Five Things Organizing Gangplank Brownbags Has Taught Me

Guest post by Dani Cutler.

I don’t need to dwell on what Gangplank is, and what it means to the community. Pretty much everyone reading this knows. If not, here’s a introductory video great to check out.

One way I was able to give back for a time was running the Gangplank Chandler Brownbag presentations each Wednesday at noon. I have been using what Gangplank has to offer for a couple of years prior, between Gangplank Jr. events, podcasting, and using the space for other reasons. When asked to take on the Brownbags, I was fortunately in a place where I could. It was one of the most fun and challenging things to experience. Here are some ways coordinating Brownbags has helped me grow:

1). Networking. You will meet many people this way. Not just the brownbag speakers, but also in those who use the space on a daily basis. It’s a wide variety of people with an endless variety of interests.

2). Learning. When you are coordinating the show, you get to see all the performances. Not only do you get a wide variety of presentations to learn on a business level, I’ve also learned more about local food, the music industry, philosophy, community events, and have even done a little yoga. We’re talking real-world application here.

3). Boldness. I learned really fast that if you need something, it’s better to just yell it out than try and figure out which individual person to talk to. As I was learning how to use the sound system and the projector, I yelled often. Not to mention the practice speaking in front of people once a week. After all, you do have to introduce the speaker, and let people know what is coming up in the future. Side benefit- it’s ok to ask for help.

4). Leadership. Before taking on brownbags, I had been on committees, and have volunteered my time. I was even President of the PTO at my daughter’s school. However, that was a nearly a decade before this, so I was rusty. Coordinating brownbags helped me gain some confidence back and not run away screaming when all eyes were on me looking for guidance. In fact, all this confidence led me to head the organizing committee for TechPhx, a low-cost technology “un-conference” held every November in Tempe.

5). Started my own business. Probably the biggest thing being a part of the Gangplank community has taught me is that if you can’t find it in someone else, create it yourself. I had been looking for employment for several months without any luck. What spending a year consistently being around these amazing people in this space showed me that I have the skills and the experience to branch out on my own. So I did. If that’s not a definition of “Be Dangerous,” I don’t know what is.

Thanks, Gangplank.

~Dani

What Vincent Learned in 3 Months While Interning at Gangplank

Guest post by: Vincent Nguyen

Gangplank is amazing not only because it allows you to avoid spending $5 at Starbucks every time you need to work with WiFi, but it’s filled with learning opportunities. You’re around people from different backgrounds (usually tech-related) and everyone is willing to help.

Not only that, but there are multiple events on a weekly basis. For example, I now know the basics of writing and publishing a press release, how to speak to clients without too much jargon, and how to build a personal brand. With an environment like Gangplank, it’s difficult to leave without having learned a thing or two.

I’ve only been going to Avondale’s Gangplank for three months now, but I’ve made my own observations over these past few months and reflected upon them. I realized there’s a lot of things I’ve learned both personally and for all things business.

I’ve seen what it’s like to work for yourself

They don’t teach you this stuff in school. People are expected to go off to a 9-5 job and come home. That’s it.

Gangplank houses several anchors, many who are working for themselves as freelancers and they’re doing a good job at it. They work where they want, when they want, and they’re happy to do it.

I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit and I know it’s a lot of heavy-lifting, so I think it’s awesome to see people who are self-sufficient and doing things they want to be doing. I’ve never heard anyone at Gangplank complain about being there. Gangplank is the office for many of the anchors. As far as I can tell, collaborative workspaces are amazing.

Working together drives more productivity than alone

I’m a person who can’t stand being in one place for too long. I think that’s part of the reason why I moved an entire state over after high school. I need change because when things are too comfortable I get bored, unmotivated, and drained.

What’s cool about Gangplank is that it’s not just a “workplace,” it’s a collaborative workspace. This means there are always different people when I step in the door on an afternoon to get my work done.

