The Real Anna Miller's Journey with Digital4GoodApr 22, 2023
This is a guest blog post courtesy of The Real Anna Miller.
This post is a little bit different from my other ones but equally as cool! As you know, my platform, The Real Anna Miller, is focused on representation and inclusivity for those traveling with a disability, as well as normalizing traveling with a disability. However, things are still pretty small and new here in terms of growing my platform and expanding my reach. Luckily, I was able to participate in a really cool experience that helped me grow.
Digital4Good is an organization focused on celebrating kids like me using tech to do good in their communities or in the world. In March of this year, the organization hosted a summit in California. Eight youths between the ages of 13 - 26 were selected to present their projects to “sharks” and a nationwide audience of people watching online.
I was lucky enough to be one of the eight youths chosen for this summit. I was assigned a mentor who, like me, was passionate about motivational speaking. My mentor, Carlos, and I connected really well. He is the president and CEO of the company CoolSpeak, which focuses on motivational speaking for and by youths. In the months leading up to the summit, Carlos and I worked on strategizing and figuring out what activities I should branch out to, like starting podcasts and streaming interviews on Twitch. Closer to the time of the event, we discussed how I should outline my pitch and slideshow that I would present to the attendees.
The Digital4Good summit arrived quickly. The Digital4Good team, winners and I got to meet each other and hang out. We also received the schedule, so I knew what was coming up. The event would take place over two days. There would be many presentations from experienced orators, student winner pitches, musical performances, and the highly anticipated award ceremony that would declare the recipient of the Digital4Good People’s Choice Award.
On the first day, the winners and I all presented our projects to the sharks. Afterward, we rotated around different “booths” to speak with professionals about how to expand our platforms in terms of marketing, financing, branding, and more. We also got to choose our “shark,” who would help guide us through our project’s journey moving forward.
I was able to learn so much more about how to expand my project, The Real Anna Miller. I had great conversations with those who worked in branding, finance, marketing, and more, and I discovered a whole new world of business. It wasn’t all work and learning, though! I had the opportunity to meet and talk with my fellow “winners” (as we were called): Hurshneet, Axel, Gauri, Saanvi, Shreya, Donovan, and Armita. It was super fun to get to know all of them and their missions.
The next day was much bigger. We would recite our pitches again, but this time it would be in front of a live audience. I was pretty nervous about this part, since I was scared of slipping up in front of a huge audience of students and educators. After the keynote speaker, Tony Whatley, gave us a poignant introduction, I was ready to go up. Thankfully, I didn’t mess up! I delivered my speech just as I had practiced, and it was met with applause. I got to hear the other winners’ speeches too, which was awesome.
After all of us finished our pitches, we directed ourselves onto the stage for a live Q&A session. This Q&A had more questions about what we were working on and who inspired us, as well as some fun questions. This discussion really allowed me to think even deeper about my mission and all that I had learned from my mentors.
More speakers came to deliver amazing speeches and gave us food for thought. Finally, the last part of the day arrived—the part we were super excited about. It was the People’s Choice Award ceremony! Right before the ceremony began, the schools and people who were attending live got to vote for one of the eight winners. After a suspenseful wait, the hosts announced that the award went to…Anna Miller! That’s right, yours truly won the People’s Choice Award for the Digital4Good summit. I was beyond happy and thankful. It meant so much to know that my story had impacted so many people. I was also excited as I thought about all the tips and advice I had received and how I would use them to grow my platform.
The day wasn’t over yet. After the ceremony, the winners sat next to their posters in the main room, and the attendees had opportunities to meet them one-on-one and ask questions. I was super happy to give tips on how to be more inclusive of those with disabilities. As the small meet-and-greets were winding down, we all got to enjoy a hearty meal of Chick-Fil-A and snacks.
Finally, the day winded down, and we said goodbye to all the amazing people who had helped us out with our projects and pitches. Luckily, I’ve been able to keep in touch with them, and I’m still talking to them now through email. Every few days, we discuss steps to expand The Real Anna Miller and schedule virtual meetings in order to figure out the best plan for my project moving forward.
You probably noticed that I am super happy to have gotten this opportunity. I’ve met scores of incredible entrepreneurs, mentors, and new friends. I would relive this experience all over again, no matter how nervous I was about my pitches! I’ve gained so much more knowledge than I ever thought I could in just the span of TWO days! I’ve also gained so many lasting and important memories that I’ll always look back on.
The Real Anna Miller's Journey with Digital4Good
Written By: Anna Miller | The Real Anna Miller
The 2024 Digital4Good Nominations Are Now Open!
Nominate a student you feel has used digital for good.
- Ages 13 - 26
- Students selected will be honored at an event partnered with large tech companies
- Connected with mentors to grow their mission
- Digital4Good will be in around January 2024
- We will be accepting applications through April 30th, 2023
- Winners announced June 1st, 2023
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