October 12, 2017

GCUC Canada Takeaways

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Have you been following along with all of our GCUC Escapades? Last week GCUC hosted its 3 edition of GCUC Canada and it was an absolute success. While every GCUC is different, GCUC Canada is known to be our most community driven and centered. I think it is safe to say that after last weeks event, we feel even more connected, inspired, vulnerable yet strong. Amazing things are happening in the coworking ecosystem.

“GCUC Canada has a reputation for being a deep, whole-hearted dive into authenticity, community and connection. It didn’t disappoint” – Cat Johnson

Following previous GCUC Canada events at Toronto in 2015 and Montreal in 2016, in 2017 it was Vancouver’s turn to take up the mantle. GCUC Canada took place at 312 Main, Vancouver’s Centre for Social & Economic Innovation, which in itself is pretty special.

“312 Main, where the event is being held, is creating Canada’s largest and most inclusive coworking space/community,” explained Cat Johnson, author of Coworking Out Loud and Allwork.Space contributor, who was in attendance at GCUC Canada 2017.

Although still under construction, Cat describes 312 Main as a “massive and multifaceted” venue, which plans to deliver a platform for social good, community and creativity. Led by Ashley Proctor, the 312 Main team “are doing game-changing work creating a community space that has the potential to transform a ‘transitional neighborhood’”.

It’s a stunning venue that ties in neatly with the coworking community’s core values, and we’ll follow up with a closer look at 312 Main on Allwork.Space in the coming weeks.

Now back to the main event…

1. Wild Spirits

Day One of GCUC Canada 2017 kicked off with a friendly welcome from Executive Producer of GCUC Canada, Ashley Proctor, and an acknowledgement that Vancouver is on unceded Aboriginal territory.

“We were welcomed by Chamiya (Janis Campbell) from the Squamish Nation,” said Cat. “She had us moving and dancing like the eagle, wolf, raven and salmon to acknowledge and honor some of the animals of the area.”

If you’re wondering what this has to do with the coworking movement, it’s exactly that: movement. What better way to connect with the local culture and community than to embody its sacred animal spirits?

On another level, Cat notes that this acknowledgement represents opportunities to create “more cross-regional partnerships that share information and best practices”.

2. Modern Convening

Later that morning, Jocelyn Macdougall of Creative Coworkers took to the stage to discuss some of the countless ways in which coworking spaces can connect people.

“Jocelyn Macdougall shared insights into creating more diversity in coworking space,” said Cat, “not just bringing people into the room, but creating a feeling of belonging for everyone.

“It’s important to elevate voices that aren’t being heard. One good way to do this is by listening more than you talk, especially if you’re in a position of privilege.”

3. The Future of Work: Working With Purpose

Always a hot topic, it just wouldn’t be GCUC without a frank and honest discussion about the future of work and the role of coworking within it.

The panel was moderated by Ashley Proctor and consisted of Devon Carr (COHIP and The Livelihood Institute), Jenn McRae (The Urban Worker Project), Humaira Hamid (Futurpreneur) and Liz Elam of GCUC Global.

“There’s a growing number of young people wanting to work with purpose, to do work that matters,” noted Cat. “This is a huge driver and a key reason why people are choosing freelancing and coworking over corporations.”

And it’s these same people that are expected to populate future coworking spaces. “Emotional intelligence, convening, collaborating — these are all values people look for and that can be found in coworking spaces — but only if we’re doing it right.”

Crucially, coworking stands to gain based on “the ethics of collaboration over competition”, which is drawing increasing numbers of entrepreneurial-minded people away from the traditional workplace and into a more flexible, open and collaborative state of work.

Of course, this is no utopia. ‘Working with purpose’ harbours its own challenges, which isn’t burdened solely by the individual. It’s a problem shared with — and recognised by — the coworking community, and includes:

  • What does retirement look like in this new system?
  • What does maternity and paternity leave look like?
  • How do we change the conversation from ‘corporations are evil’, to finding ways that work for everyone?
  • How do we make nonprofits responsive and agile to the (dynamic) world?

“We’re testing the work models we grew up with,” added Cat. “Previous generations had lifelong connections to their employer, but now, we’re looking at the challenges we face and how coworking can help us solve them.”

But wait theres more…. to read the full article, click here.

P.S. GCUC Singapore is less than a month away. Are you planning on joining us? Use the code GCUCNOW for $100 off current ticket prices.

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