Community Building and Outreach
Impact Entrepreneurs and the Alumni Association at PSU share a goal of providing pathways for anyone to achieve meaningful careers that positively impact our community and the world. What better way to start working together on this than in a warm winter gathering at a local microbrewery to discuss social entrepreneurship? Last week we had the opportunity to do so, and here’s how we approached it.
1. Pick presenters with a range of experiences: Cindy Cooper has a background in corporate business and is the co-founder of Impact Entrepreneurs and the social enterprise Speak Shop. Jacen Greene has a background in business consulting and uses his talent to strengthen the impact of social entrepreneurs. Amelia Pape is a full-time social entrepreneur, running the for-profit social enterprise My Street Grocery. Justin Stanley has a family, works full time in the tech industry, and moonlights as a social entrepreneur leading the nonprofit social venture The Uprise Books Project.
2. Invite everyone: There is a time and place for selective audiences, but we find that building community is an inclusive activity. We reached an intergenerational, cross-sector group of 88 community members at the event last week, creating an atmosphere where everyone had something to learn and to offer. Attendees had heard about the event through meetup group websites, social calendars, PSU Alumni listservs, social media, and word of mouth. Everyone was invited.
3. Provide something to eat and drink, and time for it too: There’s something about food that brings people together, and that holds true even at professional events. Gathering around the cocktail table with a microbrew and a plate of delicious food is a great way to listen to a presentation. It’s also a great way to meet your next employee, co-founder, teacher, or friend. We planned a 45-minute panel followed by an hour-long casual gathering. The result was an energetic, productive and inspired party with concrete fodder for discussion; in other words, community building. A big thanks to everyone who came. We hope to see the rest of you next time.