Where Are They Now: The Purpose Fellow Alums

We caught up with some of our Purpose Fellowship alumni to hear what they've been up to since participating in the program.

by tbd*, September 29, 2021

Photo via Carole Kaufmann/die KUNST der INKLUSION 

 As we gear up for our 5th Purpose Fellowship, we thought we would check in with some of our 250 Purpose Fellowship alumni to hear what they’ve been working on since participating in the program. We’ve been blown away by all the inspiring stories from people who have started companies, dreamed up new NGOs, written novels, or simply found their dream job. Here are a few of our favorite stories and initiatives. 

We at tbd* know how hard it can be when you are starting something new, that’s why we also want to give these initiators a big shout out as they’re just getting started! In those early stages, every new follower or like means a lot, so why not show your support of these brave folks by following them on social media. Some of them even have a specific ask, whether it be volunteering, giving feedback or saving your dog’s wool (yes, you read that right). 

The next Purpose Fellowship will start on October 15th, the deadline to register is the 8th of October! Who knows what you could start and maybe your name will be featured here one day too…

Purpose Fellow: Carole Kaufmann  / What They’ve Been Up To: Initiator of die KUNST der INKLUSION 

My name is Carole Kaufmann and together with you I would like to rethink inclusion.

I want to increase the visibility and effectiveness of people with intellectual disabilities in our society and especially in cultural institutions. That’s why I started die KUNST der INKLUSION. die KUNST der INKLUSION offers people with mental disabilities training and job creation on the primary job market as art guides.

Purpose Fellow: Inge Meesak / What They’ve Been Up To: Initiator of FABUNDANCE

Fabundance is a social enterprise working on women's financial empowerment. We believe tackling the gender investment gap is crucial for women to achieve financial wellbeing and have freedom of choice. That is why Fabundance provides educational personal finance and investing courses to women to help them become more financially savvy and build their confidence to start investing. The course has been created for people who are curious, motivated and at the early stages of their journey towards more conscious financial decision-making skills and confidence.

Purpose Fellow: Luise Müller / What They’ve Been Up To: Initiator of nomoreflights.com 

After 1.5 years of staying close to home, many of us have "Fernweh" to see the world again. But we also witnessed how healing it was for the planet to have significantly less planes in the air. I believe there is a chance for a "new normal" of traveling now. 

That's why, earlier this year I used a break from my job to create NoMoreFlights.com together with my partner Dom Starkey. It's been a labour of love to launch this platform to get people excited about dreaming of their post-vaccine no-flights-adventures. The platform makes it easy to explore and share holiday experiences by train, camper van, bus, or bike and encourages people to find a balanced approach to traveling without pumping massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. We would love it if our website can contribute to this goal, while building a movement of nomoreflights-travelers! 

Purpose Fellow: Lena Schuhmacher / What They’ve Been Up To: Writing a novel

My learning for you? If you have a project or an idea that has been lingering in your head for quite some while and won't go away, go for it! For me it was a novel. I never really found the time to write it down although great parts of it were readily drafted in my mind. When I quit my job due to lack of purpose, I did so without having a real plan for a new occupation. I decided to take several months (intendedly „several“ without a certain number) to first of all write my novel. Guess what! It brought me much closer to myself than I would ever have imagined! My values and wishes became much clearer despite the fact that I had already worked on them with coaches before. With this newly set mindset, I walked through the world and without yet being on the watch-out for a new occupation, I found my now co-founder who convinced me to join her business. Everything felt very light and logical all over sudden. The novel, which at first sight looked like a detour, which would bring no success nor money, brought me directly to my new purpose. 

Whether or not the novel will become a success in itself, is up to you! It is not entirely ready yet but if you follow me on Instagram, you will hear about its launch the earliest possible! Fancy a little spoiler? Paula is stuck in an objectively good life but is unhappy about her purposeless daily life. On a backpacking trip to South America she feels much more lively and happier and falls in love with a particular beach. Back home, Paula discovers her great-aunt‘s letters from the 1950‘s, who in turn migrated to Spain in her twenties. Reading these old letters gives Paula an idea…

Purpose Fellow: Daniela Faßbach / What They’ve Been Up To: Volunteer at PHILEAS

The UN estimates that there will be over 200 climate refugees by 2050 - To make our society more open and colourful, we need strong initiatives and commitment. I have been volunteering for Phileas for a few months now. Our goal is to make integration work more digital and closer. With Phileas, we create a digital, easily accessible and safe space for peers with and without a refugee background. Pupils from regular school classes are connected with pupils from international preparatory classes, in which refugees attend classes during their first time in Germany, via a chat and can get to know each other where they prefer to be: online & in real time. At the same time, we are setting new impulses in the educational landscape and showing that teaching can also be modern and digital. 

