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.

A Journey’s End

katie green 200x300 A Journeys EndGuest post by Katie Hurst

The past two years have been an incredible period of growth for both Gangplank as an organization, and myself. When Derek asked if I was interested in coming on board in the summer of 2010, I never expected the job to change my life. Gangplank has challenged me in ways I never imagined and for that I am very grateful.

But everything good thing must eventually come to an end.

Next month, my husband and I will be moving to Portland and I will be leaving my full-time role with Gangplank. I say full-time role because I will never leave Gangplank entirely, just as it will never leave me. Gangplank is a philosophy – a set of values I’ve so fully embraced it would be impossible for me not to carry them into the next step of my journey. I plan to continue volunteering from a far, proving Gangplankers can be a part of the community no matter where they go. Who knows? Sometime in the near future you may be able to visit me at Gangplank Portland!

The best part of my “retirement”? I get to pass along this amazing leadership opportunity  to Assistant Director and former Gangplank Event/Marketing intern Trish Gillam. Trish has been my right hand for awhile now and has a passion for community development that will greatly benefit Gangplank. She is the perfect individual to be leading our organization into the next phase of growth.

I will greatly miss all my Gangplank friends and our partners across Arizona. Yet, I know I’m leaving Gangplank in great hands – those of our local Directors, Initiative leaders, program volunteers, Anchors and drop-ins. You will all help make Gangplank great and spread our manifesto throughout the world. It’s truly been an honor.

Check out my brownbag talk on the lessons I’ve learned through my time at Gangplank and how they can help you.

Gangplank 2012 Survey Results

We are very fortunate to have a great deal of talent within the Gangplank community who are so willing to contribute their talents to help us grow.

When Susan Baier of Audience Audit suggested Gangplank consider doing a segmentation survey, I leaped at the chance. While our monthly Open Forums garner some good discussion, it was often from a small group and not measurable. So we turned to our community expert and gave her our blessing. Continue reading

‘Walk the Plank’ Unconference Recap

Though Gangplank has hosted many a conference over the years, we’ve never planned an event totally focused on our philosophy. As part of our first Director’s Conference, we wanted to expose our volunteer staff to the community that has supported Gangplank Chandler for so many years, as well as allow the community an open forum to share their ideas based on the values of our manifesto – doing over saying, boldness over assurance and people over personalities.

 Walk the Plank Unconference RecapAttendees ranged from council members, nonprofit directors, ASU staff, students, parents, entrepreneurs and corporate leadership. The discussions were intense and honest – sometimes leading to disagreements – but always in the spirit of sharing and learning.

Our Directors certainly took a lot away from the experience and we hope many other take the discussions back to their work and communities.

A recap of the sessions that sent in notes can be found on the Gangplank Wiki.

A big thank you to the City of Chandler for hosting our event at the beautiful City Hall.

Startup Academy for High School Students

Startup Academy is an immersive entrepreneurship experience open to rising sophomores, juniors and seniors from any Arizona high school. Students will propose ideas to real world problems, form teams to work on them, and work under the guidance of mentors and faculty from ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) to turn their solutions into businesses.

CTI is working with a great set of partners on the Conscious Capitalism Startup Academy, including MAC 6, Gangplank, and Retreat at Tontozona, which will host the camp from June 21 – 24, 2012 (free bus transportation is provided from CTI).

Eligibility and Cost

  • The camp is open to any Arizona high school sophomore, junior or senior.
  • To apply, please complete the application below.
  • The camp costs $180, but tuition waivers are available based on need. (The fee covers camp costs for the weekend, but if the fee is a barrier to applying, please see the application for the waiver request option.)

Apply by June 8, 2012 for this great summer opportunity!

Business ideas submitted as part of application
At the start of the camp, the attending students and mentors will evaluate all the ideas presented and vote on the ones they want to work on. Please complete the application to tell us about your plan to start changing the world this summer!

 

Pop-up Gangplank at Cronkite

Cronkite 300x93 Pop up Gangplank at CronkiteGangplankhas partnered with Arizona State University to provide a popup workspace on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus for the summer.

The workspace, located in room 256 of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, will be available from June 4th-August 17th, Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm. The space is open to everyone and will include weekly programs available to the public as well.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton applauded the partnership as a prime example of creating a culture of urban entrepreneurship.

“This is exactly what our city needs at exactly the right time,” Stanton said. “Phoenix is rising out of this recession, but in order to break that boom-and-bust cycle of the past, we need innovative ideas generated by incubators and startups to drive Arizona’s economy toward future success. Phoenix needs to lead with a diverse and sustainable economy that gets them off the ground.”

