A Personal ‘Why Gangplank?’ Response

I’m noticing this odd trend among many of my friends in their mid- to late-twenties. Around about a year mark at a new job, they’ve figured out the work, developed a routine. The feelings of excitement and nervousness start to give way to boredom and frustration. They feel uninspired and wait in hopes that something will spark passion for their work again.

I hit my year mark with Gangplank in early June. There were no feelings of boredom – after all, Startup Weekend Chandler was just two weeks away! Work was just as busy and exciting as ever, as I awaited judgement by the masses on my first startup event. I was on fire, knocking out hundreds of tasks each day.

And then Startup Weekend Chandler ended. No feelings of boredom – after all, there were 60-days of Roadmap to Launch to prep and the first Extreme Pitch event to plan. But there weren’t the same feelings of relief and pleasure that follow putting on a good event once the 54-hours were over. I could feel a cloud of apathy starting to form over my head and I didn’t know how to stop it.

Extreme Pitch went off without a hitch, but still no excitement – after all, there was TEDxChandler on the horizon. My feelings of apathy only got worse. I wasn’t passionate about Gangplank anymore…I was going through the motions.

For two-and-a-half-months this went on. Answer emails, schedule mentors, edit brownbag videos, meet with Anchors, rinse and repeat. No inspiration to take on new projects, help Gangplank move forward.

Then, in late September, we were informed Gangplank had made it into the final selection round for the Arizona We Want ‘Five Communities Project’. A glimmer! This was the first successful grant proposal I had written and an opportunity for Gangplank to step onto the national nonprofit stage. And as a cherry on top, they were allowing us to pick the method for our final proposal.

Several meetings later, it was agreed telling the Gangplank story and expressing our value visually would be much more compelling than in a written proposal. The ‘Why Gangplank?’ campaign was born, resulting in a microsite to be filled with individual video interviews.

The video interviewing responsibility fell to me – interview Anchors, city officials, participants, kids, everyone I could fit in within a few weeks. My questions were simple:

  • What is your Gangplank Story?
  • A favorite Gangplank moment.
  • A one-word response to ‘Gangplank is’

Over four weeks, I conducted 45 interviews and listened to more than seven hours of Gangplank stories and moments.

And it was just what the doctored ordered.

It has been a privilege to hear the individual stories that have made you all a part of this community, not to mention witnessing the special place Gangplank holds in so many of your lives. No event, workshop or goal is more satisfying than sharing a conversation about the impact of Gangplank. Putting together these videos has reinspired me in my work and I hope to continue to add value to your lives.

Please check out the website dedicated to this project, WhatIsGangplank.com or visit our YouTube Channel to watch individual videos.

A tremendous thank you goes out to everyone that ‘volunteered’ to be interviewed on camera, as well as those that turned in the beautiful pictures. Also, big thumbs up to Chris Piccirillo of Building Bonanza for donating his lights for the shoot.

This project could not have been possible without the design & programming expertise of Jonathan Kressaty, as well as the writing goddess Wendy Coneybeer.

2 thoughts on “A Personal ‘Why Gangplank?’ Response

  1. Most of the writing was simply notes from Derek Neighbors, and I just arranged ’em to look pretty. But (*blushing*), I do appreciate the props. It was great working on a project about something that means so much to me.

    And thanks for all you did to drive the #WhyGP campaign, Katie. You should be very proud of the results!

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