Weekly Exposure: Meet the Team!

July 19, 2017 //

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, may I have your attention. Can I get a drumroll please? Today, the Photo Start team is proud to announce we’re stepping into the spotlight! As we ramp up work both in Kibera and the States, we wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about ourselves, how we came to be involved in Photo Start, and what keeps us motivated as we work to benefit as many children as we can. Read on for info about the team, and check out our new About Page for more info!

Alex, CJ, David, Nick, and Katie at a team meeting

Nick Barnstead

Why did you join Photo Start?

I joined Photo Start because it fulfilled two of my biggest passions; service and entrepreneurship. Essentially, I wanted to sharpen my business skills while doing something meaningful at the same time. I have always told myself that I want to create something/be apart of something big at some point in my life. Not necessarily sure what that entails, but I would love to somehow influence a large population of people and leave the world a better place than when I found it (super cliche and corny, but true) and Photo Start seemed like the perfect opportunity for that.

What excites you or motivates you about this project?

Through Photo Start I am able to gain incredible experience and insight on business tactics, while getting to witness the impact that we are having on the kids we are serving. Using photography as a platform, we hope to expose kids to various technical, leadership, and life skills in an academic and instructional setting. Another huge benefit of the project is my incredible team. It is a breath of fresh air being around like-minded people who have an awesome set of new perspectives and an eagerness to help this company grow. It has been extremely exciting seeing the expansion in recent months, and only makes me more excited for the future!

What do you work on at Photo Start?

So far I have worked on sponsorship outreach, business analytics and strategy, and logo creation. I am looking forward to getting into the merchandising and crowdfunding campaigns as well!

What are your goals with Photo Start?

As I stated I want to be apart of something big. I want to be able to look back later in life and be proud of some sort of mark I have made during my time here on earth. I want to see Photo Start created into a self-sustaining, structured workshop that kids all over the world are able to participate in. My hopes are that the students would graduate from the program with new skills, confidence, and a new perspective on life that they would share with the rest of the people in their community; thus creating a snowball effect.

Fun Fact

The Chicago Cubs....the greatest sports franchise on Earth (also my favorite sports team)...won the World Series....on MY Birthday (November 2)! I took off work and drove out to Chicago to witness the incredible comeback and take part in the greatest celebration this world has ever seen. Among the millions of people there, I somehow got selected to be interviewed by CNN and Fox Sports. It was the greatest birthday present I have/probably will ever receive!

What is your favorite picture you've ever taken?

Alex Hong

Why did you join Photo Start?

Was introduced to Photo Start by CJ, thought it would be a good vehicle to develop business acumen while working on something meaningful.

What excites you or motivates you about this project?

I am most excited by the endless possibilities and directions that we can propel this organization towards. Photo Start has a start-up like environment, and it is very easy to see hard work translated into a reward since the team is up close and personal to every decision that is being made. The more work we put in, the faster the organization will grow, eventually leading to larger numbers of workshops offered and children helped.

What do you work on at Photo Start?

I have been working on brand awareness and marketing strategy, but will be shifting efforts towards preparing for the launch of a crowdfunding campaign.

What are your goals with Photo Start?

I would like to help the organization get to a point where all their materials are standardized, and its ability to scale will only be limited by funds. I believe this is an extremely valuable program that will make meaningful changes in the lives of a lot of people, and by standardizing the expansion process, the organization’s reach will be greatly increased.

Fun Fact

My favorite activity is snowboarding and I took the photo below after hiking to the top of a peak in Breckenridge, CO.

What is your favorite picture you've ever taken?

David Lehman

Why did you join Photo Start?

Foundational skills in today's world center on technology. Access to technology is the great divide. People who are tech illiterate are left behind, or will face dire future consequences. On the other hand, technology is the great equalizer. The barrier to entry is very low. Photography is a unique, fun, and subtle way to teach a set of diverse and complicated skills that are fundamental, valuable, and universal.

What excites you or motivates you about this project?

Seeing children teach other children. The goal of a Photo Start workshop is to become independently operated and facilitated by students and graduates of the workshops. The idea that students can ultimately run their own workshops is the critical concept for me to impart.

What do you work on at Photo Start?

