Do you want to make a difference? Robyn Mussler is the founder of the award-winning youth program, Connect IT 360. Connect IT 360 is a non-profit organization that teaches youth the essential building blocks to life. Robyn was inspired by her sister Susie, who had Down Syndrome. The purpose of the program was to create a place where everyone has the opportunity for a brighter future. The team of Connect IT 360 is passionate about developing the community by guiding future creators and leaders of tomorrow. This highly interactive program has children and teens learning powerful techniques to develop their skills. Learn more about how Connect It 360 helps children succeed by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS. More from UpMyInfluence How much authority do YOU have? Take our quiz and find out! Don’t forget to check out our other podcast, Authority Confidential, here. UpMyInfluence is an Influence Agency dedicated to turning thoughtful entrepreneurs into media celebrities increasing their authority, influence and revenue. To learn how we can help YOU check out Josh’s free webinar. Connect With Us Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn 0:00 Welcome to the thoughtful entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, founder and CEO of up my influence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go. Well, Robyn Mussler, you are the founder and president of Connect It 360 and the CEO Resolution Management. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for having me. So Robyn, you have a wonderful after school program. You're just down the road in Tampa. I mean, up here in Orlando, and I wish what you were doing was available right now at my kids school. Can you explain what Connect It 360 is, 1:01 sir. So Connect It 360 is a nonprofit that the focus is in helping kids develop the essential skills to be successful. And so the main program that implements is an award-winning program. That is, it's a seven-month program. It's an after school, and kids get together in teams of three to five. And so they have an idea that a problem they want to solve and identify who their targeted customer is. And then through the seven-month program, we actually have business mentors from the local community like Tech Data, Raymond James Nielsen malware, bytes, you know, people with their expertise, helping them, teach them these essential skills that are not being taught in school today and allow them to develop that product. Were giving them real-world experience and ability to pitch their product to turn it into a viable product that is marketable. 2:10 Now thinking about our economy, and where we're headed over the next 1020 years, Robin, why is this so important? 2:19 Um, this is so important, because you know, our kids are geniuses, they really are. If you think about it, they've been brought up in this world of 24, seven Information and Technology. And so it's really allowing them to just explore with that creative thinking and their creativity, to then be able to help develop those products and services that are going to sustain us in the future. So it's really kind of survival, right? is asking those questions of how can we do this better because when we are solving a problem, we're actually creating Other ones. So with all the disruption that exists in the world today, in every single industry, we need, you know, forever learners, and creative thinkers that are going to help us transverse through all of these challenges and obstacles in through this transformation. 3:19 So this is a passion project for you. So, Robyn, you're already independently successful with your- with your own consulting firm. What prompted you to start this nonprofit? And if you don't mind, like, how does it work? I mean, how does- you know the GUI? Obviously, it's a labor of love for you, but how do you get the business of your nonprofit to work 3:46 there? So we're right now in our infancy so one of the things is we really are looking for corporate sponsorships, right. If you look at what corporations spend in recruiting and training of their employees, it really is a nominal fee to invest in our kids. So I'm a couple things right is I'm on the career and board for finance Education Foundation, and that's kind of where this whole prob program evolved, is I was asked to be a judge in a, in a tech competition. And when we saw what was submitted, we're like, you know, we were kind of surprised. So, um, I, I talked to the President of the finance Education Foundation, and I said, you know, this really isn't relevant to our industry. And if the goal is to really help our kids, gain the skills and be prepared to be in the technology in the industry, then we have to do things a little bit better. And so that's kind of where it all happened. I was one of those where I just built it and they came, right so I put together how we do things in the industry, and then put that out there. And it was just a huge success. But another thing that I learned that first year was that, although it was a huge success, we identified that these kids really were not getting an education in the different skills that are really essential to being successful in the technology industry. So at the time, I looked at the mentors, and we said, you