Pat’s Place

Behailu Academy

Hi! Our feature Charlotte nonprofit introduction for this week is Lori Krzeszewski of Behailu Academy.

I had the opportunity to sit down and learn more about who she is and everything she’s doing with Behailu Academy and I’ll tell you now… I’m fanboying hard over here. We share a common passion and that’s education especially for those who are at an age where having someone to guide them can be what makes or breaks their success in life. Lori is definitely awesome.

I highly recommend that everyone takes a moment to learn more about Behailu. These kind of programs are essential to the success of our youth and also our city. I asked her five questions. Joanne Spataro asked one.

What are you most passionate about?

In general I think I’m most passionate about making a difference in the world and making our community be a better place. It’s kind of a social justice thing in making sure that everyone gets a shot at the life they want to live and helping them do that through education and support. Social justice and inequality are really important to the work I do and who I am as a person.

What frustrates you?

What really gets at my core, I would have to say misperception. Maybe stereotypes. Maybe even a better way of saying it is close mindedness when people see our students or they hear what we’re doing. You don’t have to believe the things I believe or think the things I think but when you’re not willing to think about or even entertain anything other than your own point of view makes me insane. Because there’s so much more out there. It makes me insane. It also makes me really sad because you’re just shutting out so much and so many and that’s just infuriating. Unfortunately there’s a lot of close mindedness in the world and it doesn’t get us any further along.

If you had visitors in Charlotte for one day where would you take them?

I love walking. I love going place to place so we’d probably do a little start in Southend and maybe go have a beer and some food at Common Market. Then maybe walk down through Romere Bearden park. If there was a baseball game maybe do that. Watch a soccer game over at Hooligans. I would take them to the small local places that I love. We would definitely walk or bike.

If I gave you $10,000 right now what would you do with it?

I can spend it however I wanted? I would probably put it in a bank account that I couldn’t touch until I had two or three months of time where I could use it to travel abroad and I would probably make that $10,000 stretch. I could probably make that stretch for like a year and half abroad. Yeah, that’s what I would do. My heart is definitely in South East Asia. I’ve spent some time living there and I miss my friends and people back there. I think I would start out there and I would love to backpack around that region and make my way.

What’s missing from Charlotte

I would say in general what’s missing are opportunities are spaces for authentic interactions among groups that are diverse. Whether that’s on the basis of race, gender, socioeconomic status, Charlotte in general is segregated on so many levels. I think that we are definitely evolving but when I moved here from Pittsburgh I was shocked by how segregated we are and it bothers me. That for me is a huge missing piece.

Joanne asked if you could be any food what would you be and why?

I think I’d have to be some kind of spicy curry with lots of vegetables. For some reason I feel like that’s who I am. You have your foundation, the rice that everyone eats that goes with anything. Then you have these different vegetables that you can bring in. That just kind of resonates with me most because I know that I’m not for everyone and I don’t want to be for everyone and I’m ok with that.


You can find Lori making things happen over at Behailu Academy or on Twitter @lorikrzeszewski.

Carolina Raptor Center

Hi! Meet Robert of Carolina Raptor Center. CRC is dedicated to environmental stewardship and the conservation of birds of prey through education, research, and the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned raptors. I had the opportunity to sit with Robert, learn more about CRC, his interest in organic gardening and how he wishes everyone would just slow down a bit and appreciate the small things. I wish I had scheduled our meeting to be a bit longer. He’s awesome.

Robert is also sharing the photo with his favorite raptor over at CRC, “Pishi” (short for “Pishimatakoa,” meaning rainbow in Comanche). Pishi is a King Vulture, the largest of the new world vulture species. King Vultures are native to Central and South America, from southern Mexico to Argentina.

Make sure you check out the bottom of the Q&A. I’ve attached to flyers to the CRC’s upcoming events. They both sound awesome.

What is your passion?

I’m going to say the outdoors. That’s why I love working at the Raptor Center. I love being outside. My biggest thing right now is I’m really into organic gardening. Imagine in uptown I have about this much space {measures about 2×5 feet with hands} and I’m doing my own gardening. I have tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers of all different varieties and I had a watermelon that didn’t make it. A little disappointed about that. I grew up gardening with my grandparents and my dad so that was always one of my favorite things to do. It got me in touch with the earth. It got me outside and got me doing a little bit of work. Anything outdoors is really where I want to be.

