January 24, 2013

How to Date a Social Entrepreneur. ~ Vicki Pozzebon


I’ve started dating again.

Let me clarify that: I’ve been single for five years, had a couple of good relationships but nothing stuck. Then 2011 came and gave me a startling awakening of the things that can easily come crashing down around you and leave you in pile of your own snot on the floor.

But that’s not my point.

My point is, after a couple of years of choosing to be single and letting the universe take me on its wings into the unknown of new things, like a new business and completely untethering me from various responsibilities (my dog died very suddenly at 10.5 years old in that bad year too), I have decided to put myself out there and begin the dating process again.

 I got online.

This is hard and tedious work. But I did it. I’m online dating again, I’ve committed to it. So that’s where my saga begins: with the initial commitment to date at all.

You go through the motions of clicking, “Yes, I’m interested” and wait for something to happen. Then you receive the email that asks you to say more about yourself. Dude, I wrote a tome in my profile. Can’t you just read it and ask to meet me for coffee and skip all the email nice-ities?

But then there’s the big question, “So tell me more about what you do?”

“I’m a consultant” is my fast response. I’m actually a Localist. I work on local economy projects that localize our community’s local economies. I work in food systems, consult with locally owned businesses on how to be good local businesses and I work with local groups to form networks of local business owners that impact the local economy. I also do marketing and branding campaigns for,

Buy Local, Think Local, Be Local. Local. Local. Local. Everything. That’s what I do. It’s who I am.

After wrapping their heads around it most guys are intrigued, want to know more and find ways to connect,

“Oh, I never shop at WalMart but I had a Starbucks coffee this morning. Is that okay?”

Essentially, I’m a social entrepreneur, working with the folks and being one of the folks that works on big social justice, social economic issues and making things work in communities. My work comes from my passion for social justice, fighting for the underdog and a long history of family farmers and entrepreneurs. It’s in my DNA.

I’ve written numerous articles and author a monthly column about my connection to my work. I know that being a passionate, independent, smart and creative woman is attractive to men. However, why is it that when men actually get one, they don’t know what to do with it?

I’ve gone through a lot of therapy to deal with my control issues; my need to be in charge, to be the social and executive director of a relationship. I am looking for my partner, someone who equally loves what they do and who they are.

I don’t need someone who wants to start a community farm! Or ride bikes to the farmers’ market! Or take me to a political rally every weekend!!!! (Exclamation points for emphasis on their enthusiasm when they suggest these things.)

Yes, I do all those things and hope that my partner would join me in doing those things but feel secure in assuming that that’s what we will do eventually, when we get into a good relationship. You will become a part of my life/work in ways that will be rewarding and great if that’s what you want to do!

You don’t have to feign interest just to get a date with me; I am not the local police for social justice and even cops need a night off to go for a beer every now and then.

Here’s what you need to know to date a social entrepreneur:

1. We will work long and hard but we know how to manage the work/life balance.

We like to go to political rallies before yoga class and we might write a marketing plan late into the night because we just had a great phone call with a friend about an inspiring idea. We will likely sleep in a little the next day to balance out the screen time we spent with our iPad or we might take a long walk to clear our head so we can give you quality time.

2. We will be passionate.

We’ll probably debate with you until we are blue in the face. We might even throw organic tomatoes at Rachel Maddow’s show when we get fired up by one of her dumb guests. But imagine all the energy channeled under the sheets, in the bedroom.

3. We care.

We care about people, the planet and making a living. We want you to have a good job and be a good person. We want you to treat others as you would want to be treated. We want you to stand for something, be involved in your own thing and share that with us. We will care deeply for you, too. Making a decent living in social justice or as a social entrepreneur is not bad karma.

4. We take showers and like to dress up for events.

I can let loose and reconnect with my 20-something-dirty-hippie-self and live in the woods for a few days without a shower. I have also traveled extensively, living out of a backpack and a van. But I like to be clean, smell pretty and put on some fun girly shoes with my dress every now and then. I will spend money on my hair and my mani/pedi without guilt. I will also stop at my neighborhood farm stand on the way home from my mani/pedi. No big whoop.

5. We are opinionated and powerful.

We like to have something to say, to give advice but we are also good listeners. How could we figure out how to fix the world’s problems if we didn’t listen?

6. We will be independent.

It’s why we start our own nonprofit organizations and social enterprises. You’ll have to be okay with the fact that we like alone time, don’t need you all the time and likely will take vacations by ourselves. But, if we’ve made it this far in our careers, we probably know how to ask for help.

7. We are probably foodies.

This could mean we cook a meal of veggies and herbs from our own gardens or that we like to eat at the local restaurants; that source locally and know where their beef comes from. (Please don’t suggest one of these places and then complain about the expense. Cheap is not attractive.) Or, we’ll pick it up to go from a local joint and pass it off as our very favorite thing because we were too busy to cook and boy, what a day! Whatever the case, we’ll make the effort to make sure it’s good and on the table with local beeswax candles and organic cotton cloth napkins, served with a bio-dynamic wine from a friend’s farm in Washington State. Ok?

8. We don’t take ourselves too seriously.

We’ve seen all the “Shit (fill in the blank) Girls Say” videos on YouTube. Very funny, muthafucka.

So, if you can dig it and seek same, well, you know where to find me.



Vicki Pozzebon comes from a long line of Italian immigrant family-owned businesses, farmers, activists, and strong Italian women who have been known to chase men out of the kitchen with a wooden spoon.  She is also the owner of Prospera Partners, a consulting company practicing bold localism. Read Vicki’s blog The Local Voice at www.prosperapartners.org and find her on Twitter: @vickipozzebon.



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