Trudi Lebron is a driven woman. Not only is she Associate Director of Community & Youth Programs at Billings Forge Community Works, she is working toward completing coursework for her PhD in Social Psychology with research interest in Youth Social Environments, Youth Development, and Motivation and Success.
The ambitious entrepreneur is also the Founder and Executive Director of ScriptFlip!, a Hartford-based startup company committed to changing social scripts and improving community outcomes by providing coaching, capacity building, and consulting for youth, adults, and mission-based organizations and businesses.
Community, Youth Development, And the Arts
In her professional experience Lebron says she “always blended youth, community and the arts.” One of her first jobs out of college was working part time at Trinity College as the House Manager at the Austin Arts Center. Since then she’s held many positions, including theatre teaching artist, case manager for teen parents and disengaged students, community school director, human services professor at a local college, and diversity trainer for the Anti-Defamation League of Connecticut.
Her career path helped her delve deeper into work with youth development, planning, and education as well as diversity and professional development training. She also began meeting program directors and started designing youth programs.
One of her goals was to “bridge a gap and convince businesses to invest in their social environment,” she explains. “It would help if some businesses could take on a little bit, for example creating an internship for a student in the community.”
Lebron, who is from Hartford, notes that she has always been concerned about the youth in Hartford. “We need to invest in the youth,” she emphasized.
This concern helped Lebron develop the idea for ScriptFlip! about three years ago. “The original purpose of ScriptFlip! was to train and coach youth in Hartford to start to challenge the expectations they have for themselves and the social scripts that communities set for them,” explains Lebron.
“The catalyst for ScriptFlip! was my own experience as a Hartford teen who had dropped out of school and was a teen parent. The world around me gave me a ‘script’ that said I’d never finish school, never go to college, and I’d be poor all my life. It also made assumptions about my intelligence, my personality, and my worth as a human being,” she continues.
“ScriptFlip! helps people confront those scripts so they can intentionally choose other paths. It also helps organizations filter through the scripts that cause them to make assumptions about their clients and impact their programs.”
Working with organizations and adults came as a result of Lebron’s youth work. “People wanted to understand the model and I had years of program management and youth development experience to share with others,” she says. “I also pulled from my background in theatre, which is what my Bachelor of Arts focused on, to make the trainings interesting and fun.”
Some of the trainings ScriptFlip! provides include Youth Development, De-escalation Skills, Youth/Adult Partnership, Coaching Tools for Youth Workers, and Designing Effective Programs. The company also does strategic planning and program design support for youth service agencies.
“Although we currently work with more adults and organizations, the goal is to have a more balanced client profile between youth and adults groups,” Lebron adds.
The company has received some grant funding from city of Hartford, which Lebron says the company used to provide workshops to students at Bulkeley High School in Hartford and Hartford Job Corps.
Socially Conscious Entrepreneurship
The ScriptFlip! business model is well aligned with the goals of reSET, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the social entrepreneurship sector in the Greater Hartford region.
In 2015 Lebron applied to the 2016 reSET Impact Accelerator program, which gives entrepreneurs access to the knowledge, networks, and resources they need to grow their businesses and their social impact. She says she is thrilled to be one of the 22 businesses accepted into the program and have the opportunity enhance her company.
With regard to her entrepreneurial spirit, Lebron says, “It’s a matter of chasing passion.”