know, what, if they're not getting it in education, then since we are a bad industry, it's up to us to help them because it's our industry, right? And so that's kind of how it evolved. And so it won best student tech program of Tampa Bay in 2016. Well, my business community came to me and they said, you know, what, Robin, other communities need to benefit from this. And I said that's great. You know, I'd love to do it. And so I asked the finance foundation if they wanted to partner and they said, you know, our folks, we love the program and what it's coming for kids, but our focus is really Pinellas. And I said, Okay, well, then I'm going to start a nonprofit and be able to take it outside of Pinellas. So then other communities can benefit from it. And so right now we are in our infancy, we do need corporate sponsorship, we need forward thinkers in the educational system that are open-minded to have a program like this, you know, it's a personalized project-based program that really allows the kids to flourish and grow and get those skills that are going to make them successful in the real world. 6:37 You know, just given what I know about ours and I know there's a term for it, right? We're looking at not enough kids are getting the tech education to meet the demand for the future. So I think as you know, especially to anybody is listening to our conversation who You know, believes in the future of our economy and knows that- you know, things are currently more and more geared toward a goal economy and a digital economy. What are some ways that the average person can participate and support? Either programs like this support you or violent? You know, find volunteer opportunities, any recommendations there? 7:28 Yeah. So I would say reach out to me in connect 360. I will tell you so, you know, what people think is that, oh, if technology is it's own vertical, and you know, in some cases it is, but really, if you look at it, all businesses are tech businesses, right? We need everybody has a technical tool kit that they need to help them be successful. What a lot of people don't realize is that tech tool kit is in these kid's heads, right? It's helping them really just bring it out and allow us to, you know, develop that more to be successful. So, you know, you might say, for example, I'm in finance or in construction or cosmetology, those kind of things that oh, you know why they would not be able to participate in that? Well, that's actually not true, right? Because the focus of this program is the customer value in the experience. So we are showing the- the involvement of how you know, the business side of it, how important they are and the contribution that they make. So for example, when these kids are forming these teams, they have kids of varying skill sets to emulate just like what we do in the real world. 8:52 Wow, that's great. That's great. Now, I would imagine, you know, as you know, again, you're professional, you've got a for-profit company. You know, I've actually, you know, participating and volunteering in nonprofit efforts is actually a really great networking tool. Yes. Have you experienced this? 9:14 Well, it's kind of funny that you say that, right, because that's actually how you got into this. So, you know, through volunteering in the Pinellas Education Foundation, that's actually how this all evolved. And I will tell you, as far as it was recommended to me to, you know, to really load your network that you should go out and volunteer, and I believe in that for two reasons, right. So it is a really good way to network but I also feel that it is our responsibility to give back and so you know, there's been people behind me I need to go and be behind others. So you know, the cycle just continues. 9:55 Yeah, you know, that's, you know, it's kind of interesting up my influence. So my company here. I mean, it grew completely out of me volunteering in our local startup community, and just doing pro bono mentoring workshops, that sort of thing. I happened to learn a few things about getting in the media. And so just by volunteering, that was my visibility. And it's kind of serve until you kind of gain your chops and your notoriety and- and, you know, look out some new opportunities can come absolute out doing good. So, well, this is great Robin. So connect it 360 is on the web. It's connect it 360 dot org, and what lies ahead for connected 360 for the next couple years. 10:45 Sure. So um, we actually, we're kicking off our fifth season so this is our fifth year. I cannot believe it in Pinellas County, but we also are looking to get into the Tampa Bay area. So, if we're not in Hillsborough this year, which there's a slight chance, we will be there next year. And so our goal is to actually infiltrate across Florida, to be able to benefit all other communities to be able to have these types of programs to serve both the education system and the business community. So bringing together 11:24 that's great, well, Robyn Mussler, you are the founder, president of Connect It 360 are also the CEO of Resolution Management Inc. So thank you so much for joining us. 11:35 Thank you so much for having me. 11:38 Thanks for listening to the thoughtful entrepreneur show. 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