One of my favorite proverbs, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”, sums up everything I believe about community.
Today, more than ever, being part of a community is invaluable. The pandemic has isolated us causing greater stress handling a chaotic world. Working from home, we may find ourselves disengaging from others who kept us motivated.
While most of us are members of various organizations, clubs, and networking groups, not all build community. There is a significant difference.
I get asked a lot what I mean by “community”. I’ve found the best way to understand the community difference is to ask yourself these four questions.
#1. Can you let your true self show when you are with your group, or do you find yourself acting how you think others expect you to act?
Community happens when members give each other permission to be themselves. Being vulnerable and authentic comes naturally and are rewarded with trusting and supportive relationships. You’ve heard of imposter syndrome, haven’t you? Well, that doesn’t exist within a community.
#2. Do you feel a genuine connection with the members of your group?
A connection means that you’ve gone beyond the surface to get to know other members and to understand their strengths and their particular needs. In community there’s a willingness to help one another face challenges and celebrate achievements without judgment. There’s no scorecard to track how many people I’ve helped and how many have helped me. Because within community, we genuinely wish our fellow members to succeed along with us.
#3. When you’re with your group, is it ok for you to voice a different idea or perspective?
Within a community, exploring diverse perspectives are encouraged because it opens our eyes to new ideas and points of view that we may never have otherwise considered. It’s how we learn and grow as individuals and as community. We may not always agree, but we do respect each other’s right to disagree.
That leads to my last question.
#4. Does your group support your growth?
Sharing of good and not so good experiences is a great way to learn. Openness and curiosity enrich our understanding making us more aware, more productive and leads to continuous personal and professional growth. We all want to keep growing, right?
Community is not just about you or about me, it’s about the collective us.
Whether you seek a business community such as Suite Spotte’s Go-To-Grow community, or a community of fitness or wine enthusiasts, find a group that empowers you to be the best you can be. Such a community will fill you with energy, joy, and give you the confidence to grow far beyond what you ever imagined.
Make the wise choice. Choose community and go far together.
Suite Spotte’s member community is joining forces during these tough times to help the restaurants located where our members live, work, and play.
For our weekly HOT Seat meeting, participating Suite Spotte members will buy their lunch from one of two local restaurants selected the prior week.
Our intent is to share our weekly picks through social media with our neighbors and friends to encourage them to also buy their lunch or dinner from our selected restaurants on our HOT Seat days.
Everybody’s got to eat, so why not enjoy a great meal and help a fellow business neighbor.
What’s the HOT Seat?
Since 2015, Suite Spotters participate in a weekly, member-driven entrepreneurial “HOT” Seat. In the past, we’ve grabbed our lunches (usually purchased from a local restaurant) and gathered in one of the Suite Spotte conference rooms. Since the Stay-At-Home order, our HOT Seat has become virtual via a weekly Zoom meeting. All members from Suite Spotte Forest Park and La Grange are welcome to join the call.
After briefly updating each other on what’s new, one member is chosen to share an idea or knowledge they recently acquired, recommend a new tool that has helped them, or ask for feedback on a problem they have encountered. It’s that last part that gave this weekly gathering the name “HOT” Seat.
Members respond by delving deeper into the problem the HOT Seater is struggling with and then brainstorm ideas on how it may be solved.
We’ve seen amazing results come out of this one-hour meeting. Ideas for new marketing strategies, sharing of new technology, new resources identified, and the start of new collaborations among members to launch a new product (e.g., Fluid Running H2Go).
The creativity and power of our Suite Spotter community is boundless. During these challenging times, we want to use our collective energy for the benefit of our member community and beyond to the greater local community. When neighbors help each other, the whole community thrives.
…in all honesty our Suite Spotte suburban coworking community is blessed with a lot of winners. But this month we’re featuring one of the special ones, Shannon Lucas, a member of the RyTech digital marketing team, and a 2019 WSCCI Regional 30 Under 40 Award recipient.
