SCORE

In honor of National Volunteer Month, we’re proud to feature a blog from one of our dedicated SCORE volunteers, Jeanne Rossomme.

I moved to the Washington DC area from Miami, FL in 2003 with my husband and three small but very active boys, ages 3, 5 and 8. I had just left an academic studies program and was trying to figure out my next career steps. While I was very excited to be in a vibrant metropolitan area, I had no friends, family or professional connections.  I was thinking about starting my own business to gain independence and flexibility.  But other than that vague goal, I had no idea where to start.  I had heard of SCORE, and the SCORE DC chapter immediately embraced me and put me to work teaching the local marketing workshops and mentoring clients.

Since 2003, I have had various roles within SCORE, speaking at conferences, writing for this blog, helping with small business research, and many others. 

But the term “volunteer” somehow seems wrong, as I have been more the receiver than the giver in many ways:

  1. Lots of learning.  Even though I was officially the “expert” teaching various SCORE marketing workshops and advising individual clients, in every class I learned something new.  Entrepreneurs told me of new apps and software; and most importantly, what worked or didn’t given a rapidly changing marketing landscape. SCORE created an environment where we all “passed it on.”
     
  2. Being there at the birth.  One of the great honors and pleasures in working with entrepreneurs is seeing the light come on and the pieces come together: a musician or artist being able to get paid for his or her creativity and talent, a brilliant tech person who could envision how to disrupt an industry, or someone who wanted to just leave a stifling big business or government job.
     
  3. A great network of fellow business owners.  Whether they are other SCORE mentors, people in workshops or just others I have met along the way, I find I have an amazing group that I can go to for questions or advice.  For example, I was working with a client recently and needed to understand the dynamics of a new industry.  I could reach out to my network, and get the wisdom of people who had deep experience and were willing to share those insights to help.
     
  4. Vetted vendors.  Via my SCORE network, I can get a great list of suggestions when I need vendors, such as SEO experts, graphic designers, accountants, etc.
     
  5. Grounded picture of Small Business USA.  I have a better feeling for the real struggles and triumphs of small business.  Even though small businesses make up over 98% of all companies in the US, the politicians and media often do not report the whole picture.  Working with SCORE, I have seen the grassroots impact of important policies, such as new laws, access to loans, employee healthcare availability, etc. 
     
  6. Part of my community.  I feel more connected with different parts of my community.  For example, for some months I was a SCORE counselor in a neighborhood filled with new immigrant entrepreneurs.  Another time I was asked to speak at a conference in an enterprise zone in DC.  Those experiences help me connect with different areas and different groups who all shared the same entrepreneurial goals.
     
  7. Spirit of helping and growth.  I am always humbled by the number of new business owners that created an adjoining non-profit to give back to the community.  Or who bake in employment and internships to give employment to others.  I feel lucky indeed to be part of this optimistic spirit and openness.

If you’re looking for a truly rewarding volunteering experience, think about becoming a SCORE volunteer.

About the Author(s)

Jeanne Rossomme headshot

Jeanne uses her 20 years of marketing know-how to help small business owners reach their goals. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she held a variety of marketing positions with DuPont and General Electric. Jeanne regularly hosts online webinars and workshops in both English and Spanish.

President, RoadMap Marketing
national volunteer month