’s DI. At 1.0 they gave away $25,000 but for their second go they’re upping the ante and awarding $100,000 to the startups with the mostest. So, apply now and then save the date for August 29th. DCYE is a proud sponsor of DI and we’ll be hosting an event for you to learn how to pitch from the folks who know—last year’s participants and a few of this year’s sponsors. Distilled Intelligence is further proof that treppy awesomeness is coming to DC. Apply now, and come hang out in October!

DCYEr of the Week!
We have a new feature! Video DotWs! As much as we love written interviews, we wanted to get the scoop from the DotWs in person. Plus we’re lucky enough to be friends with the amazing Erin Williams. Who is Erin Williams, you ask? Well, imagine that Rachel Maddow and Barbara Walters had a love child who was adopted by Brian Williams. That’s right. Smart, intuitive and totally adorable. Erin is a journalist for the Washington Post and The Root DC. She’s also a producer at WPFW, who were kind enough to let us use their studios for some of our interviews. When she’s not busy having three jobs, she writes an awesome blog interviewing quarter-lifers. And now, she interviews our DotWs.

So who’s the first vDotW (I love acronyms)? We thought it would be appropriate to start with the guy who made our very first DCYE video, Justin Gutwein of Shine on Storytelling. *disclaimer: This video was taped and edited by me and Steve Jobs. It is by no means a reflection of the awesomeness of Justin’s work.* Watch the vid, hire Justin for your next short film or reality series and send feedback on the new vDotWs, and any recommendations for future features, to

That’s all for now, folks. Enjoy our video and we’ll see you next week!
dreamer of dreams
teller of stories
eater of much chocolate

Sara Green Empact100 8.7.12

DCYEr of the Week: Sarah Green of Empact100

Hi, Sarah! Thanks so much for joining us today! I am so excited that you’re our DotW because your business is so up DCYE’s alley! Tell us about yourself!

Super excited to be here! I’m fairly new to DC and have been looking for a community of awesome young entrepreneurs.  I knew it existed and am thrilled I finally found it!  I’m incredibly impressed with the entrepreneurial community that is starting to skyrocket here in the District.
Up until I was 19 years, 24 days and 58 minutes old, I thought being an entrepreneur meant that I had to have a crazy high-tech idea that would become the next Facebook, Microsoft, or Google.  It was overwhelming, and I immediately wrote off entrepreneurship as a career option.
I didn’t realize that being an entrepreneur actually meant creating a job for myself that allowed me to take charge of my future and unleash my passions and skills in a way that would fulfill my potential in life and make a lasting, positive impact in the world.
Then I read a book about how entrepreneurs were changing the world through something I had never heard of, social entrepreneurship. After that, I booked a one-way ticket to Uganda to start a project that taught the basics of entrepreneurship to young people and how they could use those principles to achieve anything they wanted in life. One year later, the Sarah Green Scholarship for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship was created as a result of my entrepreneurial endeavors.
I’m scared to think what would have happened if I hadn’t read that book or tested out entrepreneurship for myself in East Africa. No one else in my life—parents, teachers, friends, etc.—was an entrepreneur or even talked about it in a realistic way.
That’s our mission with my company, Empact (—to be that same spark for a whole new generation of young people.

I am so excited about Empact. Everything you do from the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour to the Empact Summit is amazing. Can you tell us about Empact and how DCYErs can get involved?
Sometimes Empact can get confusing because we do so much within the entrepreneurship education realm.  So, let me try and boil it down for you and give you links to our different programs if any of them catch anyone’s interest.
At Empact, we’re trying to create a culture of entrepreneurship in communities around the world.  That means that we’re trying to shift people’s attitude towards what entrepreneurship is and the power that thinking entrepreneurially can have on someone’s life.
We aim to do this by exposing young people to entrepreneurship, celebrating top young entrepreneurs, and bringing in the most influential leaders from the world who are also working to make entrepreneurship a viable career option for young people.
Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour (
We’ve brought the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour to over 500 locations all over the United States. We just had our first international event in Lima, Peru. The Tour is a high-energy event that seeks to expose young people to entrepreneurship. We bring some of the country’s top young entrepreneurs on Tour with us who are under the age of 30 and have either made or sold their business for over $1M in revenue.  Our mission with the Tour is to bring in young entrepreneurs as speakers so that they can connect with young people who may have never considered entrepreneurship as a career path and inspires them to take action on their entrepreneurial goals while learning how to believe in themselves at a deeper level.
Empact100 (
The Empact Showcase is a compilation of the top entrepreneurs in the US age 30 and under with revenues under $100,000. It’s a testament to the impact entrepreneurs make on our economy and an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs. The Empact100 List recognizes the top 100 of the companies in the Empact Showcase. In 2011, the inaugural list of companies was recognized in a ceremony at the White House for their achievements. Combined, the 2011 Empact100 List of companies contributed over 2,700 jobs to the economy and controlled $374 million in revenue.

