Update from Lauren Smart, Volunteer Content Writer for Rainforest Alberta — yeg
Last week, I published this blog around my experience as a volunteer with Rainforest Alberta-Edmonton and reflections on some of the conversations I have had with entrepreneurs who are frustrated about the lack of opportunities to connect with their peers or find opportunities to move their companies forward.
Since that time, there has been a lot of conversation about this topic and I wanted to share some of the lessons learned.
- Audience and tone matter a lot, and I missed the mark. There are a lot of highly engaged members of the innovation ecosystem, including many entrepreneurs who give of their time to move our community forward. I was writing to motivate unengaged people to come off the sidelines, and in doing so implied that no one was doing the heavy lifting of community-building.
- There are lots of ways to get involved in the community and showing up events is just one option. As part of the response to this article, I joined the YEG Startup Community slack and had conversations with many members around the pros and cons of my position, and the impact it had on them. I'm grateful that the community is open and encourages dialogue, and holds me accountable to build together, listen to constructive feedback, and make positive changes.
- Intent and impact can get tricky when you wear multiple hats in one community. In my role as a volunteer with Rainforest Alberta, my intent was to have a light-hearted approach and highlight some of the events I think are great and would benefit from having more entrepreneurs in the room. The impact was very different and came across as a critique of entrepreneurs not showing up to service provider-led events, especially viewed through the lens of my role at EEDC serving the innovation ecosystem.
I value the opportunity to have conversations like the one that came out of this blog post, and it is an example of how engaged the innovation ecosystem is in Edmonton. I look forward to meeting even more members of this diverse and spirited community in the future.