Here at CenturyLink, we think small is big. Small businesses and nonprofits make a real difference in our communities. To celebrate them, we invited small businesses throughout the United States to participate in a sweepstakes with a chance to win one of five $1,000 gift cards. Now, it’s time to meet our winners and hear all about the important work they’re doing in their communities. Next up, let’s meet Satori Lai of One Colorado.
Introducing Satori Lai of One Colorado
Satori Lai, a recent Colorado transplant, first moved to the state for the outdoor activities, including the mountains, snowboarding, and car racing. She took a job as the administrative assistant at One Colorado, and it was her first foray into the nonprofit world.
One Colorado is the state’s leading advocacy organization for the LGBTQ movement and much of their work centers around health, equity, and policy. As a queer and trans person herself, Satori was drawn to the mission of One Colorado and how they drove change at a policy level. “I wanted to be a part of something like that,” Satori explained. “I wanted to be a part of an organization that actually helped people and drove social change.”
From the corporate world to the nonprofit sector
Satori hasn’t always worked in the nonprofit sector. In a past life, she worked as a project manager for a large corporation. But the job was stressful and didn’t align with her values. “I’ve always wanted to make a living doing good and contributing to society,” Satori said. One Colorado offered the opportunity to make a difference – even helping pass the Marriage Equality Act back in 2011. Even though the One Colorado team is a small team made up of just eleven staff members and a handful of interns, Satori said, “We’re a small team packing a big punch.”
Working in the nonprofit world has introduced Satori to some new challenges. “A lot of the challenges we nonprofits have is centered around funding and having the resources to go out and serve the mission,” Satori explained.
While there may be challenges, small businesses and nonprofits also have some major benefits. “The biggest benefit of a small business is how quickly they’re able to adapt and pivot,” Satori said. “When you make a process change, there’s lots of checks and balances you have to go through [in a large corporation]. With such a small team of, like, 10 to 11 people, you can pivot super quick.”
Technology and COVID-19
As with many nonprofits, the COVID-19 pandemic also threw a wrench in One Colorado’s fundraising. Due to restrictions, the One Colorado staff couldn’t hold in-person events or engage with their community in the ways they typically would. Across the board, One Colorado wasn’t able do as much because of the restrictions during the early stages of the pandemic.
Fortunately, when she first joined One Colorado, Satori introduced a lot of new technology to the team. “We invested a lot in equipment and software to kind of help us along as well. With such a small team and us needing to do a large amount of work or process a large amount of data, we look towards applications to do that,” Satori said.
The nonprofit did attempt virtual events, which worked in a pinch. However, due to social distancing, One Colorado couldn’t deliver the social events they were used to throwing. Since then, Satori shares that the nonprofit has rebounded. “We held a couple events, and we actually did phenomenal compared to the years prior,” Satori said. “Maybe it’s people itching to get out. But yeah, we did great this year.”
Remote work, on the other hand, was a lifesaver, according to Satori. “Technology is huge. You know, it’s not just for my organization, but every single business out there,” she said. “Remote work, technology, internet – those things all enabled our society to exist, for the most part.” It allowed for collaboration, which Satori said is key to a lot of their work.
What’s next for Satori and One Colorado
Satori always keeps an eye out for any funding opportunities that One Colorado can take advantage of. So when she saw the CenturyLink Small Business Sweepstakes, she entered it. As winners, the One Colorado team bought some equipment and had a small holiday staff appreciation event.
One Colorado has a lot of plans for the upcoming year. “We are working on big goals,” Satori said. Right now, the organization is planning and working on policy for upcoming legislative sessions. The organization will also continue to focus on LGBTQ issues, but they want to focus on making it intersectional. “We’re working on big picture goals and where we want to go as an organization. But you know, our focus on health equity and policy, it’s always there. Always in the front,” Satori said.
Satori also emphasizes that One Colorado’s work is not over. “The passing of the marriage equality act, you know, a lot of people think the fights over,” Satori explained. “I would say it’s not. I think we still need support from community. And we still need to even if nothing really happens, we still need to keep an eye out to be a watchdog.” With their work, One Colorado is focused on helping the community they serve.
Learn more about One Colorado
To learn more about the One Colorado and the work they do, please visit their website. There, you can check out their work, the policy and legislative issues they are working on, and any upcoming events.
The CenturyLink Small Business team would like to extend a warm and hearty congratulations to Satori and One Colorado. Thank you for entering the sweepstakes, and we can’t wait to see how your nonprofit grows. For more small business resources, please visit the Small Business Hub for articles like:
- Do I need a VPN for my small business?
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*Not a paid endorsement. One Colorado is not a CenturyLink customer but is a 2021 Small Business MTU Survey Sweepstakes Winner.