“Grow in and with community”
Today, I sat down with Alanah Nichole to reflect on the role of Lunch + Learns and Skill Shares at Impact Hub. Every week, there are at least five opportunities (free and open to the public!) which draw community members from all parts of Baltimore City. In fact, the growth of Skill Shares alone contributed to more than a 30 percent increase in event RSVPs from September 2018 to January 2019. Considering this, there is no doubt that these events represent two important types of programming that contribute to the space’s daily rhythms and community culture:
IB: Hi Alanah! How would you describe your role at Impact Hub?
AN: I would say my role as the Marketing and Space Activation Manager is to make sure current and prospective members in the community feel welcome in our space. I aim to make IHB a place where they can come [to Impact Hub] as entrepreneurs during the early stages, to grow in and with us. Above all, I want to make sure that community members know that there are platforms that exist which they can be a part of — Even if they just have a great idea.
IB: Could you tell me a little bit about Lunch + Learns and Skill Shares?
AN: Sure! Lunch + Learns provide a platform for entrepreneurs to practice sharing their ideas, products, and services in a supportive context. Meanwhile, Skill Shares allows speakers to share their skills with a range of Impact Hub Baltimore members and community to gain access and insight into social innovation, education, design, civics, arts, culture and more in a co-created, locally rooted daytime platform. We partner with a range of organizations to pair bottom-up innovation with organizational expertise to shape tangible solutions to on the ground issues affecting our communities around Baltimore and beyond.
IB: How would you say these two events are similar and/or different?
AN: Well, for me, Lunch + Learns can happen everywhere, while Skill Shares are unique to Impact Hub. They provide similar platforms, but Skill Shares are arguably more accessible. We make Skill Shares free and open to the public. Changing the language on how we viewed Lunch + Learns helped us make Skill Shares more informal, yet fun and equally as informative, if not more.
IB: What’s your favorite thing about spearheading Skill Shares and Lunch + Learns?
AN: I love seeing new folks come to the space. It’s also really cool to see people who have been part of the space since 2015 feel a rededication and newfound love for the space, and wanting to engage. In general, I just really like talking to each individual to comb and tease out what they’re going to talk about in their Skill Share, and how to make it relevant to social entrepreneurs in our audience.