What frustrates you?

That’s a hard question. I’m not easy to phase. I guess the one thing that really gets me, at least here in Charlotte is that people are so busy that they don’t take time for the small things in life. I’m glad that Charlotte does still have a little bit of it’s small southern charm but I’m starting to feel like people are just running, running, running and they’re started to miss the small things. Things as simple as smiling as people passing by and saying hello. I grew up in a small town in the South so I always appreciated knowing everyone in the neighborhood and talking with them. Not everybody takes that time these days.

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Don’t rush it. Ten years ago I thought my career would not be where it is. I didn’t think I’d be living in Charlotte. I was so quick to model my life after my friends because they were all about being successful and getting stressful corporate job. I was really stressed out about not being at that place in my life and that was right out of school. So I was in such a hurry to be that alpha successful person and I’m glad I took it a little slower because now I’ve come to appreciate where I am in life. I never would’ve gotten into non-profit work if I hadn’t have taken the path that I would and I don’t believe I would’ve been happy.

If I gave you $10,000 right now what would you do with it?

Phew. What can I do with ten grand? I’d probably take half of it and give it the Raptor Center for a really cool need. That sounds a little contrived but I’m not really sure what I would do with it. I mean I’d probably go on a really awesome trip. I’ve never been to Italy and Greece. Those are the two places I’d really like to go and funny enough I’ve had trips booked there twice and had to cancel both of those trips. I’d probably make that happen.

Scott Lundgren asked you to describe your perfect day.

My perfect day? So I’d wake up in the morning and I get to meet five new people that day. I love meeting new people. Going to work and doing my desk job can be fun but the biggest thing I like to do in my day is get out and go meet with new donors. Really figure out why they support this organization. I think if I could do that five fold I’d be very successful. Otherwise just going to the gym, get a yoga class in and have an amazing dinner with a really nice bottle of wine.

Christie Kahil asked who do you look up to and why?

There are so many people I could pick. I would have to say Chase Law. She’s over at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Before that Discovery Place. Chase is an amazing mother. She is a kickass development professional. She knows what she’s doing. She always has strategy behind what she is doing. She gets to know people really well and she’s just a mover and a shaker in the community. She’s awesome.

You can find Robert making things happen over at the Carolina Raptor Center. Below are two flyers to upcoming events taking place at the Center. Check them out!



Queen City Forward

Hi! Have you heard of and supported Queen City Forward? They provide a hub for entrepreneurs who have business ideas that address social needs and work to balance a triple-bottom-line of people, planet and profit.

This is kind of a special one for me. I couldn’t just introduce one person as QCF. Charles, Christie and Tori all play an integral part in making it all happen.

QCF, Charles and Christie have been in my world for a while now. Before Ready at 7, #WeLoveCLT and a lot of things were even an idea in my head. Back in the days of Hypothetical Failure. They’ve been nothing but supportive from day one when we showed up asking for advice and a lot of it. They could have easily shut the door on us. They didn’t. I attribute so much of our motivation and success to be surrounded by people like them. They are awesome.

Tori is the latest addition to the team and brings unrivaled positive vibes, a go getter attitude and a smile that can easily make you forget what is wrong on the worst of days. A welcome addition in my eyes. She’s awesome!

Click either Tori’s, Charles’s or Christie’s picture below to read their “Have You Met?”. They are all awesome. Guaranteed!

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Field To Fork

Hi! Meet Tyler. We had lunch yesterday at the Mayobird and talked all the things. It easily felt like one of the safest conversations ever. No judgement, just honest conversation. I appreciate that. She’s doing awesome things here in Charlotte with Field to Fork. The concept of a pizza garden is so easy to grasp. It’s smart and kids get it. I love it. I truly believe in educating children at a young age on the importance of food, nutrition and sustainability. Where was this when I was growing up? I asked her five questions. Beth Mack and Kerri Flanigan each asked one.

What are you passionate about?

That is such an interesting word and I’m careful with it because I feel like it’s been getting thrown around a little loosely lately. I’m very intense about food. That would have to be my passion. It’s a really broad thing to say. That I’m passionate about food but I do feel this way about every single aspect of it. I just went back to school to study nutrition but the thing about food that I think is so cool is it really drives so much of what we do all the time. Culturally why do we eat what we eat? I believe the socioeconomics of food are really fascinating. I have always been so interested in it. It’s the reason I decided to rethink my career and go in that direction.

