Bailey Merlino’s Story: Teens Tutor Teens
Previous CMO of Teens Tutor Teens and in this company since 2020–2022
I will forever be grateful for life’s happy accidents. In a way, I fell into my position here at a time when most of my interests and goals for the future were also in freefall. I did not know how to be a person outside of the regimented goals I had made for myself when I was very young and my parents got divorced. Upon entering Teens Tutor Teens in the Rhode Island chapter, my worldview began to shift alongside other important changes I made in my life. I became tired of losing things because I was too spread thin to keep them and decided that I was not going to let myself be consumed by one facet of my goals, that there was strength in diversity of mind and genuine interests.
I had no idea what to expect. I had tutored before and assumed it would be a similar, secular experience with no chance of growth or mobility in my rank. I knew nothing about the organization or even that there was any higher position to aspire to until I moved up to Community Outreach Organizer and started to be involved in the company workshops. The same drive that had carried me through middle and early high school allowed me to quickly progress and be selected for Survivor. I promptly began my position as Chief Marketing Officer by running a project I called “Project Outreach” for the summer of 2021. It involved a lot of downsizing and intensive restructuring of chapters as well as highly motivated and collaborative recruitment. As the summer concluded, I led the “Summer of Outreach” cumulative workshop for which I had compiled research from the chapters concerning the effectiveness of our outreach tactics and ways we could improve them.
That was just the beginning of a transformative year of work, each challenge new and exciting to learn. The CMO position was perfect for me, truly. One of my other favorite tasks was running the National Social Media team. Making the posts and involving everyone in the company in them did not feel like work at all. I almost felt guilty that I took so much enjoyment from my job. I met and was involved with much of the company and used one of my favorite skills, writing, to help the tutors write pitches and land their own outreach opportunities. Working so closely with Gabby, I was involved in much of the company’s media opportunities and meetings. One of my proudest moments was my involvement in landing Teens Tutor Teens an article in Forbes, not to mention the countless other national partnerships I helped secure. Just being in the room where it happened was invaluable. Moreover, I am now able to create contracts and revise contracts for others, as well as effectively create press releases for media kits. I have no doubt these skills will be invaluable in my future in medicine and have encouraged me to study business in higher education.
With Teens Tutor Teens I have grown into the leader I always knew I could be and discovered first-hand what it takes to run a company. I have had to learn that passivity is not empowerment even if it means escapement from your problems, they are not one in the same. This is true both in personal and professional life. I found that good intentions and honesty are necessary for leading and that you must always have individual motivation apart from that of your supervisor so that they can trust the work will always get done. I have grown with the company from disorganized to strong and steadfastly growing. The volunteers were a true joy to work with, they are hard–working intelligent students that I know will each go far. As for the executive board, they were incredibly talented individuals who were each remarkably knowledgeable in their areas of expertise and very kind, independent people that have taught me so much about the business world. I am especially grateful to Gabby who I felt has mentored me this past year and helped me to refine my lifelong dream of becoming a doctor into a reality. It was a true pleasure learning from them and I will be sad to leave, but I am confident that I will use this experience to make a similar impact on my community that TTT has made on me. In the future, I hope to stay in touch, watch the organization continue to expand, and see the butterfly effect of philanthropic endeavors it inspires. Thank you all.