A Former Intern Brightens Our Day

bryan September 14th, 2010

The Watercooler just got an update from Anay Shah, who interned with POGO back in 2003:

Hi POGO Alums & Family,

It’s been quite a while but once you’ve been inducted, POGO rarely strays far from the heart. With the sad news of Beth, I began thinking about how much my time at POGO meant to me and the lifelong relationships I built. I was an Everett Intern with POGO back in 2003 and learned that work could be meaningful, interesting AND fun. As everyone on the Watercooler knows, POGO is quite a magical place.

After interning at POGO I graduated from Wesleyan University and went to work in international development for DAI and USAID. Last year I decided I needed to stop flying across the world writing strategies for multi-million dollar projects and get my hands dirty. I saw the limitations of donor-funded development and realized the power of the private sector to drive social change. With an interest in clean energy and a desire to learn about my heritage, I packed my bags for India.

I was fortunate to get a fellowship with D.light Design, a global social enterprise providing solar lighting solutions to people living without reliable access to electricity. Working for a startup and working to build a new brand and new concept (affordable solar power) to the hardest-to-reach (rural villages) and most price-sensitive customers in the world has been a roller coaster. I secretly came here looking for another POGO—where work is your passion and passion is your work. And providing light to unelectrified rural villages fits the bill. It’s an amazing mix of marketing, sales, distribution, education, and innovative business models—and I think we are making headway. For more on our challenge, see this new video by Seth Godin’s son:

The Double Bottom Line from Alex Godin on Vimeo.

By the way, saw that Omidyar Network is funding POGO—they have become our largest investor at D.light Design. Glad to see Omidyar is also supporting the best watchdogs ever!

Anay, in the back row with sunglasses, with his new friends:

People are still talking about that party…

bryan August 11th, 2009

And now an update from 2008 intern Katelynn Bell:

Back in June I was in DC to attend a dinner held in honor of Joan Claybrook.  She resigned as President of Public Citizen recently and the event benefited the Joan Claybrook fund and celebrated the renaming of the Public Citizen building as the Joan Claybrook building.  My Dad has been friends with her for over 20 years.  He used to take her as his date to black tie events whenever my mother couldn’t make it, so they go way back.

For those who don’t know already, Claybrook has done a lot for automobile safety (and that’s kind of an understatement…).  Among other things, she successfully lobbied for the passage of the first automobile safety laws, including the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Highway Safety Act along with Ralph Nader, the founder of Public Citizen.  My Dad says, “In my personal opinion, Joan is the most influential lobby-type person in Washington, DC.” (That is an authentic John C. Bell quote).

Anyway, I attended this event with my Dad and had a blast.  I got to meet Nancy Pelosi (new face-lift!), Ralph Nader (I discovered he has a penchant for walking away mid-conversations), and Robert Redford (Yes, he is as hot and wonderful in person).   It was an honor to be there and I felt lucky to attend such a high profile event.  I mentioned to Joan that I had interned at POGO and she rattled off a few sentences about how she had worked with POGO before and wonderful y’all were.  I was pretty proud to be able to say that I had worked there too.

Katelynn currently attends Bates College.