What frustrates you?

Just one thing? {laughs} Really slow internet as well as the lack of use of turn signals really frustrates me. But on a more serious note I get frustrated by people who are deliberately ignorant. They won’t hear other perspectives or entertain other ideas just because they want to main their own way of thinking. That frustrates me because it’s really hard to talk to people like that and have an honest conversation. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but you should be open to hearing the other side. Otherwise your just cherrypicking what you want to justify your opinion.

What is your least favorite trait about yourself?

I’m a really really harsh critic. I’m really hard on other people. I have high expectations but it goes both ways. I’m also really hard on myself. I would say that’s my least favorite characteristic. It can be detrimental at times so I try to be conscious of it.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Three years ago I completely left my career in banking and to me that was an indulgence in a way. I had this career that was really good and I was doing a job that paid really well. I don’t think that everyone is able to leave their jobs and start a whole new career just like that. To me that seemed like a really big indulgence. I know it took a lot of courage for me personally but when I think back on it it was definitely pretty indulgent. I kind of just threw one career aside and said alright, I’m gonna do a whole new one now. But day to day I would say craft beer is my greatest indulgence.

If I gave you $10,000 right now what would you do with it?

If it was not going to a nonprofit of my choice I would buy an awesome RV or rent one and I spend several months going around the US. There’s so much of the US that I haven’t seen and that’s always been a dream to have all this time to just explore. I’m not sure I’ll ever have the chance to do it but I think $10,000 would help kick it off. I just want to thoroughly go through the US… all the little towns.

Beth Mack asked what’s the dorkiest thing that you do?

So I’m really into Consumer Reports. Anytime I buy anything I have to look at Consumer Reports, all the reviews, all the specs. I can’t by any piece of electrical equipment, appliance or car without getting all tech’d out in Consumer Reports. I love it.

Kerri Flanigan asked if you could hang out with one celebrity for a day who would it be?

I would say Jimmy Fallon. Because he’s hilarious and does that craziest things. Also, we’d do a lip sync battle because I can’t sing so I think I’d be pretty good at that. Maybe Oprah as a back up. She’s awesome.

You can find more information about Tyler and Field to Fork here or on Twitter @Field2ForkCLT.

Relay For Life of Charlotte

Picture: Left to Right (John & Kelly DeMario, Julie Grosse)

Hi! Meet Julie Grosse of Relay for Life of Charlotte. I have to say I absolutely love happy people. People that give off an energy when they talk about anything. It gets me so freaking pumped. This is Julie. Whether she’s talking about her story, RFL, family, friends, Charlotte … anything. There’s a fire in her. I’m completely inspired. She’s awesome. Her big event for RFL is actually tomorrow! Find out more here.

Fun Fact: The Duke Energy building will be lit of purple this Saturday in support of RFL. Pretty awesome.

What is your passion?

My passion is helping people in whatever capacity that is. I love to be around people and learn what makes them tick. If there’s something I can do that makes a difference in someones life that makes me happy. It makes me feel great to make a difference.

If you could go back and give yourself advice 15 years ago what would it be?

Have a better plan before you pack up and move across the country. I moved from California and was up for an internship with NASCAR. It was my senior year of college at UCLA. I was one of less than 5 finalists for the position and they told me they didn’t pick me because I lived so far away. I thought well I’ll pack my stuff up, move to Charlotte and they’ll hire me because I’m awesome. I have a degree from UCLA. That’s a big deal, right? Turns out that was the wrong attitude. No one was impressed. It was tough.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Music. Life just doesn’t exist unless there’s music. I listen to just about anything. I went to see New Kids on the Block last night. I work in a country bar. I love Poison, Motley Crue and all the 80’s hair bands. The spectrum is large.

What frustrates you?

Probably what frustrates me most with working with nonprofits is the lack of … I don’t want to say attention. It’s just there’s so much going on in Charlotte. It’s really hard to get people’s attention. We feel like we worked so hard on this event and I feel like it could be so much bigger in a city the size of Charlotte and it’s frustrating that it doesn’t get more attention than it gets.

Sara Beth wants to know why you love Charlotte?