Like I said earlier, I used to spend $5 every time I wanted an environment with other people working and it was spent at Starbucks. Sure, there were conversations had and maybe I even flirted with girls on occasion, but it’s like paying for productivity.

Gangplank does it better. It has people who know what they’re doing, people of interesting background, and people who are for more than just small talk. They specialize in different fields and it just happens that many of them are related to the work I do. How cool is it to be able to socialize AND learn from other people?

I’ve been on a momentous productivity-driven slide for a while now and I thank a lot of that to Gangplank. When I have no motivation to work and get things done, I change it up to the one place I know I can focus. It’s even better that I know there is at least one person in the room who knows how to help me if I really need.

I’ve gotten different perspectives for the same topic

From professional storytellers, to graphic designers, to web designers, everyone’s got a different take on things. I’m just a lowly second-year college student with very little real world experience. What do I know?

What’s awesome is that I can take the different ideas from everyone around me, put my own spin on it, and come to an informed decision. Whether it’s on the best way to speak to a client from a business owner’s perspective or where to put certain designs of my website, there’s a large mess going on in my brain and I piece them all together.

That’s the beauty of the collaborative workspace. Where you learn personal things that tie into the business end of your world. I don’t intend on leaving Gangplank anytime soon because my brain isn’t done learning yet.

Vincent’s Bio:
Vincent Nguyen is an intern for Gangplank HQ who decided to work there because he was interested in the idea of a collaborative workspace. He is currently based out of the Gangplank Avondale location. He runs personal development blog, Self Stairway,. Follow Vincent on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+

Gangplank Town Hall

Join us for the annual Gangplank Town Hall. Gangplank founders Derek Neighbors and Jade Meskill will give the State of Gangplank Address, followed by extensive time to answer questions and explore new ideas.

The Gangplank Community is continually experiencing radical change. We are a movement impacting communities around the globe. We need your help to challenge the status quo. We want you to make meaningful change in your community.

Show up. Bring your most dangerous ideas.  Be part of Gangplank’s future.

Gangplank’s Town Hall will be held on Wednesday May 15th at 6pm in Gangplank Headquarters (260 S. Arizona Ave, Chandler, AZ 85225). Gangplankers from all communities are invited to participate. This event will be live streamed to include those in other communities. You can access the livestream here: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/1838070/events/2085423

Executive Director- An Introduction

Hey, I’m Trish, Gangplank’s Executive Director.

 Executive Director  An Introduction

Many of you know that Gangplank’s first employee, Katie Hurst headed off on new adventures in October. At that time, I was given the opportunity to challenge myself as the Executive Director for Gangplank. Many of us have already shared meals, ideas, questions, stories, and challenges. However, with a community that now extends globally, I know there are many more community members I have yet to meet. Hopefully this introduction provides a little background.

I am passionately curious. I love meeting people, exploring, and challenging myself. I started college as a parks and recreation major with an emphasis in experiential education. I had the opportunity to practice as an experiential educator while exploring team dynamics and promoting pro social behavior on NAU’s Challenge Course. It turned out team dynamics and social psychology fascinated me more than recreation. I still try to bring an element of play to everything I do, but I found myself taking social psych classes and graduated with a major in psychology.

Upon graduation, I spent several years in career and academic advising. I love seeing people pursue their passions and find meaningful employment. However, I still hoped to do something related to team building or community building. I was also starting to take an interest in under resourced communities.  Two years ago I left academic advising to pursue these interests.  I obtained a certificate in community development and spent my time visiting under resourced communities. It was a year full of learning and exploring the unique challenges and assets of communities around the country.

