By Abby, Dom, Iiyannaa and Jessica
As part of our series of case studies, we Skyped with Skye Cornell, Vice President of Programs of Wholesome Wave, this past Tuesday. This is the third Skype session we have had with a member of a social enterprise. These Skype sessions grant us insight into the stories of these organizations. We learn of each company’s unique challenges and strategies for a successful model. Wholesome Wave is a network of nutrition centers, seeking to establish communities with “Affordability and Access to Healthy, Locally Grown Food” for everyone in the community. Seeing the inside of Wholesome Wave has allowed us to learn the way companies market--from the importance of storytelling, to the challenges facing Wholesome Wave on a federal level, and how to best combat this.
Ever since its launching, Wholesome Wave has faced many challenges varying on different levels. These challenges include communities’ skepticism in the programs’ feasibility and competition for federal funds from similar institutes. In response to the general public’s hesitation, Cornell pointed out that Wholesome Wave has poured a numerous amount of effort into weaving a compelling narrative about their programs, intertwining the organization’s founding philosophies with the positive results of their implementation. Another strategy that Wholesome Wave has adopted is using comprehensive data collected to accordingly modify the programs. The data has also been used for campaigns to win public and government support. The efficacy of these methods are manifested in Wholesome Wave’s success today.
Skye Cornell, the vice president of major programs at Wholesome Wave has a background in business and marketing. Cornell became involved in her current line of work by starting at a local level. During the weekends she would make time to volunteer at her local Farmer’s Market. Cornell said that she would show up and would do anything and everything she could to help. The passion for the work she does now has always been there. Currently Cornell is apart of Wholesome Wave’s executive team and is credited with the responsibility of building diverse alliances and strategic partnerships. Cornell has been a part of Whole Wave for five years thus far, and has a leadership role in scaling specific programs to 28 states at roughly 400 farmers markets, retail outlets, community health clinics, and hospitals in a way that goes to validate and honor these unique communities. Skye Cornell is still very dedicated to her work at Wholesome Wave.
Having the opportunity to have a deeper. more personal look into how a current operating social enterprise works was an incredibly valuable experience. Starting a social enterprise isn’t always the biggest issues; creating a sustainable and scalable social enterprise serves as the real challenge. Thanks to Skye Cornell at Wholesome Wave we were able to get insight on some key strategies to combat these challenges.