Getting the Expert Treatment
Alexi Braun, TAMID at Duke, is a current junior who recently completed her TAMID Fellowship with RightHear. The following is a reflection about the remote environment, working with Israelis and what it was like to work with a greater purpose in mind.
At my initial interview for RightHear, CEO Idan Meir made a rather profound statement: one that informed my decision to work there and has continued to stick with me.
The word ‘intern’ and ‘expert’ sound very familiar in the Hebrew language. At RightHear we prefer to use ‘expert’ when classifying our interns and TAMID Fellows, and therefore we will treat you like an expert if you join our team.
Little did I know that this mindset would become even more profound when TAMID announced that the summer 2020 Fellowship would be taking place remotely. With this new and unfamiliar context, how could I make a tangible impact on this company from thousands of miles away, especially as an intern? Could we make real progress, or would our new partnership be a bust?
Although it might come as a surprise, I can say with the utmost confidence that my fears and apprehension surrounding the remote style internship never once came to fruition—all thanks to RightHear and Idan Meir.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have worked as a Business Development Analyst at RightHear, especially given the jarring uncertainty in all facets of life at this moment in time. RightHear is an IoT startup that uses a three-part audible wayfinding technology to make public spaces more accessible to the blind, visually impaired, and any individual with orientation challenges. RightHear believes that inclusion starts with accessibility, and therefore the company’s goal is to make the world more accessible for everyone.
While the successful startup has already done great work throughout the entirety of Israel and across numerous countries, partnering with over 1,000 locations worldwide, this summer we were looking to expand further into the US. I was tasked with multiple projects that were designed to directly promote this goal, specifically focusing on larger metropolitan areas such as New York City. Each project revolved around the idea of RightHear’s expansion plan: the location’s growth rate metric. Essentially, we believe that we are playing in a “land-grabbing” game—the product with the most locations will ultimately become a market standard, which is the ultimate aim in order to make all public spaces accessible.
From my first task of preparing a slide deck about RightHear and giving a mock pitch to Idan, all the way to spearheading a deal with a multibillion-dollar fast-food chain, I was able to play an integral role on the RightHear Business Development team—even from 5,713 miles away. In between, most of my work this summer consisted of virtual event planning, investor research, recording video tutorials for each feature on the app to assist our blind users, creating a comprehensive list of alternate sales channels to help RightHear further expand their sales in New York, and much more.
However, by far the most successful project of mine throughout the summer is the currently ongoing deal with our prospective fast-food chain client. I was able to get real experience in a business development role, learning how to formulate a collaboration proposal, adjust the pricing accordingly, market PR materials, and develop raw negotiation skills through practice. This project has already created tangible output to build on for months or even years to come for both RightHear as a business and me as a professional. For that, I could not be more grateful.
Throughout this unorthodox remote summer internship, Idan’s flexibility allowed us to work together closely and make productive progress despite the trying circumstances. He and I were in constant communication about my projects, progress, and future tasks. Working at a startup company and in this environment, I realized the importance of flexibility and quality prioritization on the fly. It is not most important to stick with the original plan all of the time, but rather pivot when necessary to create the most efficient and successful results. Needless to say, the creativity involved here is key. RightHear’s visionary approach allowed me to develop and strengthen my creative forces more than I ever could have imagined. I began to truly picture a world where everyone could go anywhere independently, a world where everyone is more capable, confident and empowered. I believe so deeply in RightHear’s mission, especially when focusing on the social impact that the technology could have on the 39 million blind individuals across the globe. Pause, and think about that for a second. 39 million people. It is incredibly powerful.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation for Idan Meir, CEO, and all of the other team members, who continue to inspire me to work passionately each day and fight for RightHear’s mission, one that has my undeniable support. I would like to thank Idan for constantly creating a welcoming environment, allowing me to do such meaningful work during a crucial time for RightHear. I am eternally grateful for the unique work experience provided to me by both RightHear, all of which would not have been possible without the TAMID fellowship.
Thank you to Fellowship Director Shev Shatzman, Cohort Leader Jay Epstein, and the rest of the TAMID staff for what seemed like an effortless shift to a virtual Fellowship. While a remote internship is not what I originally expected when applying to the TAMID Fellowship, I am thankful for the way that it impacted me so deeply both professionally and personally, regardless of the trying circumstances. I look forward to taking the skills that I have learned and mastered this summer into each and every one of my future endeavors.