The symbolic paper lanterns were hung in the window to kick off the first spark club. A couple of us snuck out to slam a beer at Bolsa and plan the final details for the evening. Most important was to keep it simple, fun and flexible. The goal of our first gathering was to bring together social entrepreneurs and leaders to network and share ideas. We were already excited by the “virtual” response and if only HALF of those who RSVP’d, we would consider it a success.
The first to arrive was Steve Rainwater, @steevithak , of Dallas Personal Robotics Group. He talked about his upcoming cybernetic sound instillation he is working on for La Reunion TX on November 22! That was just the perfect way to kick off the first conversation. As others trickled in and we reached a critical mass, my partner Bob Wright and I welcomed everyone to the first Spark Club and introduced fellow co-conspirators Sarah Jane Semrad, Jill Krumsick and Christian Caldwell.
The speed networking kicked off with ten rotating chairs and participants sharing what they are up too in 2-3 minute slots. Business cards were exchanged and everyone switched. Doubters were sold on this format. It turned out to be a great way to quickly connect with others in the room and share ideas and latest projects.
Kevin Obregon and Venassa Neil, of The Cube Creative Gallery, volunteered to capture the evening by video. We look forward to seeing what all was contributed as folks were asked, what is your 3 minute elevator pitch, or describe yourself in five words.
The evening was about making connections. I met so many interesting people up to amazing things for social good. To name a few…we had an organic food co-op and sustainable ag professional for a local health club, and a luxury lingerie line that provides microfinancing to women in poverty. SoapHope was there, and so were our socially impactful coffee houses in Dallas – Urban Dog Coffee and It’s a Grind. Artist Lisa Lindholm, and DIY guru and Indi-Fashionista Julie Kim McCullough were there along with Green Spot Market. Nonproftit leaders representing Oak Cliff Center for Community Studies, Pre-GED, Promise of Peace Community Garden and TECO Theatre also joined us.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of those who were there, and the network we have yet to build! Special thanks to Good Space and David Spense for allowing us to use that amazing space. There is an offer to host the next one at CoHabitat. We’ll be visiting with them this week to check out the space.
We recieved awesome feedback to create some targeted and deeper conversations around social media and new business models for social impact. If you were there, please tell us what it was like for you and provide us with any ideas for the next one. Be sure to link to your website so we can continue to promote each other.
Happy Halloween and stay tuned for the announcement of our next Spark Club!