“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Most of us have heard this quote by Margaret Meade and are reminded how we all have the power to make a difference. Whether we volunteer at a soup kitchen or at a non-profit organisation, or donate to a cause, what we do today can lead to lasting change.
Such is the story of Maryann Schmid and Olga Martin Steele.
In 2018, they both saw first-hand how the devastating Mendocino Complex Fire affected local businesses in their community. Many lost their lives, homes, and livelihood. With 8 fires under 4 years, Lake County’s economy was greatly affected, and many businesses had a hard time getting back on their feet. This event gave both Maryann and Olga a chance to pursue a new life trajectory that could make a difference.
To help combat the effects of the fires, they founded 1Team 1Dream with a mission to encourage and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in Lake County. To support this cause, they have dedicated their time, talent, and their own personal resources. Both residents of Lake County, both Maryann and Olga wanted to inspire and help create new opportunities for budding entrepreneurs, start-ups, and businesses in their community.
“The more we give our time and resources to help other small businesses, the stronger our community will be,” says Maryann. “Education is vital to address the county’s economic pain points. Our community can achieve business growth and economic stability only if we have a new mindset to meet the ever-changing digital landscape and environmental challenges in Lake County.”
Altruism is contagious. Soon enough, Maryann, Olga, and the board of 1Team 1Dream have spurred a ripple effect of generosity from like-minded philanthropic individuals, business leaders, and organizations who want to help the Lake County business community grow and thrive.
With the strong support of City of Clearlake and City of Lakeport, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, First Community Credit Union, as well as the funding given by many private businesses and organizations, 1Team 1Dream was able to launch the Hands Up Lake County Business Competition 2020, which provided participants with training, advice, and mentorship from experienced business leaders with a proven track record in the local community. The competition also provided cash prizes to help support the marketing and operations of their businesses. In 2021, the program became even bigger and better with the entrepreneurs workshop expanding to include topics on branding and digital marketing, with total cash prizes increasing to $50,000. In 2022, they raised the cash prizes to $100,000. This year, total cash prizes amount to $120,000.
“At 1Team 1Dream, we want to work together as a community to change lives one day at a time. Through the business plan program and competition, we hope to have a meaningful impact especially during this unprecedented difficult time,” says Maryann. “Aside from businesses having to contend with wildfires that grow higher year after year, the coronavirus pandemic has caused a dramatic and sudden loss of demand and revenue for many entrepreneurs. The future may seem dire and hazy with smoke and uncertainty, but we can have a positive outcome if we have a strong business community that collaborates and helps one another.”
1Team 1Dream is dedicated to a thriving Lake County economy.
Our values are rooted in the premise that change is possible and that we can make a difference in the lives of others by bringing Lake County closer to economic prosperity – one small business at a time.
We value the entrepreneurial spirit in those who would undertake a start-up or continue their business enterprises despite some of the most enduring economic challenges in modern times.
We value the hard work, passion and determination of Lake County small businesses and believe they have what it takes to persevere.