Margaret Furr

Strategist
Washington D.C.
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My name is Margaret Furr, and I am a lateral thinker with professional experience as a quantitative and qualitative researcher. As a creative researcher, I cherish opportunities to work for entrepreneurs and innovators, and I love people, big ideas, and patterns to unfold creative solutions and narratives throughout the globe. Since graduating from the University of Virginia, where I particularly loved applying lateral thinking to challenges at the intersection of the humanities and engineering, I have worked for entrepreneurs in Washington, DC, who founded EVERFI. I joined EVERFI because the company's commitment to building diverse and inclusive workplaces innovatively through online educational software. With EVERFI, I have worked on data management, exploratory statistical analysis, and white paper writing, and while working across teams to build a new data management framework, my manager complemented my knack for being innovative, which led me to explore how to cultivate creative thinking skills outside of work. Outside of work, I have enjoyed cultivating creative thinking skills through photography, blog writing, trend tracking, book reading, and quotation collecting. I have also enjoyed working on design and systems research projects, developing con􀃖ict resolution and communications strategies for a theatre group, and learning about India as an America India Foundation committee member and Gandhi Memorial Center visitor.

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Work Experience
Compass Pro Bono
Interviewer
Oct 2016 – Present
Everfi
Data Analyst
Apr 2016 – Present
Everfi
White Paper Writer
Oct 2016 – Present
University
University of Virginia
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Vouched by
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You should select me because

Experiences in which I have demonstrated an entrerpeneurial skillset and a love for international work makes me the best candidate for an opportunity with WGI. I am committed to bringing my full soul to work where I can appreciate paradoxes, connect deeply with people to influence the design of systems, and combine the "poetic with the pragmatic" ([COLLINS](https://www.wearecollins.com/about/)).At the [University of Virginia](http://www.virginia.edu/), I began growing into a multidimensional being and developing a focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, and global perspectives apart from taking the standard classes across History and Data Science departments. A class on the History of Entrepreneurship, with students from both the engineering and the history departments, helped me the most to launch a career in studying entrepreneurs and practicing innovation while bridging perspectives across the departments in other classes. Meanwhile, experience living and leading at the International Residential College after studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina expanded my heart for global cultures and languages; and I brought my love for international work and photography into a project in the entrepreneurship class by creating a personal shield that reveals my personal mission both to support "unity in diversity" and to appreciate paradoxes in life.Once I graduated from the university and moved to Washington, DC, I continued the creative journey by working with [EVERFI](https://everfi.com/), a high growth educational technology company. Working for an entrepreneur is not easy; working for a company before founders receive series C and D investments is much different than working in consulting or a well-established business. Through bridging perspectives across Research and Engineering departments and bringing previous experience in applying the iterative systems design process, I creatively laid the groundwork for data processing on my team with full force and applied lateral thinking to the job with high energy. This hands-on, experience with a company that is scaling positions me well to move forward into the professional world of hybrid thinking with the World's Greatest Internship.Outside of work, I have taken advantage of opportunities to broaden my drive to share with the world a love for seeing everything differently. I hacked the gender pay gap at the White House with a group of designers and technologists and loved creating an innovative plan for how to develop not only a survey platform but also a business culture to promote the well-being of women in the workforce. I have also broadened a love for the intersection of art and science by further developing photography skills, supporting theatre arts organizations, and reading about the "experience economy" in which every business should be staged like a theatre. I think I have the smartness to build things, as Andrew Wang, an expert in entrepreneurship writes in his book, "Smart People Should Build Things", and I think I'd be a good intern with this smartness and drive.Professional experience in working with people globally further makes me the best candidate for WGI's partners' needs. I spent a summer interning in Dublin, Ireland for a startup, and I've been working on data projects with friends living in India, in another time zone. Adapting quickly to new environments and working well with people from diverse timezones and cultures that speak different languages lead to success as one of the World's Greatest interns, and I know that I demonstrate these abilities.

