Dave Wilkin, former UW student and founder of Redwood Strategic, is on a mission to give every student and young professional the advice they need to take their first step into the professional realm.
His newest venture, the Ten Thousand Coffees website, aims to connect students and recent graduates with what are referred to as “experts” and to give them a medium through which to arrange a meeting.
Experts are not just big media names and CEO’s either.
“Anybody can be an expert,” said Wilkin, “Even an intern or a senior university student, anyone who can help someone take their first step.”
The concept of “taking their first step” is essential to Ten Thousand Coffees. According to Wilkin, “the opportunities are limitless,” but the main goal is to help youth find their starting point.
Though Ten Thousand Coffees is a new take on a traditional medium of professional social networking, their goal goes beyond just arranging a few meetings.
“We noticed a big disconnect between companies and brands and the young people of today, Ten Thousand Coffees aims to connect young people to opportunities in a way that markets to them rather than at them,” Wilkin said.
Ten Thousand Coffees was inspired both by Wilkin’s own experiences and by feedback from the professional world.
“Major leaders would love to have coffee with young people,” said Wilkin. “We asked if we could democratize the idea of having coffee and they loved it.”
Although the name of the website clearly implies a face to face meeting over coffee, Wilkin encourages people to take advantage of any kind of method of conversation whether it be a phone call, a chat over coffee, or Skype call.
“It’s important for there to be a two-way dialogue. It’s a chance to get advice from experts, but it’s also a chance for the experts to hear what young people have to say.
“It’s a movement for every young person to show their amazing thoughts and ideas and share them with the world,” Wilkin said.
Ten Thousand Coffees currently features experts from the CEO of McDonalds, John Bett, to UW’s own Chris Hadfield, former commander of the International Space Station. Registration for students and experts alike is free.