My favorite thing about Charlotte is the skyline. I love to walk around uptown at night. It’s so pretty. I like that I live 15 minutes out of uptown but I’m in a nice quiet suburban neighborhood. I’m not super far from uptown but feel like in most cities I’d have to go much further out to get the amount of peace and quiet that I have.

Corley May asked if you had to sing a song for your supper what song would you sing?

Is is everyone I’m singing to quite drunk cause I’m not singing unless they are. Hmm… When I get bribed into singing karaoke at the bar I usually sing “Back in the Saddle” by Matraca Berg. She’s a song writer.

Emily Rester asked if you could combine any two animals what would they be?

How about a dog and a monkey? Dogs are so happy, fun loving and there to help. Monkeys are really smart and able to learn advanced things. I can’t help but think if I could train my dog to be smart like a monkey I’d be in business.

You can meet Julie in Person tomorrow! Find out more information about the big event here.

Hospitality House of Charlotte

Hi! Every Friday “Have You Met?” becomes “Have You Supported?” where we feature a Charlotte nonprofit by introducing you to one awesome person making it happen behind the scenes.

Meet Emily Rester of Hospitality House of Charlotte. I use the word passion a lot. A whole lot but it’s the reason I do #WeLoveCLT. When I heard Emily’s story. Why she is who she is and does what she does. It’s driven by passion. By using the experiences she’s had in life to ensure that people who go through similar things are taken care of. I’m floored by her willingness to give back, support others and do it all with an intense amount of energy without expecting anything in return. I’d bet she never stops. She’s awesome. I also had the pleasure of getting a tour of the HHoC house itself. They’re doing everything possible to ensure families in crisis feel as at home as possible.

Also, she introduced me to excited goats on YouTube. Heads up, that’s a deep dive that can steal so many hours from your life. Careful.

What are you passionate about?

Do I just have to choose one thing? I’m passionate about so many things. There’s not just one thing that makes me tick. Helping people is high on that list. I love helping people. It’s one thing that drives me through every day. I’m also passionate about my family, my friends, animals, everything. This is probably not a good answer. {I disagree}

What frustrates you?

When people are selfish. I don’t like selfish people. I truly believe that everybody in some way shape or form is here for a reason and can give back. I love to see how people give back.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Chocolate! or getting my nails done at a spa. I really like the spa.

If I gave you $10,000 what would you do with it?

Donate it all back. My husband and I are very blessed with what we have. We don’t need anything else. There’s so many people who I see struggle every day and they need it a lot more than I do. I’d also do it anonymously.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?

I’m a hugger. I went to hug someone that I just met and they gave me the hands up, no hug please sign and rejected me. It was awkward and embarrassing.

In one sentence what advice would you give yourself ten years ago?

Don’t take yourself too seriously and give yourself a break.

Eric Hailili asked if you could add one thing to Charlotte that you’ve seen in another city what would it be?

Nashville has this really awesome entrepreneur program called Jumpstart. My sisters involved with it. I talk to my family every day and she always comes back to me and shares information about how it is benefiting her and her business. I wish we had more programs like this in Charlotte. It’s done amazing things for her.

HHoC is celebrating 30 years of helping families in medical crisis. Come join them July 22nd between 5-7pm at 1400 Scott Avenue right here in Charlotte. See the house, meet all the people and have a slice of cake. If you would like to bring a gift here’s a couple items on their wish list. Paper Towels, Toilet Paper, Laundry Pods, Styrofoam cups, Coffee and Tea.

You can learn more about Emily on LinkedIn or by visiting the HHoC website.

Green Teacher Network

Hi! Meet Beth. I met her working on a project for Green Teacher Network so I’ve seen first hand the passion and drive to make a difference. I’m a pretty positive, happy person but Beth takes it to a new level. People that always smile have a skill. Beth has this skill. She’s awesome and making it happen here in Charlotte. Show your support. Give her a shout and say keep up the good work. Also, ask her about her haircut as a child or her unrivaled goofballness.

What is your passion?

Overall, just making the world a better place. As cheesy as that sounds I want leave it better than when I came into it. My passion is food nutrition and those sort of things so helping people realize that food is medicine and it impacts your longevity, your quality of life. Those sort of things would be my passion.

What frustrates you?

