BY Ellie Hitt
This week begins our series highlighting the "Phantom Helpers" who have supported Urban Refuge throughout our development from the classroom to the present.
Self described as a storyteller, creative strategist, consumer of all things social media-related and passionate feminist, Garima Sharma is a journalist and former editor from India, currently pursuing her MS in Media Ventures at the College of Communication at Boston University.
Garima immediately expressed interest in our project when she discovered Urban Refuge is entirely comprised of women. Skyping in from LA last spring, her idealism, enthusiasm, and the belief in the power of technology to spark social change breathed life into our idea at the earliest stages of our app development.
In addition to her words of inspiration, Garima shared her business savvy. Below are a couple kernels of wisdom she shared with us about honing in on our product and target audience which she has graciously allowed us to share with you via this blog.
Be Fragile, Nimble, and Ready to Pivot: During our earliest stages, every week our concept was modified as we explored new fields of interest and connected with more partners and consultants. Garima reminded us that there is no shame in taking steps back and reorganizing. What distinguishes us as a group is the fact that we are willing to adapt with every new piece of advice and data we receive. She urged us to look at Facebook and Twitter as examples of the beauty of improving our ideas to deliver the best product possible.
Bridging the Cultural Gap: Hailing from India, Garima appears to acutely understand the importance of bridging the cultural gap when marketing and developing an app. She reminded us to focus on the language we used and also to initiate the conversation with our clients themselves. Although we may think we understand our clientele because we have researched the refugee experience in Amman, we cannot purport to fully comprehend all the questions and concerns of the population we are attempting to cater to. Our collective research has forced us to be profoundly in tune with the implications of our word choice. In every step of the process, we have tried to gain feedback from our clients which is something we intend to continue through the use of refugee peer consultants on the ground in Amman.
As a class, we want to publicize our gratitude for the conversation we had with Garima and the brilliant insight she offered on a gamut of issues especially during our earliest stages.
If you want more wisdom from the source herself, feel free to check out her out on Twitter (@garimasharma) or get lost in her accomplishments on LinkedIn. We can assure you that you won’t be disappointed.