We are currently applying for funding programmes, have launched a betterplace campaign and are looking for more volunteers who would like to support us. As Phileas is based entirely on voluntary commitment and does not pursue a monetary business model, we rely on this support. Want to join us?? 

Purpose Fellow: Esther Patrocino / What They’ve Been Up To: Initiator of DESDE MUNCHEN CON JAMON 

I decided to create a mentoring program and Spanish-speaking female community in Munich. Why? When I arrived in Munich in 2010, I didn’t know anyone in this city, I didn't know how to move, what social norms to follow, which organizations to go to or where to find other people with whom to share my free time and cultural misunderstandings. After two years as an intern, I started working in an international company where I had a German mentor who spoke Spanish and she helped me find my way around my job and career. For the first time, I felt that I was in contact with German society, its social norms and values. I learned a lot, especially about myself and growing up far from my comfort zone in Salamanca, but it is true that in that process I felt alone on many occasions and I missed the spontaneity and spark of life innate in Spanish culture. 

I realized that the coronavirus was giving me a unique opportunity to launch a social project that would unite long-term migrants with recent newcomers. It begins with one book "Desde Múnich con Jamón" (From Munich with Serrano Ham): a collection of all misunderstandings and cultural issues from my last 10 years as a Spanish-speaking woman in Munich. Every sold book is a step ahead to bring the mentoring project for Spanish-speaking women in Germany. Are you accompanying me on this new project? Do you know someone who would be interested in participating in the mentoring program? Follow along here.

Purpose Fellow: Sebastian Klemm / What They’ve Been Up To: Initiator of Proofing Future

What an encouraging journey this has already been: The Purpose Fellowship with its coaching, shared methodologies and cohort of inspiring peers has supported me in the decision-making process to finally turn my passion into a fulltime venture.

With my platform ProofingFuture.EU I help communicate solutions & foster collaborations for doers in the fields of climate action, social justice and tech for good. 

I am certain that to arrive at a fair future for all, requires us to deliver economics differently. Therefore, I evolved "Proofing Future: Bridging People + Ideas" as a solidarity driven, member based and collaborative venture. We apply community-supported, inclusive & solution-oriented principles to finance the venture, taking into account the individual organizational types & different financial conditions of each member. Moreover, every member’s active contribution of knowledge, ideas and contacts for the best possible support and empowerment of one another is part of our integrity. Our lived mutualism will make all of us thrive. After all, the most valuable sustainable technology the world needs is: Collaboration.

Purpose Fellow: Stephanie Naumann / What They’ve Been Up To: Head of Marketing of Impacc gGmbh 

The Purpose Fellowship was an amazing support in defining my purpose and finding a job that suited my values. I am now in charge of all things marketing for Impacc gGmbh, a social business start-up fighting poverty in the bottom of pyramid communities by supporting African start-ups in creating sustainable jobs. Like MakaPads, our Ugandan venture, producing affordable sanitary pads from locally grown papyrus, to reduce period poverty and allow girls to go to school during their period. Or Impacc Stove in Ethiopia, producing clay gasifiers that consume less wood for cooking and turn that wood into coal which can be sold. This reduces deforestation, saves households money on wood and even allows them to earn money while cooking.   

Purpose Fellow: Marie Budde / What They’ve Been Up To: Found a new job at MODUS INTARSIA 

In 2020, Corona knocked down my career several times, leaving me in “Kurzarbeit“ and then unemployed. But luckily, I love where I am now and I embrace change. :-)

I found a new job and am now part of the start-up, Modus Intarsia. We produce Chiengora, a wonderful, high quality yarn that comes from the undercoat of long-haired dogs when they are groomed. Yes, you heard it right, dog-wool! :-) Once you hold it in your hands or wear it, you’ll never want to let go. 

And actually, one of our biggest challenges is sourcing the wool. So here’s to all the dog owners, that wool that you throw away is actually a precious resource. When this wool is turned into yarn, it’s almost CO2 neutral and requires no animal breeding and mistreating of animals as is often the case in mass wool production. Want to turn your wool into yarn? Get in touch!


Inspired to make a career change of your own? Join us for the upcoming Purpose Fellowship, starting on October 15th!