One of the things that I’ve encountered here in Charlotte but is getting a lot better is all these different groups that are working towards the same thing but not together. Uniting all the powers and blow it up. Ya know, make it happen and in a bigger way. It frustrates me that we’re not getting it all done together.

If I gave you $10,000 right now what would you do with it?

$10,000. That’s a good chunk of money. I’d love go on a trip to Europe. Maybe bank some of it. Non-profit wise, there’s so many things we could use it for. I’d say just use it in creative ways to spread GTN’s cause.

What has been your hardest trial and how did it change you?

I would say my hardest trial both personally and professionally was SEED20. It was incredibly hard and time intensive but it changed me and opened up my eyes. I met so many other non-profits doing awesome things. I met a lot cool people that are incredibly supportive like Hannah Levinson. It was incredible. But it was hard to go through all the motions and not make it to the top in the end. Putting your all, your heart into something and not being able to go to the end was really defeating. But it’s all about picking yourself up, learning from it all and continuing to make it happen.

Tell me something incredibly embarrassing about yourself that you don’t usually share?

Andrew asked What is missing from Charlotte that would support non-profits?

I would say some sort of organization that gets all these creative minds together. Example, we need a graphic designer or people on our board that are financially savvy cause I’m not. An organization where people could go and say I really want to help. The organization then based on their passion puts them in touch with non-profits that need the type of services they offer. In our case they would put a graphic designer in touch with us as opposed to us trying to find a designer that understands the non-profit space and budgetary restrictions at times.

Eric Halili asked If you have the ability to change one thing about Charlotte, what would it be?

I would make it more walkable/bike friendly. I can have a touch of road rage at times (I may or may not have laid on my horn twice today) and would love to get rid of my car if I could.

You can find Beth on Twitter at @BethMark21. Check out GTN Charlotte and show your support. This is a simple as saying awesome job, love what you’re doing or maybe a high five.


Welcome to Have You Supported?! Each and every Friday we’ll be highlighting one awesome Charlotte non-profit but not the non-profit itself exactly. We’re going to introduce one awesome person making things happen behind the scenes.

Hi! Meet Dee of Uncommen. We met at the Daily Press in NODA. His passion for connecting the dots and educating everyone around him is amazing. He’s awesome. His app UNCOMMEN is designed to connect men in the key relationships of their life through short, disruptive, and fun video driven challenges. We asked him 5 questions. Andrew of Heart Meter asked him one.

What is your passion?

What is my passion? My passion is seeing my multiple passions converge and serving others through that convergence of those passions. Through Uncommen my passion is fatherhood and “attacking the dad crisis in America”. I’m also a technologist and an educator. I also have a ministry and sociology background so I look at the world through this lens of ethical responsibility in helping to improve society but also equipping others to do those things as well.

What frustrates you?

That’s a big question. What would frustrates me is if I walked into @809(co-working space) and you told me all of this was private offices and everyone had their individual space where they work in isolation. That they are productive working in isolation and independently. I see those as mutually exclusive. Independence and isolation combined does not produce success when it pertains to serving others. It takes collaboration.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Conversation and coffee. The Daily Press!

If I gave you $10,000 right now what would you do with it?

I would create a think tank. Because so many professional’s expertise costs and costs beyond what many could pay. I would create a think tank around aiming to solve societal ills as they pertain to family and say how can be team up in order to connect the dots because we are so fragmented. Otherwise I’d say just technology. I’m a technology guy. I love having all the latest greatest tech.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

I remember when I played percussion and I was the pastoral assistant at the church so I was on the staff at the church and I played percussion. The whole teams up on stage practicing together. The speaker popped really loud in the back. The sound guy must have done something cause it went “BWAHAHAHAR” really loud and it through me off. I was in the zone. I looked back and the sound guy is laughing. I got so mad I kicked the monitor picked up something and through it across the room. In that absolute moment I knew I lost my cool big time. I had to leave. I walked off and was like what did i just do. Definitely the most embarrassing low point for me there.

Andrew of Heart Meter asked what is Charlotte missing for non-profits?

Unity. I love SVP and SEED20 because they are doing great things to get the Charlotte non-profits speaking together and meeting one another. I am forever grateful for what they’ve done for Uncommen. In that space I didn’t consider us strong collaborators. We had to initiate that. Those who wanted to collaborate. There’s a lot of great non-profits doing awesome things here and were not working together to maximize our strengths.