OfficeXpats’ first anniversary celebration was a community effort

Posted on Oct 3, 2012

Amidst the nail-biting and endless challenges of building a small community-based business, there have been many rewarding moments that remind me and my partner Jason why we are in this game. But nothing quite prepared us for the enormous participation and contribution at the first anniversary celebration of OfficeXpats on September 28. This is a community that does BIG THINGS. Please let me acknowledge a few of them, and know that there were many, many more.

Thank you, Laurel Wilson, for creating a connoisseur’s menu, choosing wine, shopping and cooking, and organizing other volunteers to help with food. People have asked me if you do catering as a business! No, you are an architect /designer who also brought curated TED talks to our members last spring.

Thank you, Scott James, social entrepreneur on and off the island, for introducing our guest speakers and giving context for the purpose of coworking in a local economy. You already volunteer your experience as a mentor with a business incubator in Seattle, and you’ve helped our mentors group—now incorporated as the non-profit Accelerate Kitsap—to connect with the right people.

Thank you, Jill Bamburg, co-founder of Bainbridge Graduate Institute, for your warm humor and short history of the world according to Bainbridge Island. BGI is changing the way the business is taught in grad schools everywhere; coworking is filling in a bit for those of us already “on the ground.”

Thank you, Leif Utne, our Xpat #1, still here a year later (along with a good core of other early adopters), teaching us about the sharing economy as the successor to capitalism as we know it, and demonstrating the format of an Ignite presentation. Remind me again about that one thing that Karl Marx was right about? And to Alex Sanso, for bestowing your brand artistry on our “X” and sharing your enthusiasm about claiming the stage as a birthright, whether to sing Karaoke or to communicate a big idea with an Ignite talk. The new speaker submissions for the November 14th Ignite Bainbridge performance are starting to roll in, so it’s working!

Thank you, Edge Improv players, for keeping us in stitches wondering where you were going with… well… any and all of it. I think you helped make some new fans of improv that night. And thank you, Steve Wilson, for curating the new OfficeXpats Members’ Photography Exhibit, and to the members who took Steve’s class in July and then contributed photos for consideration and selection.

Sarah Lane of Inside Bainbridge, thank you for believing in the importance of the community growing ever stronger “upstairs in the Pavilion.” Your article last week was a wide sweep of members’ stories, and your news about our island is a dynamic way of celebrating the larger community. And thank you, Paula Willems and Karla Smith, for your generous, unsolicited letters describing your experiences here at the office. Very powerful endorsements.

Thank you, Hales Ales for the keg, and Caroline Fichter for the cake with the BIG X, and Shawn Stark for the cupcakes with warnings about alcohol and caffeine.  Thanks to so many raffle ticket donors, including Bainbridge Cinemas, Pretty Stick Beauty, Eagle Harbor Books, The Traveler, Agate Pass Exchange, Bainbridge Chamber of Commerce, Turbo Coaching, Soup’r Burger, Dave Kragen, Kathleen Alcala, Laurel Wilson, Paula Willems, Marsha Novak, Carol Tice, Hollie Clark, John Williams, Demi Rasmussen, Izzy Sanchez, Linna Callaham, and more.

And a big special thanks to both the OfficeXpats blues jam band, which sounded great after just one short rehearsal, and to Karen Casey, who patiently helped hold the spirit of the event while managing the logistics for our celebration, all the while keeping me sane and in action. You hung out helping us with the clean up until 1am Saturday morning. May your next gig make use of your many talents and passions.