RADIUS Fellow Brielle Morgan reports back on the Fellowship program’s packed public event ConcAUCTION: Ask. Source. Connect., hosted this Monday at the HiVE. You can also check out how it went down on Twitter.
You wouldn’t know it by the way I dropped an expletive (twice) and sort of pranced about on the spot (twice), but I actually practiced my ‘ask’ quite a few times. I was nervous. And not because I worried everyone would wah-wah my idea and tomato my face, but because I could feel this supportive energy in the room and I didn’t want to disappoint.
All in all, I believe 37 people got up on stage to deliver a 45-second project elevator pitch / ask combo. I asked RADIUS fellow Patrick Lee how he was feeling prior to getting up to share his big idea.
“I’m feeling good about making an ask because I’m looking for help with a project and I could really use the help, so I’m optimistic that hopefully somebody in the audience will respond.”
And respond they did. With every new speaker, hands shot up and volunteers shot out with stickers in hand. By the end of the night, the room was full of people with 4s, 7s, 22s and 30s on their shirts. The numbers corresponded with an asker’s number, indicating they connected with the idea shared and/or wanted to support the asker in some way.
It felt great to be approached by someone interested in supporting my project. I was especially touched by people who came up to me to say that while they didn’t really know how they could help, they just wanted to tell me they like my idea.
I asked RADIUS fellow Debbie Yeh what she thought of the asks she’d heard.
“There’s lots of need in the community and it’s inspiring to see that there’s people out there that recognize that need and have really innovative ways of wanting to work with other people to solve them.”
Our charismatic host, actor and emcee Wayne Stewart, was equally inspired.
“I’m glad that there are so many people trying to do stuff… doing stuff is better than not doing stuff and complaining about stuff not being done.”
Exactly, I thought. The ideas we heard were wide-ranging. We heard from someone working with marginalized women on a soap-making / story-sharing initiative, someone planning a cooking competition for street-involved youth, someone working to combat underemployment by connecting students with employers to work on short-term projects, and someone working to build capacities for post-conflict societies.
It was interesting to hear why everyone had come to the event.
“I came to this event to connect with interesting people who live in Vancouver who are doing cool things and so far I’m enjoying the event. I like the vibe,” said Roohi Sahajpal. She was one of the volunteers running around and sticker-ing people.
Sophie Major, a soon-to-be grad student, said, “I’m really excited about how the event went. I have met way more people than I expected to that are doing great things.”
Business student Anna Migicovsky told me, “I volunteer at RADIUS and I believe that RADIUS is such an important community enterprise for Vancouver.”
By the end of the evening, a distinct kumbaya-feeling had officially taken hold. RADIUS fellow Maya Goodwill articulated it well.
“I feel like a big goal of the [RADIUS Fellows] program is just for all of us to be really good friends. People are maybe in a little bit of a different sector, but they’re right there with you – friendship and belonging and deep connection. I think it’s great.”
It was Maya who lead the group in collectively embarrassing RADIUS Fellowship program leader Jennifer McRae, who in turn lead us in collectively embarrassing RADIUS founder Shawn Smith – by singing happy birthday. This moment of throwing-US-a-big-thing-on-THEIR-birthdays was indicative of these leaders’ generosity.
At our weekly Monday meetings, Jenn is the last to leave – packing up the giant flipchart, stacking chairs and tidying the kitchen. And Shawn always has an ear for you – whether you bump into him at an East Van coffee shop or at an official RADIUS event.
It’s this spirit of generosity that made concAUCTION work. And it’s this spirit of generosity that makes our weekly Monday fellowship meetings so rewarding. Thank you to everyone who has shown support for the RADIUS fellowship program.
(Now come ride the train with us and we can idea-jam into the wee hours together…)