Applications for the 2012 Empact Showcase close on August 7 (kat’s note: that’s today!!!).  To apply, go to

Empact Summit on the Future of Entrepreneurship Education  (
The Empact Summit is a prestigious, invite-only collaborative gathering featuring the most influential leaders in the youth entrepreneurship ecosystem (from government, foundations, education, corporations, media, entrepreneur support organizations and entrepreneurs). The vision of the Summit is to help make entrepreneurship a viable career pathway, and in doing so, help solve the jobs crisis. The Summit is a collaborative, action-oriented experience where each delegate (not just the speakers) is an invite-only influential leader from the entrepreneurship ecosystem chosen for his or her proven impact and innovativeness. The 2012 event will be September 26-27 and hosted at the US Chamber of Commerce.


We just read The E-Myth as our book club book, and I know that Michael Gerber was a speaker at your last summit. Who is one of the best entrepreneurial speakers that you’ve ever heard and why?

Wow, that’s a tough one! I’ve heard so many entrepreneurs speak and to me, the “best” means that they resonated the most with what I’m passionate about. In that case, it was Jaqueline Novogratz, the Founder of Acumen Fund and author of The Blue Sweater. Jacqueline is my #1 source of inspiration – she completely disrupted the approach to enterprise-based solutions to poverty. The Acumen Fund has now invested more than $75 million in 70 companies in South Asia and Africa, all focused on delivering affordable healthcare, water, housing and energy to the poor. These companies have created and supported more than 57,000 jobs, leveraged an additional $360 million, and brought basic services to tens of millions of people. Her work is one of the best examples I’ve found of thinking differently through entrepreneurship and literally changing the world for thousands of people working their way out of poverty.

Everyone at Empact is a super-trep and has won countless awards and accolades for their work both with and outside of Empact. I know how discouraging it can be for young entrepreneurs when they feel like they are working incredibly hard and no one ever notices. What advice do you have for young treps looking for more exposure for their work?
This is honestly one of the best questions I’ve ever gotten and it’s so true—there are so many highs and lows as an entrepreneur. These can’t be avoided and in the end, it’s all worth it (or at least so far)!
As entrepreneurs, we work literally 24/7 and as much as we believe in our mission and work tirelessly to pursue our passions, it’s incredibly important to get the reinforcement that you’re doing a good job and that your work is making a difference in someone’s life. I get those moments a lot when I freak out and say, “What am I doing with my life?!”  And then I get an email or phone call from someone who’s been a part of one of our programs testifying how much it’s made a difference in their life.
Each and every entrepreneur has gone out on a limb and taken a huge leap. This cannot be taken lightly and needs to be celebrated and acknowledged on a daily basis. DCYE is a great example of a way for young entrepreneurs to get the spotlight and recognition they deserve.
I hope that by allowing opportunities through the Empact100 and the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour, we at Empact can make more opportunities like this available for those who are chasing their dreams, putting everything on the line, and making a huge impact in the world by being entrepreneurs.

Sarah, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us! And everyone, don’t forget to check out the Empact100 app and either apply or send it to someone who should! And if you don’t qualify this year, write Empact100 on your goal board, and you’ll get to the White House in 2013!


Connect the Dots

Hello, all!

