Scaling Impact

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E56: Strategies for Building Sustainable Partnerships: A Discussion with DreamSpring

In this episode, Community Engagement Officers from DreamSpring, Shaundra, and Meghan, share insights on the importance and impact of community engagement in small business growth. They discuss strategies for effective outreach, trust-building, and partner stewardship. The hosts also highlight the benefits of partnerships and the significance of investing in relationships for long-lasting success. Additionally, they touch on measuring impact and taking care of oneself and their ecosystem while growing a business.

Join Shaundra Jacobs and Meghan Rauker on this episode as they share their remarkable career journeys. Shaundra’s experience spans roles at AT&T, Lyft, and BakerRipley, leading to her current position as a Community Engagement Officer at DreamSpring, where she fosters relationships to support entrepreneurs. Meghan’s expertise lies in strategic communications, program management, and business development, showcased through her roles at PeopleFund and as a Business Development Lead at TÁPI Story. Together, they offer invaluable insights into community engagement, nonprofit organizations, and business growth strategies. Here are a few of the topics we’ll discuss on this episode of Scaling Impact:

  • Community engagement is about long-term and sustainable outcomes, building relationships, and meeting the needs of priority populations such as minority entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs, and veterans.
  • Engaging effectively with communities involves asking why and offering services of value, being location-based, and using technology effectively. Consistency and genuineness are also essential.
  • Building sustainable partnerships involves asking directly, “What do you need?”
  • Regular touchpoints and checking in with partners can pay off down the line.
  • Partnerships can help solve similar challenges and complement each other’s roles.
  • Community engagement is a vital part of small business growth.
  • The company is rapidly expanding and offers a monthly entrepreneurial resource newsletter called Springboard.


Connecting with Shaundra Jacobs and Meghan Rauker: 

Connecting with Sean Boyce:


  • 03:33 – “Money is not always the answer. It is more to educate and empower people to be able to start a small business, be entrepreneurs and sustain themselves and their family, create generational wealth. That is our goal with this engagement role.”
  • 17:36 – “I just love to see it in a chart form and say, oh look at all these people I’ve connected with and let me see exactly where my, you know, how I’ve interacted and engaged with people. So that’s how HubSpot does help us. That’s our little way. And then we do have other things like Domo that’ll show exactly the impact, and it pulls it into charting and shows you how many people you’ve impacted and all of that.”
  • 08:28 – “That’s the other trick I’d also add to organizations, if you can find other people who have titles like community engagement or community manager in their role, they’re much more likely to respond to you. And it’s also really great to have like a peer in that space if that’s your job. And you’re just kind of starting to navigate that space.”
  • 24:12 – “So kindness goes a really long way in connecting with people even after they’ve left the organization. Especially if you get along, and you’re passionate about the same things goes a super long way. Again, it’s a long game, a super, super long game, it’s a marathon for sure. You have to make sure you take care of yourself and the people in your ecosystem while you’re doing it.”
  • 24:36 – “You want to invest in these relationships and the more you invest in them, the more likely you’re to get out of it as well too. As such, the community benefits as well. So I love the partnership angle for a whole bunch of reasons. Just great to be able to kind of grow together, find folks who are trying to solve also similar challenges, and maybe they play a complimentary role to what it is that you may be doing as such. You can grow together, right? Rising tide raises all ships kind of thing”