Meet a Change Agent is our interview series on professionals who have devoted their lives to social and environmental impact. We're excited to hear from Dhalia Bumbaca, the Director, Development & Programming at The Well. The Well is an ecosystem of socially-driven initiatives based in Tampa, FL.
What is your mission and why is it important to you?
I strive to be an educator in my community. Whether it be through food, literacy, or any other facet of life, I hope to transfer the knowledge I have to the masses. This is rooted in the fact that I had an excellent education all throughout my academic journey. From Montessori schools (private schools), to gifted programs, to being admitted to the honors college in my university, I always had an accelerated environment that challenged me and gave me confidence. I believe everybody deserves this same privilege.
How did you get started in social impact?
I'm originally from Toronto, Canada. When I first moved to the U.S., I was unable to work based on the visa I was on. In an effort to keep busy I dove head first into volunteer opportunities. I swore the moment I could earn money I would stop volunteering my time. However, through those experiences, conversations, and relationships, I found purpose. I recognized the power of one person's impact and found fulfillment in my everyday actions.
When COVID hit, I started WellFed as a passion project with a team of women in an effort to fill a gap in services. However, within 6 months the demand was crazy and I spent more time focused on it than my real job, and was lucky enough to be presented with an opportunity to pursue it in my day to day.
What do you enjoy most about your role, and what are some of the challenges?
I live for the interpersonal relationships. I feel like I have never had such a strong sense of community. It was hard had first to allow myself to be vulnerable with all different types of people and be prepared to listen as opposed to act.
What advice would you give someone interested in a social impact career?
Do it because you love what you're doing, not to receive accolades. Every field can contain an aspect of social impact. Whether it is a bike shop, grocery store, or gym, you can serve the community in an area you are passionate about and have a purpose. The purpose part is important: make sure you are filling a real need, not just an idea you have.
Anything else you’d like to add?
The Well is an ecosystem of socially driven initiatives. I found my place in The Well when I started up my own program of The Well called WellFed Community, to address the gap in food education. However, why I do what I do is because of the culture The Well has maintained and the model it is trying to create.
At The Well we strive to do things differently and work within a decentralized model that empowers individuals to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors that create change. Today the ecosystem includes WellBuilt Bikes, WellFed Community, the Kinship Free Market, and Humanize, however, what makes it more than a bike shop, service provider, food pantry, and health care app is its commitment to people. It is through food, access, and services that we cultivate the creative spaces necessary to create change and build relationships with people who have the power and knowledge to do so.