1. Why are you interested in wgi?

I am interested in working as one of the WGI interns because I love applying multidisciplinary, multicultural thinking. I love being "a frankenstein of designer, entrepreneur, strategist, inventor, artist, and data scientist", and I would love to co-invent with creative people throughout the world while adding stamps to a passport. Both at the University of Virginia in History, Media Studies, and Data Science departments, and at [EVERFI ](https://everfi.com/) when working cross-functionally with Research, Engineering, and Marketing teams, I have demonstrated multidisciplinary thinking and multi-faceted learning. Some people like my supervisors at [EVERFI ](https://everfi.com/) believe in professionals developing expertise in a specialized area; I face challenges when I highly specialize, and I prefer to be an expert in problem solving and innovating through multidisciplinary thinking. While I have a few years of experience working and am already out of college, I think I could be a great addition to the team of interns as a multidimensional being. By studying in Buenos Aires, living in the International Residential College at UVA, interning for a summer in Dublin, committing to diverse cultures with [EVERFI ](https://everfi.com/), and collaborating with a data analyst in India while also growing involved with the [America India Foundation](https://aif.org/) in Washington, DC, I have demonstrated a passion for thinking multilculturally. When people ask about my professional goals, I have had hopes in heart, mind, and soul to do more work internationally, so I think the World's Great Internship would be a great way to move professionally in the international direction. Finally, I relate to the term "a frankenstein of designer, entrepreneur, strategist, inventor, artist, and economist" as someone who has loved working for entrepreneurs, conducting design research, volunteering on strategic alignment consulting projects with organizations in the arts sector, completing data science assignments, writing, and taking pictures. I have strong vision with clear images often coming to me mentally, which I think is a great skill for the field of innovation, and I'd love to contribute all of my talents to the World's Greatest Internship program.

2. What are you looking to gain from an experience such as WGI?

Through an experience such as WGI, I am looking to gain experience in the art of living and working. I think working in different countries for six months where managers encourage hybrid thinking is the perfect place to gain this experience. Connecting with people globally, where it's possible to connect deeply and authentically with humans from diverse backgrounds supports me in launching a life artfully. I hope to gain experience in being creative, free thinking, and spontaneous, yet responsible while adapting to new environments. Also through WGI, I hope to gain more experience, where leaders and managers encourage young professionals to apply and develop hybrid thinking. I would love to work with some of WGI's partners to create brands and experiences at the speed of change and apply an understanding of technology, a love for colorful imagination, and an interest in developing strategies and frameworks. I would love to gain experience in bringing a variety of skills in writing, data science, design and systems researcher, systems prototyping, photography, futures thinking, and strategy and framework development to "weave the pragmatic with the poetic" in the world ([COLLINS](https://www.wearecollins.com/about/)).

3. What would be your goals after completing WGI if you were selected?

After completing WGI, if selected, I hope to work in innovation consulting at a place like [IDEO](https://www.ideo.com/) or work at a growth company like [The Assemblage](https://www.theassemblage.com/) that is expanding internationally in product management, community engagement, and strategic alignment. If I need further business education to reach these goals, I hope to attend a business program that supports focusing in entrepreneurship, arts management, design for business, and global management. I think that WGI supports reaching these goals in that it will give me a greater sense of where I can specialize within innovation, and it will help me to gain international experience needed to help creative companies expand globally.

4. How did you hear about wgi?

I learned about WGI through an advertisement for the internship on Instagram that targeted creative, lateral thinkers. (my Instagram username is [megmfurr](https://www.instagram.com/megmfurr/)).

5. Share an example of a time you were most motivated and a time you were most demotivated.

As a data analyst with [EVERFI](https://everfi.com/), my manager assigned to me a major project that involved developing an approach to wrangle data in R in order to deliver up to 560 insights per online educational program, for up to 450 colleges and universities; in total, my supervisor asked me to manipulate data in a way so that I could help produce up to 2,000 statistical insights for all of the executve summaries. The process of computing these data points challenged me, but over the first two years with the company, I iteratively improved the process through what I had learned during a systems prototyping and design thinking internship. As I did research on code, tools, and techniques that support creating an effective approach to data management, I was more motivated than ever in my life to solve a problem for a team. I had so much energy and focus around improving how I structured code, building a framework for all the functions I created, and storing the code in a git repository. As time progressed with [EVERFI](https://everfi.com/), and as I gained more experience on the project my supervisor assigned to me, I found other ways to grow through task, project, and knowledge management; however, I began to feel demotivated and my energy level decreased. Even though I felt demotivated, I kept persisting, but I used the feeling to recognize that it was time to move onto other types of work and to expand professionally for the higher good in a new way. I began to move onto professional and personal development activities like reading, meditating, blog writing, photography, and design and systems research.

