Peace Corps is a life-defining leadership experience. Volunteers live, learn, and work with a community overseas for 27 months, providing assistance in a variety of programs areas, including business and information and communication technology. Peace Corps helps encourage economic opportunities, create income-generating activities, and strengthen infrastructure in communities overseas. Volunteers bring diverse experience and educational backgrounds to their assignments, ranging from experienced business leaders and MBA’s to recent college graduates. I really wanted to apply the things I learned in college and economics and finance to a more global scale, and I really have an experience that is memorable in a sense. Almost all of my work has been in the artisinal sector, working with the basket weavers such as we have here and leather shoe workers in my own town. The leather shoes, it’s an intricate process. They do everything in-house from the soles to the tops of the shoes to the intricate designs on the shoes. A lot of what I’ve tried to help them with is management, trying to be a little more efficient with their work because as it is they cannot meet their demands. Their workshop is pretty small and constrained. Trying to get them to be more efficient in their production management has been a big goal of mine in working with them. A lot of the work I’ve done has been with my work partner, teaching him how to use google documents or using email more effectively. Working with Peace Corps Volunteer Oliver Gains, who worked on a lot of excel documents that have allowed the shoemakers to increase their knowledge of computers and business concepts. The order form that Oliver helped them work with will allow them to keep better track of their orders over the upcoming years. The clientele that Oliver has brought in through word of mouth and internet contacts will have a lasting effect on the workshop. My primary assignment here in the Peace Corps is working as a part-time computer teacher, so that entails basic software classes, some theory on hardware, troubleshooting. Already I’ve seen some of my graduated students finding jobs. They can go out into the job market and say, “Hey, I can do this.” You know, I was working in the in the finance industry, right, so I was working with a lot of business skills, which can be applied here when I’m working with coffee farmers for instance, when we’re talking about how to market our coffee and how we can maximize our profits from the crops that we have. Or with the beekeepers that I work with, again how can we find better markets to sell our honey? So these are all the basic business skills that I learned in business school, and I’ve carried over from my job to Peace Corps. I’ve been invited to be a foreign member on a supervisory commission for a multi-million dollar World Bank loan that supplies agriculture loans to farmers, and basically we met with the Ministry of Finance with the Chairman of the Azerbaijan Credit Union Association and the credit implementing agency for the government, and we’re trying to find new ways that will provide better funding to farmers and to livestock owners so they can use this money and be able to pay it back. To find out more about serving overseas as Peace Corps Volunteer, please visit peacecorps.gov.