Categorized | Social Entrepreneur

Taking On Me to Create a Social Enterprise

My name is Julia Gentry and I am a proud owner of Intern America LLC. (InternAmericaNow.com). I have been in the entrepreneurial space for 5 years and took the first leap of faith in the real estate industry, alongside my husband, Travis Gentry, after he received a pay cut that accounted for half his pay. At that point in time, it was just the push we needed and it was truly the first step of the rest of our lives.

For the first 9 months, it was a rough go. We “launched” in one of the worst markets and were consistently told, “It can’t be done”, “That’s impossible”, “You can’t do that”. Little to say, we cut our teeth on some serious adversity. But, within 18 months, we had built a company that managed 70+ short sales at any given time, bought and sold Millions of dollars worth of investment real estate, and had an incredible team of 4 employees that ultimately ran the business for us.

After much success and making more money than I ever had, something within me still knew that there had to be something more. I had this weird desire in me to make a difference and this innate “thing” that actually believed I could change the world. It took some failed ventures and a lot of personal and professional exploration that led me to where I am today… an owner of Intern America.

Taking On Me to Create a Social EnterpriseIntern America’s goal is to build America’s future by connecting the next generation of leaders with today’s employers. Our mission from day one has been to “put America back to work” by connecting the RIGHT individuals with the RIGHT employers who are looking for job opportunity and/or work experience in 3 and 6 month internships. We launched in December of 2011 after much market research, in – house development, and a crazy, passionate desire to be a part of the change that our country DESPERATLY needs. This change is best seen in the disconnect between those looking for employment and those offering it. With more than 13 Million people unemployed and another 2.4 Million jobs being outsourced (just in “top corporate companies” alone – Wal Mart, General Electric, Chevron, Cisco, etc), we have no other choice than to be concerned about the sustainability of our country. With our goal being to “put America back to work”, we then designed our processes to not just connect people with jobs, but to help them identify their purpose, live into their passions, and create their own path.

These processes are SO important because we’ve found that this generation is looking for more than “just a job”. They want to make a difference, they want to do what they love, they want to be a part of things bigger than themselves, and we have created an in – house matching system that asks them the tough questions, gets them clear on what they feel their purpose is, identifies what their realest, rawest passions are, and step by step, begins to create a more clear path for them to take. Equally, we work with employers (from start – ups to small business to corporate America) to help them identify what their company values and culture are and to get clear on what their goals, objectives and desires are for the future, with the intent of connecting them with an individual who “speaks the same language.” Ultimately, this creates a more sustainable experience and gives both parties a chance to excel.

“The next generation of leaders are those who would rather challenge what needs to change and pay the price then remain silent and die on the inside.” Unknown. Our vision: “Have fun. Change the system. Impact the world.” is why we do what we do. That’s why we created Intern America, to change the system that’s currently in place for the better and to ultimately, impact the world and the forward movement of a generation that will lead our country in 20-30 years. AND, yes, we do believe that you only live once so you might as well have fun too!

Intern America is run by 3 partners and a growing staff of interns that ultimately, create positions within the company and get to use their gifts to serve this world. We work together, we lean on each other’s strengths, we ignore our weaknesses and enhance those gifts that need to be enhanced. We know that we cannot do this alone and even with our growing team that brings more to the table than we could ever ask for, we have committed to partnering with our communities in any way we can. We work with local colleges, work/hire initiatives, professional business groups, churches, and anyone else who shares the heartbeat that we possess. It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child and the same is true for any social enterprise or growing, successful business.

We believe VERY strongly in creating community, in creating a movement and are actively using online resources to get our word out and create a buzz for individuals that are looking for their next step and businesses that are looking to grow. We are on Facebook (Facebook.com/InternAmerica), Linked In (search: Julia Gentry), and Twitter (@internAmerica and @JuliaGentry) doing our part to redefine what an “internship” is all about. NO, internships are not “free labor”. NO, they aren’t always “unpaid”. It’s a chance for employers to find the RIGHT individuals to join their team without the stress that comes along with it and it’s also a chance for ANYBODY wanting to try something new, anybody looking to push the reset button and choose a different path, and for anybody who is willing to do what it takes to create the life that they have envisioned. It’s never too late to start new and here at Intern America, we even work with those 37, 52 years old who have decided that the way things are going isn’t enough for them.

Taking On Me to Create a Social Enterprise

Julia Gentry

Through it all, I have learned that the best advice I never got was how stinking hard it really can be. It’s why people quit. It’s why people give up and give in. It isn’t easy and no one has the road map. Risks are a part of each new day and most of the time, the majority of people around you will never understand why you do what you do. But, through that, mistakes and all, I have learned that any social enterprise, any business, needs to start out lean. Get in there, test the waters, figure out what works and what doesn’t, and know that the goal is to figure out how to align your vision and mission with what people will actually buy/buy into. Grow into business and know that it is a process. Anything worth having takes time, and so does any successful business with a mission.

Looking back, I can honestly say that the only real thing that I’ve done right, is simply stay committed to the process. As is life, we are here for a reason and our number one goal is to figure out what that reason is and to learn how to serve that reason, that gift, to the world. I have NEVER stopped figuring that out. I have never given up no matter what has come my way, through my own mistakes and through the hard experience that life decides to throw at you, this purpose, this reason, means to much to me and it is the one thing I have done right!!

For any developing social entrepreneur, here are my deepest, truest “words of wisdom”: Figure out who you are, figure out what you want, and learn how you can serve your gift to the world. You will reap exponential experiences, profits, and inner contentment. Never give up, never give in, and constantly spend time recharging to ensure you are always FULL!!

The world doesn’t need more people who say that it can’t be done. We need more people who are simply committed to their reason and their purpose, and live the rest of their life in pursuit of making it happen. Do it to it!

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