Sorry for missing last week. The new website had technical issues the day of the launch so I spent all day pretending I know something about coding. #treplife However, today is a very special Tuesday edition of the DCYE Weekly because of something a lot of you are definitely going to want to apply for! See the DotW below for deets!

Today’s newsletter is called “Connect the Dots” because this week I read Steve Jobs’ famous 2005 Stanford commencement speech and I really connected with some of what he said. Jobs spoke about how everything we do, whether at the time it seems random or accidental or tragic, is valuable and can connect in unexpected ways to something we do years or even decades later. As one of those people who has a liberal arts degree that’s really only good for going to grad school, I am a firm believer that getting a well-rounded, eclectic education is valuable no matter what field you’re in. And as entrepreneurs, global knowledge is vital to our creativity, innovation, and the inspiration that guides us on a daily basis. It’s easy to get bogged down in work, spend 24 hours on a couch coding or editing or designing and ignoring anything that doesn’t have to do with your business. But not only will that turn you into an anti-social manic depressive, it’s also not good for business. Remembering to read, explore, watch TV, and yes, even sleep occasionally will keep you motivated and keyed in to all that life has to offer, and all that your business can be.

Weekly Reading
Just because you’ve taken my above advice and decided to add 2 to 3 hours of sleep to your daily routine doesn’t mean you can’t make money while you do it. Read this Inc article about scaling your biz so when you snooze, you win.

How to be graceful under pressure. Is your name Obama? No? Then obviously, you need to read this.

I’m all about the web right now and spend most of my time where I am at this very moment: on my couch, in my pjs, computer in my lap. So when I found Women 2.0’s 10 Essential Books for Women Building Web Businesses I was thrilled to get some advice from the experts on how to build my business and become a better entrepreneur in general. I’m listing the books here a) because they’re just that good and 2) so you don’t have to actually read the article. And yes, guys, you can read these too:

  1. Secrets of Six Figure Women
  2. The Energy of Money
  3. The New How
  4. Business Model Generation
  5. Why She Buys
  6. Slide:ology
  7. Designing for Growth
  8. Content Strategy for the Web
  9. Don’t Make Me Think
  10. Ten Faces of Innovation


Money Trouble
Hate finance? Bad with numbers? Cry every time the calculator app on your iPhone accidentally pops up? This week I discovered Bode Tree. Check it out. It may just be the answer to your I’m-running-a-business-but-can’t-add-double-digits woes.

Coming up!
Book Club: You still have time to read The Lean Startup! Book club meets at the Teaism Penn Quarter on August 19th at 5pm. RSVP HERE and meet up for book chat, biz chat, and general chat chat. And it’s okay if you haven’t read the book. We won’t shame you. Too much.

DCYE & Drinks: Mark your calendars. Our next D&D is on September 17th at Local 16 at 5:30pm. More deets later but trust us, this is not one you’re going to want to miss.

And last but not least, our amazing DCYEr of the Week: Sarah Green of Empact 100!

That’s all, folks. As always, send an email to if you have an event coming up, if you know a great candidate to be DCYEr of the Week (or if you are one), and for any fabulous suggestions or ideas!

Until next week,
Flying Squirrel Fanatic
Phenomenal Phelps Phan
Lifetime Olympic Hopeful


DCYE & Awesome

Hello, all!

Happy Wednesday! There’s so much to talk about that there will be very little life-changing exposition from me this week! Mostly I want to talk about the awesomeness that was DCYE & Drinks on Monday! We laughed, we cried, we had DCYE-themed cocktails. Mostly we met awesome new people, saw old friends, and had some one-on-one time with experts in some of the things we need to take care of ourselves and our businesses.

Special shout-outs go to

  • Ehab Selim, Ashley Matthews, and Karen Buckley-Camp of Cornerstone Financial Partners who gave us some great advice on wealth management, financial planning, and insurance. If you’re looking for someone to help you with any of the above, I highly recommend these three! Email, and we’ll hook you up with an intro!
  • Tom Goldstein of Paxton Law who gave a lot of people some on-the-spot legal advice and is excited to help more DCYErs with any of your small business needs.

