I am the first zip fellow to be placed in my hometown Akron, Ohio and here is a look at day in my life early in my fellowship.

I get up at 7:00 and go for a jog on a trail by my house that goes by a lovely creek. After a shower and breakfast I get started on my day. It starts with a meeting with Tabitha, the marketing coordinator for a local business trustee, to go over the trustee profile. After coffee with Tabitha I drive over to the International Institute of Akron which supports refugees as they integrate into the Akron community. I speak to the director and her staff for about an hour explaining how Kiva Zip works and how this program can help refugees start or expand their small businesses. It’s so incredible to know that other organizations see the possibilities and hope this program will bring to their clients. The International Institute agrees to be a Kiva Zip trustee and after going over the next steps and my plan of follow up I go to lunch.

Lunch is in the lovely Highland Square area with my brother who wants to tell me about a friend of his who might be a great borrower on Kiva Zip. I chat about the specifics and catch up with him about everything new going on in his life. For the past 9 years I have not lived in Akron as undergrad, study abroad, internships, Peace Corps, and now grad school have kept me away. This fellowship has provided a wonderful way to reconnect with my hometown and learn about how local development agencies provide support for critical small businesses and entrepreneurs. I tell my brother to check in with his friend and give him my contact information so we can move forward.

The early afternoon is spent in a local coffee shop sending emails to prospective trustee organizations and following up on other leads and correspondence.  Later in the afternoon I have a phone meeting with a prospective trustee organization in Columbus. After a great call I rush home to have a quick dinner and then go to a young professionals networking event.  It’s a great opportunity to get to know people in the area while spreading the word about Kiva and looking for potential borrowers. I say goodnight and get home around 11. After I review the next day’s schedule, check my email, and catch up with the exciting travels my Kiva Fellow friends scattered around the globe I read a few more chapters in the novel I can never seem to finish and go to sleep.

About the author

Theresa Wilson

Born and raised in Ohio, Theresa earned her bachelor’s degree in Finance from Miami University of Ohio. Immediately after college, Theresa joined the Peace Corps and served as a business adviser in the Republic of Georgia until the 2008 conflict with Russia. After transferring to Costa Rica, Theresa worked as an economic development facilitator. In this role, she supported entrepreneurs, women’s associations, cooperatives, youth groups, and municipal and local government initiatives. More recently, Theresa worked as a coordinator for the Peace Corps’ economic development program and focused on strengthening public private partnerships to bridge the digital divide in rural areas. Theresa recently began working toward a dual MBA/MA Global Affairs degree because her efforts in the Peace Corps showed her entrepreneurs, when supported by cross-sector collaboration, can amplify economic growth and social justice in communities. She can think of no better organization poised to make an impact in this area than Kiva and is delighted to work with Kiva Zip in Ohio this summer.