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THRIVE Participant Perspective--Podium RVA

Our Third Cohort of THRIVE: An Accelerator for Social Good, facilitated with our partners at The Spark Mill, began in early September. Each week, we'll bring you the perspective of a participating nonprofit and share a little about their organization.

Podium RVA

What are you hoping to get out of this program?

Vicki Yeroian, Executive Director: Our big problem is overall lack of community awareness. We wanted to create a comprehensive outreach strategy.

Jeff Payne, Board Member: ...And we wanted a little bit of networking.

What did you learn, or feel spoke to you about today?

Jeff: It brought a lot of clarity to everything we’ve been working on. Today was the first day that felt like all the blocks were starting to stack and come together.

Jennie Wood, Board Member: We identified our stakeholders and what they expect from us. The step after that was, what do we expect from them? It was an interesting way to look at that.

Vicki: How do we build a strategy to create that reciprocal relationship? It was a great meeting today. Getting time to start to build out what our pitch looks like [for Demo Day] was helpful.

Jeff: Clearly defined expectations to make the relationship more symbiotic, was eye opening for me. I had never looked at that way.

Tell us about your experience in the program.

Vicki: One component I find really fantastic is having the structure of staff and board together. We’re able to effectively create the strategy as an organization and have board buy-in already. A sixth of our board is leading this initiative.

Jennie: We knew a lot of this. Clarifying with others in a group and putting it on paper has been valuable.

Jeff: Being a new board member, I learned a lot more about my own organization.

How do you see this applying to your organization?

Vicki: We just finished a three-year strategic plan, and with that came goals in communication and strategy. After this cohort, we can look at our goals, and can actually create the strategy that we came here to build. It’s alleviating--before, it seemed like such a big task. We know the components, we know the metrics--okay, we can build this.

Jennie: We’ve gotten to better define our audiences and the different messages for each.

Aerin Mills, Communications Manager: I’ve already started implementing some of the communications strategies we've discussed.

Vicki: For some of the tools we were using, we can reanalyze if they're the most effective tools for our specific audience targeted messaging.

Jeff: I’ve built a relationship with Aerin, which is helpful since I’m going to help focus on outreach and social media and getting in front of corporate and new audiences. And expectation management.

Vicki: And what the needs of those audiences are. In youth workforce preparedness and development--let’s make sure we know what their needs are.

Jeff: Our communications strategy is going to have to be comprehensive but also fluid--social media dynamics change, the workforce industry changes, the market changes

Jennie:...And people change.


Podium RVA’s mission is to empower underserved youth, ages 10 – 19, in Greater Richmond with the skills to be confident and capable writers, communicators, and leaders to succeed in school, career, and life. Podium annually serves over 300 youth in over 400 hours of free programming.


The THRIVE accelerator program provides an opportunity for nonprofits to look beyond current challenges and obstacles and plan out a direct and streamlined path forward. Organizations will tackles a specific hurdle they want to clear to get to the next level of impact with the community and will spend concentrated time with staff and board planning and executing real-time solutions with guided facilitation. We will utilize accelerator techniques to build a cohort-responsive program.

THRIVE was created through collaboration between

The Collaboratory of Virginia and The Spark Mill.

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