DCYE & Deals
DCYE is always trying to think of the best ways to help you out, and with the help of some of our new partners, today we’re offering a couple of deals that are legen . . . wait for it . . .

We’ve put together two awesome packages for you to get some of the basic services everyone needs—legal and accounting—with people we trust at an affordable price. How do you get these awesome services you ask? Just like us on Facebook and then email and we’ll hook you up! And if you’ve already liked us on the FB then, hey, you’re one step closer to deal time awesomeness!

Accounting 4 DC: Looking for accounting services? It is only with a slight feeling of pain and regret that I share my very own accountant with you. Why these feelings you ask? Because Stephanie is so good, I’m afraid I’ll never get in to see her again! But, I love my DCYErs, so I feel the need to share. If you’re looking for an accountant, Stephanie is offering a 30-minute free consultation and 50% off initial services for all DCYErs! So what are you waiting for? Like us on the Zuckerberg machine and then email for an intro!

Paxton Law: A good lawyer is hard to find, and there’s no OK Cupid for the law. If you’re looking for anything from help writing an employment contract to 501(c)(3) filing assistance, Paxton is the place to go. Why? Well not only are they great lawyers who are also ‘treps themselves, but right now they’re offering a free one-hour consultation and 30% off all basic startup services, so really, how can you lose? Just Like us on Facebook and then email and watch all of your legal worries just flutter away.

…dary. Legendary. Don’t you agree?

Things to do & see are below. Thanks everyone for coming out to D&D, we hope to see you next time!
puller of all-nighters
haver of meetings
she who needs a cocktail

Articles to read. Events to attend. Stuff you should know.

Knackmaster’s Masterpiece: Know kids? Like kids? Met a kid once? Well, Team Knackmaster has just released the most adorablest little game ever, Enzo and Friends, for the little ones! Apparently it’s educational too, but mostly I just like the pictures. I’ll be sending this to my perfect niece, Bella. You should share it with your under-21 too!

Rails Girls Are Coming to Town!: This is more exciting than Santa Claus, unless Santa Claus brings you something that teaches you how to code. Rails Girls is coming to DC on September 14th & 15th to hold a special Ruby programming workshop! Interested? Apply here, and may the code be with you!

Books for Web Chicks: If you, like me, are spending most of your waking hours working on a new web startup, this list of 10 Essential Books for Women Building Web Businesses is for you! Buy, read, love, and if you want to discuss, hit me up!

Guys Can Read This One Too: A quick plug for The Founder’s Dilemma. This book was recommended to me at D&D, and I’ll be reading it ASAP. If you’re looking for a good read, look no further.

Upcoming DCYE Events

What’s next for DCYE? Mostly, awesomeness, followed by things that are the pants.

Book Club! If you’re not one of the two lucky DCYErs who won a copy of The Lean Startup at D&D this week, have no fear. We’ll still let you in! We’re meeting on Sunday, August 20th to chat about this amazeballs book and learn a little more about how we can make our startups leaner, meaner, and hopefully, bringing in the green.

DCYE & Drinks! Save the date for our next D&D on September 17th. We’ve got an awesome theme planned with some fabu speakers and you won’t want to miss it!

Keep an eye out on our Meetup for more events, including co-working sessions! And if you haven’t followed us on the Tweeter yet, you’re missing some DC ‘treppy fabulousness that will brighten your day, and your timeline. See you soon!

Philecia Harris Coffy Cafe

DCYEr of the Week: Philecia Harris of Coffy Cafe

Hi, Philecia! Tell us about yourself and how you got started with Coffy Cafe.
Coffy Cafe is a mod ’60s/’70s themed cafe that serves a variety of crepes and specialty coffees and espresso drinks with light baked goods. The space is decorated with mod furniture and period action heroes like Coffy and the Mod Squad. I’ve always kept a ‘50s/ ‘60s-themed kitchen, and since I planned to use family recipes, the period fit for me. My work experience started in cafes and bakeries, but I’ve also managed neighborhood libraries, and worked in public and school libraries, and the DC public school system.

My concept for Coffy is based on neighborhood libraries. The cafe hosts literary events and community activities, while crepes, coffee, and baked goods pay the bills.

