We're Not Giggling. We're Creating The Change We Want to See in Our Community
A friend of mine recently referred to me as a silent warrior. I may not be big on posting updates on my daily life or my political beliefs, but from time to time I ask myself these three questions:
- Does it need to be said?
- Does it need to be said by me?
- Does it need to be said by me, right now?
I moved to Prescott in December of 2006; it's hard for me to believe I've been here over 11 years now. In those eleven years I've heard plenty of complaining about this and that in our community, and I'll admit I've done my fair share of it (mostly in the privacy of my home). But I eventually get tired of hearing my own complaints and reach a point where I ask myself, "What are you going to do about it, Melanie?"
Does it need to be said? Yes
Five years ago I started a women's business networking group called Girls GOT Prescott. It now has around 400 members between our meetup site and our Facebook Group. Several times I questioned whether I "should" remove or change the word 'Girls' in the title. Why? I wondered if it might sound too young for some of the women who don't want to be viewed as a girl. Or because it may sound demeaning, or immature, or like some sort of loose college girls group, or whatever. Bottom line I chose the title simply because we're a female focused group and I felt it flowed well with the acronym G.O.T., which stands for Get Out There! Get out there with your business and get out there and be active. That's it.
The title I chose now makes me cringe a little. It makes it sound like we are just going to braid each other’s hair, gossip about boys and giggle - which is obviously untrue. Part of why I do what I do is to offer a safe place to nurture women's confidence in business and in life, and to help us become strong leaders in our community - by 'Doing' something. By taking risks, spending our money on things that make a difference, and changing old, outdated ways of doing things in this town so that we can live in a place that is alive and thriving. I personally want to live in a community that truly considers the wide demographics that lives here (or wants to live here) - young and old and everyone in between.
Does it need to be said by me? Yes
There are a lot of wonderful changes happening in good old Prescott. And it may take a few years before the impact of these changes are seen, felt and understood by our community. But one thing is for certain - change is constant. How we respond to, direct, and influence the change is up to us.
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to open a coworking space in Prescott is because I want to stop complaining and do something that creates the change I want to see in my community. I'm taking a risk, I'm putting a lot of my own time and money on the line, and I'm stretching outside of my comfort zone far more than I ever have before by asking individuals, local business owners, and our local government to help support the project as well.
WingSpace is not going to be a place just for women. It's a place for ALL thinkers, doers and idea makers - men and women, young and old. It's a place where we can work the way we want to work, doing the kind of work we want to do in the world, and a place to gather and put our thoughts and ideas into action.
Of course I still envision creating women focused programming, as well as programming that supports anyone who wants to explore entrepreneurship, and learn what it really takes to start, grow and sustain a business in this town. We learn by trying and failing. We learn by being around others who have been there and done that. We learn by teaching each other and sharing what we know because we wish others had done that for us when we were getting started. We learn by pushing through the hard stuff while being surrounded by plenty of supportive people who will give us the space to vent, cry, dream and fail without judgment.
I've researched and studied the coworking industry, and I'm now part of large community of coworking catalysts who own and operate coworking spaces throughout the United States. I hear their stories of the positive impact their coworking spaces have had on their communities and it inspires me to up my game to learn more and do more.
I've also been meeting with as many thinkers, doers and idea makers as I can in our community to know who should be brought into WingSpace to teach us what they know, how they did it, and how to sustain it. I want to bring in the people who have created successful businesses here in this town, because they understand the intricacies that it takes to do it here. Someone from a big city doesn't know the Prescott area and they don't understand the dynamics and the history that drives it.
Does it need to be said by me, right now? Yes
If this sounds like the kind of change you want to see in this town, then this is your opportunity to do something about it. I invite you, challenge you, and ask you to either become a member of WingSpace, or make a contribution to our crowdfunding campaign. Together we can make this happen. Learn More
About the Author:
Melanie Banayat, Founder of WingSpace.biz
Melanie is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, Author of Stretch Your Brave, Hack Your Story, and an avid supporter of the 'self-employed'. She's hell-bent on bringing together a community of like-minded, business-focused people in the Greater Prescott Area to create the change we want to see in this area (because our community is way more than just about retirement and tourism).