Another Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC) has come and gone.
After having incredible experiences while attending previous GCUC events in Montreal and New York, Vancouver definitely did not disappoint. This year’s conference got to the real, ugly, and often uncomfortable issues we face as a society in today’s world.
A host of panel discussions, examining the pulse of coworking both here and globally, where we are going, icebreakers, and a happy hour (that turned into hours and hours and hours) at Vancouver’s Revolving Restaurant. Good silly fun (including waltzing in a karaoke dive bar) with our newest best friends, and those dear souls we only get to see once or twice per year.
And then shit got real.
The unconference is where the true magic happens. We develop the sessions and agenda together as a team and then break out into smaller groups to delve deep into the various topics.
The overriding theme of this year’s unconference sessions that I attended was one of vulnerability. And exploring one's vulnerability more specifically within women in coworking, reconciliation, diversity, inclusiveness, and the biggie - mental health.
As someone who struggles with her own mental health issues, I realized that too often I put on a brave face and a big smile in order to be the rock for you all, our beloved community members. Being surrounded by a group of people at the conference who get it, and who are often in that same position within their own spaces, I realized just how rarely I am reaching out in order to have my own cup filled. There's my homework...
Our final day is where we leave our seats and take to the streets. Exploring the many coworking spaces that Vancouver has to offer. Ideas are shared, imaginations stretched, and a final chance to bond with the other delegates.
This conference shook me to my core. Made me have some of those hard conversations. The floodgates were opened, and I have yet to be able to turn that part off. This all has caused me to really look at my role within this community and what I can do better to foster change going forward.
We've got such an amazing community within these walls, and we can definintely keep growing and extending that love outside of our front door. Connection, companionship, and mentorship are at the heart of all that we do.
Hold tight those you care for. Tell them you love them every damn day. Reach out if you need help. And please remember you are not alone. As the larger-than-life Vanessa Richards of host space 312 Main put it, coworking spaces are in the business of “dismantling loneliness”. We've got this, friends.
Leaving Vancouver was so very bittersweet, but coming home - to this space and to you all - has been so very, very good.
On a lighter note, please check out some of the great moments I captured (as well as photos stolen from some of my pals who were there with me). Mmmm.... so juicy....