Stanton has pushed for fostering public/private partnerships between universities, community colleges, the business community and nonprofit organizations to provide new incubator space for startup companies, where they can access office space, technology and amenities to foster their success.

Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School and university vice provost, said that collaborations such as this create a great sense of community.

cronkite 300x221 Pop up Gangplank at Cronkite

Photo by Ehrlich Architects

“The services Gangplank provides to the Valley are innovative in style and method,” Callahan said. “Their presence in Downtown Phoenix will enable those resources to reach new audiences that range from local businesses to students.”

Gangplank will host an open house on Friday, June 8th, from noon-2:00pm to showcase the popup space and discuss plans for summer workshops. Information will be provided to visitors on how the space can be used.

If you are interested in getting involved with the space, let us know!

Sponsor the first Gangplank-centric conference

conference2 300x108 Sponsor the first Gangplank centric conferenceGangplank is about humans – connecting with one another, creating together and building strong communities. Our model is focused on civic engagement and economic development through social capital. The participants in our space give back with their time and skills, fostering a deeper investment in their local community.

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, we rely on our partners to keep our work sustainable and innovative. In exchange, you have the opportunity to tie your brand to our creative and cutting-edge community, associating your company with the startup and entrepreneur scene.

Our Gangplank Director’s Conference brings together the top leaders from our national network and immerses them in the Gangplank culture and our relationship with the local community. Additionally, our ‘Walk the Plank’ conference on Friday invites community and government leaders from all over Arizona to come learn more about our innovative model.

Interested in being a part of the inaugural Gangplank gathering? Below are our sponsorship levels. Email katie(at)gangplankhq.com to connect your company.

Sailor (Meal Sponsor) — $100 (3 spots remaining)
Company name/logo listed on our site
Thank you & recognition during the meal you sponsor
Opportunity to display a sign or banner on the food table
Hand out materials, swag, other relevant materials
Option to pay food vendors directly
Two tickets to the private mixer on Friday, June 22nd

Gunner — $250 (1 spots remaining)
Logo on Gangplank Director’s Conference t-shirt
Company name/logo listed on our site
Thank you & recognition during welcome & ‘Walk the Plank’ event Friday
Opportunity to hang banners at ‘Walk the Plank’
Hand out materials, swag, other relevant materials
Two tickets to the private mixer on Friday, June 22nd

Captain — $500 (1 spot remaining)
Custom survey of the startup community (we can create survey & produce report)
Thank you blog posted to all Gangplank location social sites (Facebook/Twitter)
Offer a prize to a team or individual via raffle/vote. (eg. iPhone, netbook, software)
All benefits of the Gunner sponsorship
Four tickets to the private mixer on Friday, June 22nd

Pirate King — $1,000 (1 spot remaining)
Invitation to address attendees for 3 minutes.
Headlining sponsor of ‘Walk the Plank’ with naming alongside Gangplank
All benefits of the Captain sponsorship
Six tickets to the private mixer on Friday, June 22nd

Take the Gangplank Community Survey

Susan Baier of Audience Audit, has donated her services to help us learn more about our audience and messaging. Your feedback will help us better understand the Gangplank community.

You do not need to be a regular, or even a fan to participate. We’re looking for feedback from anyone that’s heard of us, so please pass the link along to others throughy our networks. Your responses are completely anonymous.

Here’s the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Gangplank

If you complete the survey by the end of the next Friday (5/25) will be entered in a sweepstakes to win a $100 Amazon.com gift card. The survey will close on June 1st and results will be presented in a blog post, as well as the June 20th Gangplank Chandler brownbag.

The more responses we get, the more statistical significant the data – so take 15 minutes of your time and help us learn more about this fantastic movement.

‘Walk the Plank’ Unconference

This year, Gangplank will be hosting our first event focused exclusively on immersing others in the Gangplank philosophy on Friday, June 22nd, 2012. The ‘Walk the Plank’ Unconference is open to individuals interested in learning more about the Gangplank model, as well as discussing the impact of collaboration on various industries. The event will take place in Downtown Chandler, Arizona. Continue reading

Pardon Our Dust

Gangplank’s growth over the past year has created a fantastic network of talent, mentors and Gangplank culture, allowing Gangplank to continue to innovate.

With this growth, we’ve been making changes in order to better serve the local Gangplank communities, as well as give you the opportunity to learn about HQ’s larger vision.

As part of this mission, we have been separating Gangplank HQ updates and notifications from local Gangplank information. The latest improvement has been to our websites. Continue reading