(Keep up with what’s going on at Coffy Cafe through Facebook and Twitter!)

DC seems like an ideal place for a concept like yours. What are your favorite things about doing business here?
DC is a great city, dynamic, with so many different kinds of happenings and people. I love being a part of it!

So do we! What do you think has been the key to your success with Coffy Cafe so far?
We strive to offer high-quality products at reasonable prices. People really love the whole foods, fresh fruits, and vegetables that we use in our crepes and even the direct trade coffee. For example, we are one of the few places that uses fresh fruit instead of mixes in our smoothies and shakes, and people who come to us really appreciate that.

What skills do you think up-and-coming young entrepreneurs should develop? 
Always keep up with your math skills—and yes, most especially, algebra. I seem to use math with just about everything I do, and every now and then algebra will save me hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Whether it’s checking the math of my mortgage company, calculating areas for supplies at home depot, or figuring finances, math is an incredibly useful tool.

Okay, so our math teachers were right. We would have to know all that math later! Who knew?
Can you identify some local resources that young entrepreneurs should take advantage of (besides community college math classes)?

SCORE is a great organization that has sessions on how to run businesses, including topics such as how to start a business, business accounting, business technology, and more. They have a number of retired businesspeople to mentor you and provide a number of different counseling services.

Who is your entrepreneurial role model? Why? 
My role model in general is Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund. Her commitment to others and her worldview have always inspired me. In her words, “service is the rent we pay for living.” The motivation behind any business should be more than just money.

That perspective seems like it fits perfectly with your vision of Coffy Cafe as more than just a place to get a bite to eat!
What is most exciting to you about running Coffy Cafe? What has been most surprising?

I love meeting people in the neighborhood, and I’ve come to realize that my passion is not necessarily coffee or cooking—it’s people! One of my favorite jobs was running a neighborhood library. Having the ability to present local writers, artists, and performers; working with youth and community groups; and supporting people who are motivated to learn or create new things is exciting. I would like to bring that dynamic to the cafe.

Are there any upcoming events or happenings at Coffy Café that the DCYE community should be aware of?
Yes, Right now we have a Wednesday night game night, and on Saturday, June 21, from 5 to 7 p.m., we have Charles Reese presenting a literary performance and book signing for the play “Richard Wright: Soul on Fire.” And we will soon be hosting a weekly spoken word event, as well as Gospel Sundays.

Wow, thanks, Philecia! It sounds like there is a lot of incredible stuff in the hopper for Coffy Cafe (including the DCYE co-working session this Friday!). We look forward to being a part of the fun!


Viva Las Trepiness

Hello, all!

Greetings from my favorite city in the world, beautiful Las Vegas!

Nothing makes me as happy as when I’m in America’s Playground and even though it is currently overrun by the under-21, still-in-strollers set, Vegas still completely rocks. People think I’m weird for loving the LV as much as I do. After all, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many of the world’s capitals in my lifetime, surely Paris, Rome or Cape Town are better than the home of the Rat Pack? Nope. In fact, my other three favorite cities (next to DC and New York of course, which know no equals), are London, Durban and Milan, and I would take Vegas over any of them, any day. Why? It’s hard to say. I love everything Anthony Bourdain hates about Vegas. The overwhelming lights, the too-numerous shows, the fact that Cirque du Soleil runs this town like the mob used to, the ever-changing architecture and incredible new hotels and casinos popping up (The Cosmopolitan and Aria are out of this world amazing). I love that there’s nothing to do in Vegas but have a good time. There’s no chance you’ll end up in a library. It’s very unlikely you’ll have to pick up milk at the grocery store. And you will never, ever end up sitting on a boring old beach doing nothing but staring at the water for hours. Vegas is the perfect city for an energetic, more than slightly Type-A, work hard and play harder kind of girl like me. DCYE field trip anyone?

