Coworking Alliance Summit 2024

Mar 15, 2024
Coworking Alliance Summit 2024

Cobot was proud to sponsor this year's Coworking Alliance Summit, organized and hosted by Ashley Proctor (Coworking Canada) and Hector Kolonas.

Covering a wide range of topics, this year's Summit included a wide array of topics and calls to action, from the loneliness epidemic, to a call for greater diversity within the coworking world.

Keynotes and Calls to Action

DeShawn Brown

Kicking off the Summit was DeShawn Brown, CEO at Coworks. As the Summit is all about Alliances, DeShawn spoke about the BIPOC Alliance, which is seeking to bring together coworking space owners, operaters and managers who are part of the Black, Indigenous and People of Color Community.

Having fell in love with coworking, DeShawn saw a lack of representation amongst speakers during events and conference, which led him to get involved with the BIPOC Alliance. In addition, DeShawn presented the IDEA Project, which also seeks to increase inclusivity within the coworking industry.

Jerome Chang

Jerome Chang was next to speak, an architect from LA and founder of People of Coworking. Jerome was seeks to also improve diversity in the coworking industry and also invites industry members to make a pledge. The pledge is that people speaking at events and conferences should refuse, if there is not enough diversity in the speakers at events.

Iris Kavanagh

The Topic of collective ownership and the importance of Alliances was the next topic, discussed by Iris Kavanagh.

The question “Why is it important to discuss alliances and collective ownership?” Elicited many responses from participants.

“We are not alone”Bernie J Mitchell

“To make sure no one is left behind” — Lauren Walker

“Strength in numbers” — DeShawn Brown

“Inclusion growth and community building” — Josephine Rossi

“We (in diversely owned cooperatives) should strive to own the buildings and spaces, so we can be more free in what we do and how we do it. We should see our community as the starting point for transformative change (in the sense of the coworking manifest).” — Christopher Schmidhofer

Following Iris's discussion, Ashley Proctor presented Creative Bluprint — Indigenous leadership. Which works in partnership with neighborhood resident, community organizers, coworking leaders and many more, to build bridges and share a new model of work.

As a case study, Ashley presented Kensigton Market, Toronto to display a cultural melting pot that is fighting to keep its identity in the face of gentrification. The local community Land Trust has raised funds in order to keep the local property and businesses in the hands of the local community, in order to ensure they have a say in their future.

This project shows the strength of local alliances, not just against gentrification but as a way for people to leverage soft power and guide policy.

Tony Bacigalupo

Tony Bacigalupo was next to speak, on the topic of the loneliness epidemic, and belonging. Having opened his first coworking space in New York City, Tony has focused on trying to break the disconnectedness many have felt from friends, themselves, communities and neighborhoods.

The goal is getting people to connect and fostering social connection. In order to achieve this, Tony has put forward three action points that can foster such change:

  • Raise awareness — working from home is bad for you (or at least not good)
  • Host great programming
  • Track impact & engage public officials

These points are exemplified in 'New Town Meet-up', which encourages people new to town, in this instance in Norwalk, Connecticut, to join an event which even includes the local Mayor. Make sure to check out the event here if you are interested in the concept.

Breakout Sessions

Following the keynote speakers, there were breakout sessions to discuss topics ranging from collective collaborations and community partnerships, to collective ownership.

These sessions allowed participants to delve deeper into the presented talking points, as well as industry discussions and problem-solving.

The summit itself was a great display of how united and diverse the industry has become, with participants and speakers from around the world.

Make sure to check out the Alliance summit website for more information.

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