After returning to Chandler, my hometown, I came across Gangplank’s website. It completely baffled me, but piqued my interest enough that I stopped in for a brownbag several days later. I still vividly recall that day. With little idea of what I was walking into, I showed up for an open forum brown bag on the topic of “Getting involved in Gangplank”. The good thing about an open forum is engagement was expected and thus I had the chance to make a few immediate connections. The uncomfortable part was that I found myself diving into a brainstorming session on the topic of Gangplank initiatives within my first hour at Gangplank. In the spirit of giving before you get, I went ahead and offered to volunteer my skills in event planning. Katie however contacted me several days later and asked me to join the GP staff as a marketing and events intern (in this instance intern was purely a code word for unpaid staff member). I never would have imagined that this scenario of diving in during uncomfortable situations would come to characterize my time with Gangplank. It often feels like my role with Gangplank changes daily.  I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with intelligent and capable individuals as I continue to take on this challenge. 
A few fun facts:

  • I have a nerdy love for AZ human and natural history. I actually collect books that relate to AZ.
  • I was a white water rafting guide in the Grand Canyon for several summers.
  • I love water fights.
  • I am the mama of a 7 year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever. He has his mama’s naturally curly brown hair and love for water.
  • I can juggle 3 objects fairly easily. I haven’t tried in a while, but probably could pull off 4.
  • I didn’t own a smart phone for my first 8 months around Gangplank. Clearly I love social experiments. ;)

I would love the chance to meet you you as well. If we haven’t met yet, please introduce yourself if you see me around or feel free to shoot me a message.

Creating the Next Generation of Web Developers

Local web developer, Dharma Kelleher will be teaching a series of courses designed for young adults and teens to learn the basics of web development. These courses will be held on 3 separate weeks during Gangplank Avondale’s After Hours. After Hours is open to the community. This is a great time to drop in and work on a side project or learn something new. As a collaborative workspace those in the space are encouraged to share ideas and work together toward solving problems. We hope to give students the basics they need to get started in web development and introduce them to the space. Students are encouraged to continue to join us for After Hours once the series is over.

 Creating the Next Generation of Web Developers

Gangplank Jr: Intro to HTML for ages 16-20

Learn to create a web page in HTML. This class is designed to help encourage the next generation of web developers. Intended for students ages 16- 20, but older students are welcome are as well. Students must provide their own computer.

When: February 7, 2013 6pm-8pm

Where: Gangplank Avondale

 Creating the Next Generation of Web Developers

Gangplank Jr: Intro to CSS for ages 16-20

Learn  how to add styling to an HTML web page with CSS. Students should have a basic understanding of HTML. This class is intended to for the next generation of  web developers. Designed for 16-20 year old students, but older students are welcome as well. Students must provide their own computer.

When: February 21, 2013 6pm-8pm

Where: Gangplank Avondale

 Creating the Next Generation of Web Developers

Gangplank Jr: Intro to Debugging Your Website for ages 16-20

Learn how to find and correct errors in your HTML and CSS code. Students should have a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. This class is intended for the next generation of web developers. It is designed for ages 16-20, but older students are welcome as well.

When: February 28, 2013 6pm-8pm

Where: Gangplank Avondale

Gangplank Junior is Launching in Avondale

 

You don’t have to be an adult to be a Gangplanker. Gangplank Junior exists to allow students to learn and explore with the freedom to fail. The program  includes activities for  preschool through 20 year olds. We take education back to its roots, encouraging real world, hands on learning with experienced professionals. Gangplank Jr encourages children to use their imaginations to problem solve, create solutions and implement them, without the pressure of performance.
IMG 0337 168x300 Gangplank Junior is Launching in Avondale

Parents- Gangplank Junior is a “stay and learn with your kids” event. Plan on being with us for the whole session.

Upcoming events:

Exploring Gravity with LEGO Cars

Cars are built and designed to serve the needs of our society, the move our world.  They might move people like busses, move our things like trucks, help firemen fight fires or help doctors save people. Some are designed to go fast, others drive far and some need to do a little of everything. In this exciting course, we’ll become car designers ourselves, building LEGO®   cars for weekly challenges and go head-to-head in competitive events. How many ways can you use LEGO® wheels and tires?  We’ll find out when we “Observe How We Move”. This free event is open to the community.This free event is open to the community. Activities are appropriate for grades K-6.