DCYE & Drinks!
First things first. If you haven’t signed up for DCYE & Drinks on Monday yet then you are missing out! We spend a lot of time at DCYE headquarters trying to think of the best ways to support the amazing young ‘treps of Washington, DC and this time we hit on a doozie. We know from experience how hard it can be to find an accountant, a lawyer, trustworthy financial advice and, Obamacare or no Obamacare, health insurance. Heck, I’m a lawyer and I still have a hard time finding legal counsel when I need it. We wanted to find people who could give honest advice and valuable services to the DCYE community, but we also needed to be sure they were people who we could trust and who we know do awesome work. So what else could we do but go with our own peeps? On Monday, you’ll get to meet:

  • Stephanie Gibney, accountant to the stars (if, by stars you mean me, LadiesDC and more than a few of the awesome entrepreneurs around town),
  • Paxton Law Group, who you should all know and love by now since they’ve been around since our very first DCYE & Drinks and have been amazing supporters of DCYE, and
  • Karen Buckley-Camp and her amazing crew of financial planners and insurance representatives. Karen is the reason that I have health insurance, that I believe in disability insurance and why I decided that even if I am going to be richer than Zuckerberg someday, what the heck, maybe I should have a retirement account just in case? She also went to Mount Holyoke so come on, what other recommendation do you need? #alumnilove

These three amazing service providers will be speaking to the group and offering advice and counsel in private sessions throughout the night. Not only that, but we’ll be offering special DCYE-only packages to help you get started without breaking the bank. See? Who ever said that DCYE never did anything nice for you? So RSVP now and we’ll see you at Tabaq on U at 6pm on July 23rd!

Continuing Education
By now you probably know about General Assembly, the international tech, business and design education phenom that is changing the way we think of education. If you’re lucky enough to be in one of the many GA cities (they’re coming to DC soon!), you may have already taken a course on the Basics of SEO, Intro to Startup Law or even Intensive Public Speaking at one of their amazing classes. However, for those of us who can’t jet off to London, Syndey or New York for a day’s class on the Online Advertising Ecosystem, GA has finally taken pity on us and is providing an amazing selection of online classes. Being in the ‘trep world, there’s always more to learn and lucky for us, we live in the age of Steve Jobs and General Assembly, so continuing ed is never too hard to find.

Right now Shopify is offering an amazing contest that you may just want to get your hands on. If you sign up, come up with a product to sell and open an online business, you can pick one of four amazing mentors (Tim Ferriss anyone?) and compete for a chance to win a $50,000 investment from your mentor. And because DCYE loves you so much, if you enter the contest, send me an email at and I’ll give you a shout out in our newsletter! Good luck!

Speaking of New Businesses and Newsletter Shoutouts…
A moment of the #shamelessselfpromotion that I’m so very good at. My co-founder and I are working on a new startup, Character’s Closet. If you like TV, clothes, and not having to do insane amounts of research to figure out where Kerri Washington got that dress she wore in Scandal last night, sign up on our launch page for a beta invite to CC!

Tired of coding all alone in your room? Editing your novel by the light of lamp getting you down? Don’t work alone, co-work! Join us at Coffy Cafe on Friday the 20th at 12.30pm for a little bit of company as you while away the hours working on your masterpiece. Space is limited so RSVP here!

And read up on the brains behind Coffy Cafe, Philecia Harris, our DCYEr of the Week!

Well that’s all for now. A giant, calorie-filled buffet is calling my name and I never say no to a waffle that knows me personally. Have a great week!

kat calvin
Lover of Bright Lights
Sucker for Pirate Shows
Certifiably mad for Cirque

Allison Sosna Chef-preneur 7.11.12

DCYEr of the Week: Allison Sosna, Chefpreneur


Hi, Allison! Tell us about yourself!
Born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised in the farmlands of New Jersey, I made my way to DC for college at American University. It was in college during my rowing years that I realized how important food was to the body and how it impacted how you felt and performed. It led me to want to learn more and I spent some time in Italy, and eventually went to culinary school. I love traveling, food, people, and music, anything that brings people together.