You’re a digital marketing professional Shannon — why did you decide to follow that path?
I graduated from Loras College in 2013 with a degree in Business Management. Being in college as social media was really beginning to takeoff, I always knew it was going to play a huge role in my life….and here I am at RyTech, a full service digital marketing agency.
Tell us Shannon, what’s a typical day like for you at RyTech?
Most of my days are spent engaging with social media accounts online, reading up and keeping up-to-speed on the latest trends and tech features, and creating unique and innovative strategies for each of my clients, whether through social media or email.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do?
Hands down it’s collaborating with clients to grow their organizations, and then coming up with new ways to get the word out about all of the great work they’re doing in the community!
When you’re not working digital wizardry, what do you like to do?
I love spending time with my friends and family, attending Chicago Blackhawk and White Sox games (big fan!), and hanging with my Cockapoo puppy, Shep, who turns one the first week of June! Happy Birthday Shep!!
You were just awarded the West Suburban Chamber of Commerce Regional 30 Under 40 Award. Congrats! Who nominated you?
I was so proud to be nominated by a client, Barb Kartzmark with the Western Springs Park District, whom I have been working with for the past year! It was truly a surprise, and I’m really grateful to Barb for her support. It’s also quite the honor to represent RyTech within our local community.
What does it mean to you to be a Regional 30 Under 40 Award recipient?
This is my first professional award, so it really means a lot!! What even made it more special was that a client took time out of their busy day to nominate me for the Award. This has also set into motion my plan to be an EGOT Winner!
What are three words to best describe you and your work ethic?
Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself Shannon! If you’re looking to make your digital mark with high quality and consistency, our award-winning, Suite Spotter Shannon Lucas has what you need!
We recently had the chance to sit down with Suite Spotte member, Mike Lambert to learn more about who he is and what he’s up to. When we say that Mike is one of the smartest and nicest guys around, that’s not an exaggeration. Read on and we’re sure you will agree.
Tell us how you got to where you are today professionally?
My brother made me an entrepreneur. He had his own businesses for awhile, and I would help him out on the side. We finally stumbled on something with one of those side projects, and the rest is history. Two months later, I gave my notice and joined him. That was 16 years ago.
Then in 2016 I met fellow Suite Spotter Jennifer Conroyd, Founder of Fluid Running, an app-based, fully coached, deep water running workout. That was the start of what was to become an amazing business collaboration.
What is the most rewarding part of the work you do?
With Fluid Running, we reach out to people who are in pain with an injury or condition, or lost hope in making it to a race or marathon. We give them an option to keep exercising or training through it and they recover quicker. It’s great to find someone on social media, tell them about our product, and have them tell the world how much it helped them.
How and why did you get involved with Fluid Running?
At the Suite Spotte weekly entrepreneur “hot seat” lunches, I would listen to Jennifer talk about how Fluid Running works, and helps so many people. I began to think how great it would be for my Aunt down in Florida to use it.
I approached Jennifer with an idea to make it into a DIY product, and we set off to make it happen. Less than a year later, my Aunt became one of the first users of the Fluid Running H2Go system, and she loves it.
What brought you to Suite Spotte?
I had been working in a coworking office in the city for a couple years before we moved to La Grange in 2014. My expectation was to jump on the train to go to an office downtown. When I took a chance on searching for one closer, I was surprised to see one in downtown La Grange. I booked a tour right away, and have been here since.
With all the innovation you’re driving at work, what do you like to do when you’re not working?
With three little girls, I spend a lot of time with the family. We like to travel, and often go to Italy where my wife is from. I enjoy golf when I can, and make it to my fair share of Cubs games every summer. I love hanging out in Wrigley and other parts of Chicago.
If I were to speak with your colleagues, what three words would they use to describe you?
Helpful, tech savvy, and a good listener. (Yes, yes and yes. We can give you a whole list of examples of all three of these characteristics in action here at Suite Spotte. Instead we encourage you to come to Suite Spotte and meet Mike.)