Where: Gangplank Avondale

When: 1/26/13

Time: 12:30 – 2:30 pm

 

Build My City with LEGO

This class is for the super LEGO builder in your household.  This class is for children with previous experience with LEGO who want to learn how to use LEGO to make awesome buildings and structures like they see in the real world.  Children will be introduced to architectural design ideas and presented with challenges to mimic great architecture with LEGO.  They will be taught new ways to use the LEGO brick, and will be challenged to work in teams in many class projects. This free event is open to the community. Activities are appropriate for grades K-6.

Where: Gangplank Avondale

Date: 1/26/13

Time: 3-5 pm

 

Building Robots with LEGO Part 1

The LEGO Mindstorms system gives children the tools and software to build, from scratch, their very own robots. Under the instruction of our trained instructors children will be introduced to problem solving with robots, including building and programming their own LEGO robots. This class will open your children’s eyes to the possibilities technology has to continue to improve our world, and they will be challenged to explore these possibilities as they are presented with team challenges to solve with robotics. This free event is open to the community. Activities are appropriate for grades 3-8th.

Where: Gangplank Avondale

When: 2/2/13

Time: 11am – 1pm

 

Intro to Movie Making Part 1

Reel Stars: A film based class, for students age eight through thirteen, where students will learn basic film principals both behind and in-front of the camera. Students learn creativity, teamwork, communication and develop new critical ways of thinking. Students learn basic script writing, cinematography, acting and the art and history of story telling. This free event is open to the community. Activities are appropriate for grades 3-8th.

Where: Gangplank Avondale

When: 2/2/13

Time: 2-4pm

 

Building Robots with LEGO Part 2

The LEGO Mindstorms system gives children the tools and software to build, from scratch, their very own robots. Under the instruction of our trained instructors children will be introduced to problem solving with robots, including building and programming their own LEGO robots. This is the second part of a 2 part series. This class will open your children’s eyes to the possibilities technology has to continue to improve our world, and they will be challenged to explore these possibilities as they are presented with team challenges to solve with robotics. This free event is open to the community. Activities are appropriate for grades 3-8th.

Where: Gangplank Avondale

When: 2/16/13

Time: 11am – 1pm

 

Intro to Movie Making Part 2

Intro to Movie Making Part 2 is the second part of a two part series of videography classes for kids. This film based class is for students age eight through thirteen, where students will learn basic film principals both behind and in-front of the camera. Students learn creativity, teamwork, communication and develop new critical ways of thinking. Students learn basic script writing, cinematography, acting and the art and history of story telling. This free event is open to the community. Activities are appropriate for grades 3-8th.

Where: Gangplank Avondale

When: 2/16/13

Time: 2-4pm

Explore Arizona – Hole in the Rock

Join us  Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 8:00am at Papago Park – Hole in the Rock Trailhead.  We will be doing a quick hike up to the hole in the rock and taking photos.  This is a great way to experience the city and the desert at the same time.  Be reminded why this is a great place to live while having a good time.  This is the kickoff towards Explore Arizona with Gangplank!

4264491300 c3d0fef8e4 Explore Arizona   Hole in the Rock

Anatomy of a Drum Solo

Today Brandon Franklin and Nicholas DiBiase from Gangplank Studios as a part of the Year of Music helped us make drum kits and learn some basics about rhythm. What are you creating today?

Anatomy of a Drum Solo from Gangplank on Vimeo.

The year of music strikes a gain. Encourage kids to create. Not only music, but their very only instruments as well. Watch out world we have released a group of drum soloists ready to rock your socks off.

Poker Tournament

Help send our two First LEGO League teams to the state-wide competition this fall by participating in our Texas Hold ‘em Poker Tournament on Thursday, September 16th at 6:30pm. A $40 donation will provide you with the chips to play. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place.

Your donations will go towards covering registration and build kit fees, as well as purchasing shirts for the team members.

Seats are limited. RSVP to reserve your spot.