Years later after cooking in restaurants and fine dining, I became part of the culinary team at DC Central Kitchen as an executive chef helping to oversee school food and catering services. My time there opened me up to my goals as a chef and as a businessperson built on community. I sent out to create a social enterprise that would deliver great food products and yet give back to the community in many ways. That’s when I created Pine, Benefit Corporation. The mission of Pine (Sosna translates to Pine from Polish to English) is to do something different, feed people differently and create a positive change in the community through various food service related ventures.  Pine is currently the parent company of my Cooking with Alli radio show debuting August 5, 2012, the consulting arm for Fitbound Cooking School and camps, and the future fast casual restaurant concept. Whenever you purchase a service from any of these ventures you are donating to Micro Greens, a program that teaches kids to cook on a food stamp/ SNAP budget.

That’s incredible and sounds like a lot of benefit will be going to the community. Speaking of benefit, what’s a benefit corporation?
A benefit corporation means that we are legally responsible and accountable to provide a service to the community in which we operate. For example, when you hire me to make you dinner or teach you cooking lessons, or sponsor my radio show, or sign up for a Fitbound cooking camp, a percentage of your bill goes to my program called MicroGreens that teaches kids to cook healthy on a food stamp/ SNAP program budget. By buying something you want you are also providing a good to the community. That is the benefit of my corporation. You can find out more here:

It sounds like you probably eat ridiculously well. For those of us who life off of what I like to call the three C’s: Chipotle, Chopt and Cocktails, what do you have in your fridge?
Being healthy and eating right are the cornerstones of living a healthy, happy life. I make my fiancée lunches and breakfast for the week while she’s on the Obama campaign, and it’s important that I buy healthy foods to keep us going. Bulk items are key. Buying onions and sweet potatoes by the pack, greens, lots of canned beans, kidney beans, black beans, polenta, barley, brown rice, and a few cheeses, and of course tons of seasonal fruit. Between fruit, grains, and veggies, you’ll have a ton of energy and feel good. I can’t go more than a day without veggies without my body feeling withdrawal. But I use half and half for my coffee, always have good beer, and definitely some Nutella nearby because everything is good in moderation.

Speaking of making your own schedule how was the transition from working in an office to working on your own?
This is a great question. I am a very industrious, disciplined person, and I knew that I would probably end up being lonely (even though I have two corgis) but would do my work. That was actually harder than I thought. You tend to get caught up in household stuff, doing laundry, painting, fixing things. I have a few businesses that I am helping to run and consult on and with planning a wedding and remodeling a house, the first month of not working went rather quickly. I found that I needed to gym in the morning and keep a schedule and make meetings happen in the afternoon when I would get working-block sitting at home. I had to have that outside source of energy in the afternoon or else I would not want to work. Having two corgis also helps to make you go outside and walk more too, which has been great.

What advice do you give to others wanting to take the jump?
If you believe in it, life will work itself out. The best part of taking the jump was not thinking it would all come together but whatever happened along the way would be genuine because my heart was in it. It was never scary leaving; it’s all about viewing it as the next opportunity.

What’s your biggest goal for your career? Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?
My goal is to help get the obesity rate in America down by working with the thousands of people and organizations dedicated to educating people on food and how to live a healthier life. I see myself running a business and doing more national-scaled (and possibly international) work with kids and nutrition. We have a ton of food in America that doesn’t end up on the tables, but rather 50 percent ends up back in the landfills. We aren’t using our food resources well, and I would like to help still be a part of the wave of activists that helps to make people feel healthier and happier—that can be anywhere from helping to remodel the food in our country’s hospitals and schools to elderly care to food outlets on the highway. Our food systems and how we source and what we source need to shift. I want to be a part of that culture shift.

What is your biggest challenge to getting there? And what do you think will help you the most?
Change takes time and patience. It’s an amazing skill to grow and mature your patience. I’ve learned a lot and become a better person personally and professionally by growing my patience. But it’s not easy and others are quick to shut you down and ignore you. It’s going to take a solid belief on the grassroots level and the political level to move this country to a healthier place. We have that now but we have to keep that momentum going, especially in the private sector.

That’s incredible, Allison. I know I’ll probably be hiring you to help me out sooner rather than later! Thanks so much for being a DotW! And everyone, check out Allison’s amazing Peerbackers campaign. I’ve already given, what’s stopping you??