Thanks for sharing a little about yourself with us Mike! This post is a great example of the collaborative community we’ve built here at Suite Spotte. Members exchange ideas, feedback, and referrals all the time. People join Suite Spotte initially for the space, but stay for the community. Take the first step to achieving your #suitesuccess. Book a tour today!
You can say “Good Morning” to a fellow coworker each day and spend time together in the kitchen waiting for the microwave to warm up your egg and bacon biscuit sandwich; yet you may never really know how awesome they truly are.
Over the next few months, we’re going to dig a bit deeper into the lives of our Suite Spotte members in Forest Park and La Grange. It’s going be fun learning about and sharing their amazing talents and little known factoids.
Fatenah in Arabic garb
In honor of International Women’s Day, we bring you a recent conversation we had with Suite Spotter Fatenah Issa, who we are blessed to work with here in Forest Park.
Let’s start with your background. Tell us: Who is Fatenah Issa?
I’m the daughter of immigrants. My family is originally from Baghdad, Iraq. So basically I grew up between two cultures that tended to be more out of sync. I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything.
My father came to the US on a student VISA in 1957, went back to Baghdad and married my mom in 1969, then brought her to the States. They were here the rest of their lives. Their names are commemorated on the American Immigrant Wall of Honor.
I follow a vegan lifestyle. I’ve been vegan for 9 years and vegetarian 13 years prior to that. This is incredibly important to me from all avenues: health, animal rights, environmental issues, as well as just trying to save the planet!
What about your work life? Tell us about the professional you.
I am an instructional designer, which is a fancy way of saying “educational architect.” I currently work for Orbis Education, an OPM (outsourced program management) firm that specializes in partnering with universities across the country to help develop health sciences programming.
What’s your favorite thing about your work?
There are two actually:
I love to learn and I love to share! I’m constantly investigating new research and best practices to bring the best student experiences to online higher ed courses.
I thrive on discussion. So having members of my team available to “talk shop” and brainstorm is key for me.
In costume for the Newberry performance — Ouled Nail garb
Pick three words that best describe you.
Curious, humble, caring
When you unplug from your instructional design work, what do you do?
There are several things I love to do to help with the work-life balance.
I study Middle Eastern dance at Pineapple Dance Studio right here in Forest Park. We learn a variety of dance styles and get the opportunity to perform.
The last major performance was at the Newberry Library, where we performed choreographies similar to what would have been performed at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Here’s the blurb from their site.
Threatened by a fearful Dalek, a gold metal monster
I’m also an avid Doctor Who fan! I’ve been a fan since I was 8 years old. Not only do I enjoy watching but I help run conventions. One where I’ve helped run for close to 15 years in the registration department is Gallifrey One, a Doctor Who convention that has now been running for 30 years! The link is to the staff list, where I’m named under the registration team.
I’m an Ambassador for the Sugar Beet Food Co-op in Oak Park. During the warmer months I volunteer my time to help run the Sugar Beet table at the Oak Park Farmer’s Market. I also help promote various events there via social media.
Flotsam, Jetsam, and Duncan — the overlords
Lastly, I’m just a very happy cat mom. Three furry overlords run my home (I just pay the mortgage…they run the place really 🙂 ).
What’s your favorite thing about being a member at Suite Spotte?
The atmosphere that Sue has created in the space is just incredible. It’s a lovely alternative to working from home (which by the way is less than a 10 minute drive for me).
Also, the other members are super friendly. Even though we stem from different industries there are challenges we all face, which helps when I need to brainstorm.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
My gut reaction to this question is that the day honors our voice, our contributions to the world, as well as reemphasizing the dire need for equality. The work continues to ensure gender equality. We’ve come so far. At the same time there’s still work to be done.
Thank you Fatenah for sharing your amazing life with all of us. You are smart, talented, delightful, and have the best laugh ever!! Stay tuned next month when we delve into the life of another Suite Spotter. Happy International Women’s Day! #BalanceforBetter