Interested in starting your own journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tom Phillips, Executive Director of StarkFresh, located in Canton, OH, USA.

What's your organization, and who are your members?

We are a nonprofit team of staff and volunteers working together to provide realistic pathways out of poverty in Stark County. We tackle the root causes of hunger by providing affordable retail food options and entrepreneurship programming to the underserved in our community. Our mission is to tackle the causes of hunger by creating realistic pathways out of poverty.

Tell us about yourself

I worked in corporate America for 15 years, took a few years off, and then started in the nonprofit world. I've been doing this for over a decade now, and I love it. Because I love helping people and making an impact in my community with what we do, even though it is hard work, it doesn't seem like a job to me, just more of an extension of life.

What's your biggest accomplishment as an organization?

Being the Executive Director of a nonprofit, hearing the stories from those that we serve about how impactful the program we offer is to their everyday lives is really what I use as an internal gauge of whether what we're doing really matters or not. We can keep track of all the metrics in the world, but those personal stories are really what keeps us going.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being an organization?

At the end of the day, this is still a business, and that means setting aside feelings and making hard decisions. It's hard sometimes, especially when you have such a small, tight-knit group of people that you see frequently. Keeping balance and morale up is a constant struggle at times, just like any "family."

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow an organization today?

  1. Be tenacious.
  2. Be flexible.
  3. Don't fear failure.

Where can people find you and your group?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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