Last week, I spent two days at the Governor's Summit for Rural Prosperity. Among all the policy-makers, delegates and lobbyists, I felt like a fish out of water. I know that advocacy is an essential part of ecosystem building, but having rarely moved in these circles, I was far outside my comfort zone trying to keep up in conversations and asking half-way meaningful questions.
Next week, I'll be competing in a lip sync battle to raise funds for Any Given Child, a local non-profit that ensures arts education for all children in our region. I wouldn't consider fake singing nor dancing like Harry Styles my strengths (don't tell my team that I had to google Harry Styles to find out what we were going for). I'll be - once again - outside of my comfort zone, in front of hundreds of people.
Leaving our comfort zones is emerging as a theme this quarter, and certainly in season 4:
- Addressing tension? Outside of my comfort zone.
- Facing conflict? Outside of my comfort zone.
- Having difficult conversations? DEFINITELY outside of my comfort zone.
With any luck, I'll be a little more comfortable outside of my comfort zone by the end of this season. And I hope you'll come along on this journey with me and the seven ecosystem builders who are sharing their experiences in season 4!
Conflict is part of ecosystem building
To kick off season 4, I unpack my uncomfortable relationship with conflict and share why social capital matters in what we do:
We need to listen more than we talk
Fay Horwitt talks about a common root cause of conflict in ecosystem building, and how we can best address it.
I come across a lot of resources that I think every ecosystem builder should get their hands on. While I share them far and wide on many channels (mostly LinkedIn & Instagram), I love curating a list of the best insights, opportunities and resources for you:
- The lovely Esme Verity of Considered Capital put together a funding resource library for founders of all stripes. You can now download the Considered Directory of funders and fundraising opportunities for the UK and Germany. The latter was developed in collaboration with the equally lovely Naomi Ryland which makes my Zebra-heart so happy!
- The good people at Start.Coop are hiring a programs and operations manager (U.S.-based, remote).
- Social Chemistry. Decoding the patterns of human behavior is an excellent read for anyone interested in building genuine relationships in networks.
- In episode 2 Fay recommends The Rainforest. The secret to building the next Silicon Valley by Victor Hwang & Greg Horowitt. Whether you're new to ecosystem building or need a refresher - this textbook doesn't get old.
- I had a great conversation with an impact investing fund that is looking to invest $20k - $60k into startups headquartered that work in community development (affordable housing, access to justice, etc.). If this is you, or you know of a startup that fits the bill, please reply to or forward this email - I'll be happy to make an introduction!
I'll be back in your inbox in two weeks to introduce you to two more ecosystem builders who are good at building social capital, to share my favorite resources, and to remind you that what you do matters!
P.S. For those of you who want in on next week's lip sync battle, you can get your tickets here (if you're in the Shenandoah Valley) and you can buy your votes for Team Katie (you can vote from anywhere in the world!) here!