Call to Action: Forming a BIPOC Coworking Alliance
Challenge #29 – Call to Action: Forming a BIPOC Coworking Alliance
It started rather informally. Coworks had a handful of black-owned or operated coworking spaces that use our software, and we introduced them to one another. Then we added a few more spaces, and made some more introductions. But it was informal, and simply an opportunity for a handshake.
And it didn’t feel like enough.
Then we heard the conversations happening in various groups about a lack of representation and calls for diversity going unheeded. I saw it myself as I attended the big US-based events: a distinct lack of black and brown faces among the attendees — and especially among those on stage.
With these factors in mind, the BIPOC Coworking Alliance is taking shape.
The membership welcomes all with the ultimate goal of bringing together coworking, flex, and hybrid workspace owners, operators, and managers who identify as part of the BIPOC community or who operate a space with a mission to support members of that community.
As of right now, the Alliance has three goals:
- Connecting BIPOC coworking professionals
- Sharing resources and expertise on coworking operations and community management
- Elevating subject matter experts to ensure more diverse voices are heard.
We want coworking events to be welcoming. While we’re not organizing them, we don’t want anyone to walk into a room and not feel welcome or represented.
This didn’t come easily, if I’m honest. Does coworking need another alliance? Are we the right organization to spearhead it? I ask those questions again and again. But it’s something I’m passionate about, and enthusiastic about what it can help achieve.
Inaction isn’t an option.
While others are doing the important work to educate the wider industry about the need for inclusivity, I think we can establish a platform and a program that will help bring more chairs to the table, and deepen connections across the industry.
We’ll be hosting multiple ideation sessions with folks who have asked to be part of these early conversations. The goal will be to capture what people would like to see happen in an Alliance such as this, and what role it can play going forward.
So our June 2023 Coworking IDEA Challenge looks like this:
- What does your community look like today?
- Can you put data to your values of inclusivity?
- Who can you bring to the table right now?
- Who can you elevate today?
- Who can you share this with, so we can grow something powerful?
We want to hear what you’re thinking, what you’re working on, and we invite you to co-create this alliance.
Please register below, and join us for the Coworking IDEA Conversation on Wednesday June 28th.
DeShawn Brown is a seasoned entrepreneur and tech leader with a degree in Computer Science Engineering from North Carolina State University. He has founded several tech startup companies, including Lithios Apps and Coworks. He recently delivered a keynote at the ITEXPO Future of Work conference on “The Future is Flexible.”
He is a Google For Startups BFE 2018 Alum. Coworks is a Techstars-backed company ATL 2019. As a technologist, he finds it his duty to push the limits of our society and create products that make a difference in people’s lives.
June 28th 2023
9:00 AM PT | 12:00 PM ET
16:00 UTC | 18:00 CET