6. In your opinion, what creates a great culture at a company?

I think that qualities expressed through the people, an appreciation for diverse perspectives within a company, and strong relationships with the community create a great culture that supports prosperity. Particular qualities that help to develop a thriving culture that everyone enjoys contributing to are (1) committedness, (2) originality, (3) systematic, and (4) accepting. (1) A great work environment requires people to commit to their work and their team(s); without committed employees, the jobs won't be done with high quality, and harmonious support for one another on teams won't exist. Apart from committing to teams, people must commit to bonding outside of regular work. (2) On a collective level, the best companies must also stand out through originality while meeting the needs of people their serving; if companies are all just alike, and not artistic enough, then they won't stand out from the crowd. On an individual level, without creative approaches to work, people won't make improvements to the work being done. (3) A shining workplace must be systematic. There must be a method behind the madness, and without scientific ways of meeting needs and producing work, it won't be done effectively, and people will grow demotivated. (4) Finally, the best culture includes and promotes people who are accepting. Without accepting people at a heart-to-heart level, then it's challenging for people to speak up, feel like they belong, and share their good ideas. Apart from these four qualities, a top culture is created by including people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse perspectives and creating high quality connections with community members. Without appreciation for diversity, there will exist a homogeny of similar traits, approaches, and viewpoints; with appreciation for diversity, there exist more opportunities for people to learn from one another and grow through transformative friction between differences in beliefs and worldviews. And without authentic connections between the company's brand and the community members, there's no deep experience being shared between employees and those effected by the work.

7. What brands and companies do you admire and why?

Brands and companies that I admire most are [Roots](https://www.roots.com/us/en/homepage), [The Assemblage](https://www.theassemblage.com/), [Airbnb](https://www.airbnb.com/), and [Apple](https://www.apple.com/). What I love about the brand of [Roots](https://www.roots.com/us/en/homepage) is that the branding connects not only customers but others on the street with their natural, true selves. I had never heard of the brand before walking by the store in Georgetown, and I still would never choose to buy their products; yet I feel refreshed and also compelled to think about my natural and spiritual roots whenever I pass their storefront. It's evident through their branding that they connect people with "the best of cabin-life and city-life so" that people "can be [theirselves] "no matter where [they] are" as stated on the company's website. I have been admiring [The Assemblage](https://www.theassemblage.com/), a newer entrepreneurial company for a while. It's interesting how the founder experienced such a strong spiritual awakening, leading him to move from highly analytical work to more out-of-the-box, spiritual work. The company I think is exciting because they are developing a space for building community, sharing ideas, living together, and working on creative, high impact projects in a space where people center their lives around spirituality. [Airbnb](https://www.airbnb.com/) persists to be another great brand that connects people to being free, spontaneous in connecting with people, and enjoying life's journeys anywhere. It's easy to use their product, and the work the company has done and continues to do has made me feel comforted whenever I've shared a place to stay with someone. Finally, [Apple](https://www.apple.com/), a favorite of many, will never stop attracting me with it's slick design, bright colors, and knack for making humans' experiences with technology and its sales professionals smooth.

8. What do you do to stay sharp and improve your craft?

To stay mentally sharp and clear, I love meditating and community engagement. I have been attending meditation classes routinely, and doing this helps me to stay mentally peaceful and alert. According to the place where I meditate, "executives who meditate at work report less stress, increased focus, and more productivity" so it's a great way to stay present ([Take Five Meditation](https://takefivemeditation.com/)). Apart from meditating, I love engaging with the community and interacting with people in wholesome ways because this strengthens my outlook on the world and my mood; after engaging with the community in a positive way, I feel more connected and mentally sharp at work. To improve my craft, I read and volunteer on projects outside of work. Reading supports slowing down thinking and leading the mind into the land of ideas and mental concepts, which helps me be creative, especially when working on writing, thought leadership, trend watching, or entrepreneurial projects. Volunteering on projects in the community on nights and weekends helps to learn how to use new analytical methods, tools, or techniques, which can strengthen the approach to a craft day to day. I've volunteered on a few projects with data science, strategic consulting, and design organizations, which have helped me to learn new and better approaches to problems that I can apply in my day to day work.

9. What’s your favorite quote?

My favorite quote since 2016 has been "Where art, technology, or science alone cannot solve problems, the combination of the three is perhaps the most powerful of all." The quote is from a book by Daniel J. Levitin on Information Overload.

10. If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

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