I teach skills to the children, build our partnerships and oversee all operations of the organization.

What are your goals with Photo Start?

To have self-running workshops in different locations with a strong shared curriculum attaching all of our students and partners into one network. I want the kids to learn and to teach each other vital skills and to escape poverty.

Fun Fact

I put my beloved Chocolate Labrador of 8 years up for adoption in order to pursue building Photo Start. Despite what Nick says, the New York Giants are the greatest sporting franchise on Earth, and, unlike the Cubs, have won multiple Championships (four during my lifetime). What have the Cubs done except embrace the lovable loser concept?

What is your favorite picture you've ever taken?

My favorite photo is the next photo I take. And then the one after that. You can view some of my work at www.davidlehman.com and on Instagram @davidlehmanphoto

CJ Meyer

Why did you join Photo Start?

I have worked with David on many early stage entrepreneurial ventures. When Dave approached me with this opportunity, I immediately accepted. I was excited about the opportunity to build an organization who's mission is to provide educational knowledge to people in areas of the world I have never been. Photo Start is a platform for me to donate my time and skills towards building a great cause. It brings me joy when I receive photos from Dave of the children smiling, laughing, playing, learning.

What excites you or motivates you about this project?

Photo Start is one of the most fulfilling organizations that I have worked on in my entrepreneurial career. Since I started working on the project, it’s been a fun challenge building the nonprofit from the ground up. David is an incredible founder and partner and I enjoy working alongside him as his point of contact in the US. I love the challenge of building out the Photo Start brand leveraging lean methodologies to test and scale as we grow. Additionally, it has been enjoyable gaining partnerships with Fortune 500 organizations and gathering support from these prestigious organizations. One of the most memorable videos I received from David, was when we took the children out of the slums for the first time- I have a video of a student saying “I never knew my Nairobi was this beautiful”. This video melted my heart and really helped demonstrate the impact that we are making on these children's lives. I look forward to continuing to build this international organization with David and continue to overcome the challenges that are prevalent with building a sustainable program.

What do you work on at Photo Start?

Vice Chair Board of Directors; Marketing; US Point of Contact

What are your goals with Photo Start?

The idea behind Photo Start has been validated; my overall goal is to build this International organization into a multi-continent educational program which can self-sustain itself once initiated. The more lives and children we are able to positively impact, the better.

Fun Fact

I bred lizards and sold them to pet stores when I was 13.

What is your favorite picture you've ever taken?

Katie Watson

Why did you join Photo Start?

I absolutely love the intersections of tech and development. The ways that Photo Start integrates technology -- like photo editing, Excel, and computer usage -- in such a fun educational setting is really cool to me. I also have a long-held passion for helping underprivileged children in sub-Saharan Africa, and spent many years working to for another non-profit that benefited orphans in Uganda. Given my previous experience working for non-profits both in Africa and the States, I knew I could bring a lot to the table to help Photo Start grow.

What excites you or motivates you about this project?

The Photo Start team is one of the most driven, passionate, and capable groups of people I have ever worked with. Each of us believe deeply in the mission of this organization, and that motivates us to work hard and fast to help Photo Start develop. The growth I have seen in the past few months is unbelievable, and it makes every hour of work that we put in that much more meaningful. Most importantly, the children that we are working to serve are so deserving of this opportunity. I feel very lucky to be a part of team that does its best to help them improve their circumstances. It is a unique and inspiring opportunity to be able to directly see the effect that your work has on someone else’s life, and I am so grateful for the experience.

What do you work on at Photo Start?

I manage content creation (like this blog!), press outreach, and web editing.

What are your goals with Photo Start?

I hope to see Photo Start grow to become a self-sustaining organization in Kibera, and other cities around the world. It would be absolutely incredible to see the children go on to use the educational opportunities we are providing to build careers for themselves, and to use what they have learned to teach others.

Fun Fact

I love travel, especially experiencing new cultures and cuisines. I backpacked for three months from Western Europe to Southeast Asia in college and have visited six of the seven continents.

What is your favorite picture you've ever taken?

Contact Us

Contact Form

Photo Start 119W 72nd St - #140
New York, New York 10023
USA
1.800.208.9898