Volunteer Spotlight: A Perspective on Renaissance From Two International Volunteers

By Genessa Kealoha

Two extraordinary interns were drawn to Renaissance, inspired by our work with local entrepreneurs. We got a look into why they came to Renaissance and what they plan to do next.

Xhorxha Nikolli (pronounced Georgia) is from Albania and has a Bachelors in Psychology and a background in social justice. Before coming to the US she worked with Global Care Albania, assisting low-income women and families. She volunteered with Renaissance from June-December 2016.

Photo Courtesy of Carlos Muller

Carlos Muller came to Renaissance through the Global Training Program, an internship sponsored by the Spanish Government. His role as Development and Evaluation Intern began in January 2017 and will last through July 2017. He has a Masters degree in Executive Development and has worked with Dannon and Ernst and Young in Spain.


What drew you to Renaissance?

XN: I found Renaissance through a friend who came to a Renaissance Women’s Network event. I did some research and really liked the mission, especially helping others. I have a background in nonprofits so it was a good fit.

CM: I came with the Global Training Program through the Spanish Government for six months. It’s the same program that Renaissance’s Impact Data Associate-Manager, Jon Jimenez came through. They pay for the internship and let me choose from a variety of companies anywhere in the world. I liked Renaissance’s nonprofit mission of entrepreneurship. Helping other people become economically independent is great. People need it here – it’s crazy the rent is so high!

Photo Courtesy of Xhorxha Nikolli

What has stood out to you about your experience at Renaissance?

XN: I now have a clearer image of what success looks like. I loved reading and writing the client stories. They were very successful, though everyone measures success differently. I got to see what it takes and it was eye-opening. Patience, hard work and good communication are important.

CM: That the help we’re giving is really helpful! Not only the one-on-one consultations, but the courses are great. You learn a lot and you really develop your idea towards success. Taking the Lean Startup class was great. The professors were very good. The six-week course began with startup and value proposition, followed by marketing, finance and student presentations.


What do you plan to do next?

XN: I have lots of plans. I want to make my own story of success and hard work. I eventually want to start my own Albanian shoe business. I want to start the business to provide a more rewarding workplace for all the women I was working with in Albania. They are massively underpaid, receiving 20 cents per pair of shoes which are sold for hundreds of euros.

CM: Next steps after the Internship: I want to build my own business selling backpacks and outdoor apparel, but first I would love to get some great experience and learn from the best companies: Patagonia, North Face… It’s very difficult to match an opportunity, but I will try as hard as I can!


Carlos and Xhorxha remind us that the entrepreneurial spirit and the drive to help others succeed is something people share across the world. We wish them the best in their next chapters wherever they may land.