Yesterday, I walked down the street with Nic Zito, our new City of Mesa project manager for small business and entrepreneurship.
Nic just moved here from Chicago, and we were passing out fliers for an event we are holding tomorrow for Global Entrepreneurship Week.
He had not yet had the opportunity to meet the shop owners along our street, like Tina the former nuclear engineer that now runs Phoenix Motor Leathers, or Dorian, the co-founder of National Comedy Theater Phoenix.
So I walked with him from store to store, making introductions and sharing ideas. I looked at his face as he met more and more people who were genuinely warm and welcoming and saw a broad smile appear. I know in a short while, he will feel part of this creative community, which will inform and shape the work he does on behalf of our city government.
Communities are built introduction by introduction, and conversation by conversation.
There is nothing I would rather write about, talk about, teach about and consult about than building a strong, resilient community that supports wide-spread, equitable economic development on our Main Street, and on Main Streets everywhere. I want to help people build strong partnerships, work across sectors and build big things together.
I want to deepen and expand on my Community Builder’s Manifesto and fine-tune the beacons that support this work.
What is a beacon?
In my model of community building, a beacon can be one (or more) of the following things:
- A physical space where community can gather to share ideas, build things or get things done (like our Ké Main Street Learning Lab)
- A digital space, like a blog, podcast or Facebook page Humans of New York
- An event, like the 3% Conference (and movement), which addresses the huge disparity between male and female creative directors in advertising (which was only 3% women when they started)
A beacon shines in a welcoming form with with a very clear message, for the purpose of gathering like-minded people to work together on a cause.
What are your beacons for 2020?
What problem are you not just eager to solve, but willing to climb over mountains to solve in 2020?
What unique beacons could you create to help you do this?
A new physical space?
A road tour?
A series of webinars?
A series of videos?
A specific and unique scaled process or program?
A community garden?
You will exponentially increase your ability to solve the problems you want to solve and build the business you want to build by being extremely deliberate with your choice of and design of your beacons.
What beacon ideas are bubbling up for you?