A Journey’s End

Guest 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.

My Week at GPAvondale

Guest post by Katie Hurst, Gangplank HQ Operations Director

I feel in love with Gangplank Avondale when I first saw the building. Hidden spaces under the stairs, a real bank vault…what’s not to love? The possibilities for creating a fun, open work environment were endless.

But it wasn’t until I returned nearly five months after the opening that I saw those opportunities being realized.

Last week, I decided to tag along with Gangplank Chandler Anchor Customer Systems, Inc., as they visited our west-side cousins for a few days. So we trekked our stuff (and some new IKEA desks!) the 42 miles from Downtown Chandler and set-up shop on the bottom floor of GPA. The drive isn’t that bad when you’ve got a driving buddy, by the way (Thanks Ed & Tim!).

There were so many things that blew me away about the West Valley. To begin, let’s talk about the food. You wouldn’t know it from the highway, but Avondale is home to a ton of great local restaurants, tucked away in the corners of strip malls. We enjoyed bento boxes at Goodyear’s Tomo Japanese Cuisine & Sushi and chicken shawarma at the Pita Kitchen. On Friday, the brownbag speaker was from local hot spot Caballero Grill and graciously provided amazing pork sandwiches for attendees. Of course, no trip to Gangplank Avondale would complete without a happy hour run to the Sonic next door for half priced slushies (Cherry Limeade ftw).

Even better than the food variety is the diverse array of projects happening in the West Valley. On Thursday night, GPAvondale hosted its first ‘After Hours’ event, inviting the community to hang out and work from 6:00-10:00pm. Around 25 people showed up to share what they were working on and collaborate. One group included Eric Torres and his game, Iconica: The World of Rynaga. From their website – “Set in the fictional World of Rynaga, Iconica blends turn-based strategy with a twist of chance for a unique card game experience that’s easy to learn, but a challenge to master.” The group hopes to meet monthly at GPAvondale to play Iconica and other RPGs, as well as work out any kinks. Other projects included an traffic stoplight Arduino project, a web series discussion and building a display case for a local invention.

The best part about GPAvondale? The people. Gangplank locations attract good people who want to engage with their local community and each other. I had a lot of fun (and laughs) talking with people about their projects, what ideas they have for Gangplank and things they’d like to learn more about. Of course, any group of folks that can put up with my constant running around and random dancing must be a pretty accepting bunch =)

Check out their next brownbag this Friday, ‘Storyrise: Stories of the Journey‘ at noon.




Global Entrepreneurship Week

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors—introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

Gangplank hopes to bring together the creativity, innovation and communities from our locations across the U.S. for GEW, November 12-18, 2012.

We are looking for individuals from each site who are passionate about promoting entrepreneurship as a way of life to join Gangplank’s GEW Planning Committee. If you are interested, please fill out the form below and our Global Operations Director will be in touch with you shortly. We look forward to working with you!

GP's Global Entrepreneurship Week Planning Committee

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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.

Attendees 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

Gangplankhas 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.

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

Gangplank 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