Gangplank is My Extended Family

Guest Post by: Francine Hardaway

First let me tell you that I’m not what you think of as the average Gangplanker. (BTW, there isn’t one.) I don’t code, I’m a woman, and I’m probably twenty-five years older than everyone else. But they never allow me to feel that way, and they inspire me every day.

I discovered Gangplank back in its beginning, when the offices were in Integrum’s space over the candy distributor. But that’s not what drew me in. As a long-time member of the Phoenix tech business community, I was attracted to the crazy atmosphere, the pirate trappings, and the “be dangerous” attitude. The “be dangerous” was something that fit my own lifestyle.

When Gangplank moved into a bigger space, Ed and I decided to be anchors, whatever that means. I think it means you give more back to the community, both within Gangplank and surrounding it, than you get. And you do that because you know nothing can happen if you are working alone. Derek, Jade, Josh, James, Chuck, Chase – some still at Gangplank, many now graduated – made me feel like we were all in this together, whatever it was. It was like going on a scary Disney ride with a group of friends. Nothing bad could happen if you were with them.

The third location appears to be the charm. By this time, we sort of knew what we were doing and who we wanted to be. We didn’t want to be an incubator. Others could do that. Rather, we wanted to be an open collaborative workspace, reaching out into the community.

I my own case, I mentor at Gangplank at least once a month for an afternoon. That’s my way of reaching out to the community. Anyone can make an appointment to come see me, and I will try my best to set them on a path to success – or a pivot.

I also try to develop business for others in Gangplank, because that’s my skill set. I’m a referrer. And Gangplank is my trust network. If you’re my client, and I recommend someone from Gangplank to you, I feel I can guarantee you will be happy, because whoever at Gangplank is performing the service or selling the product will make sure to do their very best to make me and my client happy.

To me, Gangplank is a place very similar to the yoga studio where I practice – a “safe” place where I can grow and learn without feeling stupid, and where I feel embraced by welcoming hands. It didn’t happen overnight, but Gangplank is my family.

The More you Give the More you Get

Guest post by Greg Taylor

I will be first to admit Gangplank is flawed. We cannot be all things to all people, I admit it. We are a group of organized unorganized people who are trying to make a difference. We seek better ways to run companies, new avenues to launch projects, a different avenue for professional networking and most of all challenging the status quo.

I was introduced to Gangplank by Jeff Moriarity in 2008. I had just been fired from a job I hated, working for people I didn’t like. I needed a place to go and be around other “professionals” and work on some ideas I had for a business, which later became Marketing Press. I walked in Gangplank soon there after and never really left.

Although, I took on another job I grossly underperformed at, sorry Ted – the Gangplank mentality was instilled in how I conducted myself. What if I tried to help, more than I sought to be helped? What if I gave away all my “secrets” on how I want to run a business? What if I tried to collaborate with other people I once thought of as competitors? What if I… the list went on and on.

I was able to break free of traditional thinking with this cast of characters and say, “It’s time for something different.”

Fast forward to 2013. After many years of working at Gangplank, I can look back and see that I’ve received exactly what I’ve put into the community. Now these people are not only contemporaries, but they are also friends – and together I don’t think there is anything that’s impossible.

If you are looking for something different, check us out. If after checking us out, you decide our culture is not for you, don’t give up on the collaborative coworking model – find (or create) a spot that’s suited for you. Just do something.

Mentor Office Hours Testimonial

Gangplank’s guest-blogging series illustrates the array of personalities and experiences embodied by our community. All invited participants – past brownbag speakers, anchors, new members, City of Chandler employees and others – share their Gangplank stories. Interested guest posters should send a draft to our Director of Operations.

By Brandi Walsh, co-founder of Local Lily

“Do you want me to tell you it’s awesome or do you want my feedback?,” asked my professor and mentor in college.

I didn’t need someone to tell me it was worth at least a passing grade. I needed someone to help refine my work and make it better. In the last 10+ years I have come to realize that mentors are valuable at all stages of project development and most critical during the initial planning and execution.

My Co-Editor Beth Hickey and I have made the pledge to ‘live local’. Our blog makes the shift to spend local easy and enjoyable by sharing our favorite independent businesses and experiences in Arizona. Like any business, funding and growth are essential to our efforts.

At the time my Co-Editor Beth Hickey and I decided to create Local Lily, we were fortunate to have crossed paths with Francine Hardaway at a few Gangplank Brownbag Lunches.

Through the Gangplank mentoring program we have created a relationship with Francine that provides us with seasoned, unbiased feedback on our focus and strategies. In some instances, this means we have changed course early on and shortened the learning curve and saved us mistakes.

Recently, we met with Chuck Reynolds and are looking forward to adding his expertise to our efforts. While Francine provides us marketing and strategy related council, Chuck can offer ways to improve other aspects of the Local Lily user experience. We have also sat down met Chris Conrey to discuss the opportunities and constraints of developing an App.

We are excited and grateful to have these Mentors and all of the Gangplank resources available to us. It is a generous donation of everyone’s time and talent to assist entrepreneurs such as our selves to achieve great things.

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