For this month's Straight From the Hearth, guest writer Aleshia Howell, leader of the community-facing FORGE at Roy Place program, discusses the importance of empathy and curiosity in entrepreneurship, and highlights some of the ongoing FORGE programs.
I recently presented at Tucson’s SheTech Explorer Day, a hands-on STEM conference for high school girls. Titled “Building for Us: Questions we should ask to build smarter, better, and kinder,” my sessions focused on the Inclusive Engineering Framework. This is a helpful tool to consult in the planning stages of building anything – products, services, experiences, structures, environments, research studies, you name it – as it is instructive in building with empathy and consideration.
This is especially timely for women entrepreneurs as we observe the fall of Elizabeth Holmes, former CEO of Theranos, on a public stage. We are witnessing the impact of innovation on human safety, ability, and vulnerability – as well as our planet – in real time, and one thing is certain: the Silicon Valley mindset of “move fast and break things” is no longer a valid standalone gameplan. Our brains and hearts are just as important to advancement as our feet and hands.
Following my final session at SheTech, a group of girls from Desert View High School approached. One asked, “What advice would you give to someone our age?”
My response? Don’t wait to bring your ideas to life. You can start now, and lots of people want to help you succeed.
This was, of course, the path Holmes took, dropping out of Stanford at 19 to pursue her big idea and her fortune. However, the problem was not her youth, her ambition, nor her desire to make money; the problem was the repeated decision to take deceptive liberties with the health and lives of real human beings.
“Fake it till you make it” is more useful as a private mantra in times of doubt than a justification for poor treatment of people, whether overt or clandestine. As behavioral researcher and author of ‘Predictably Irrational,’ Dan Ariely, says, it’s good that people are sometimes overconfident, or our risk aversion would keep us from trying. Holmes’s own mantra was borrowed from Yoda: “Do or do not, there is no try.” But trying is the very fabric of entrepreneurship, innovation, and creation. Nothing new occurs without trying, and now is a great time to start.
Trying is made easier with an idea and a purpose. These are more elusive, and trying can play a role here, too. An idea is born of purpose – solving a problem or meeting a need – and purpose comes from inspiration. Inspiration thrives in states of genuine curiosity, and our curiosity stems from being an active participant in our world. Wanna be inspired? Try something new. Get outside your bubble. Talk to someone you don’t know who’s passionate about what they do. Learn a new skill. You are the CEO of your life, and there is so much to discover and explore.
As FORGE opens the doors of the Roy Place building in downtown Tucson, we are doing so in the spirit of feeding curiosity. Every Thursday from 8:30-9:30am, we’re hosting “Let’s Drink Coffee and Talk About…”, an informal, public gathering with rotating topics with special guests who have special experience, expertise, or enthusiasm for that topic. Attendees can stick around for Thursdays at FORGE, our community “soft workday,” to continue the conversation.
Make no mistake, we’re trying, too. We’re planning programs based on community needs while creating space for inspiration to thrive, and we’d love to connect with you to hear what makes you curious, inspired, and motivated to make our world better.
Now is a great time. And we know just the Place.
-- Aleshia Howell, Program Coordinator, FORGE at Roy Place
Let's Drink Coffee and Talk About...
To begin Thursdays at FORGE on a light, caffeinated note, join us for "Let's Drink Coffee and Talk About..." in Roy's Place. Every week we'll set a broad topic and invite special guests who can lend their special experience, expertise, or enthusiasm. On March 31, we're drinking coffee and talking about indie film.
We're experiencing a major shift in how we consume and enjoy movies, and no one feels these shifts more deeply than indie filmmakers and the people who show them. We're excited to welcome Jacob Bricca and undergraduate students participating in I DREAM IN WIDESCREEN 2022 to talk about this as well as the films they've created for the big event on May 7.
Thursdays at FORGE will continue upstairs in the Hub. Come for the coffee, stay for the conversation.
Where: FORGE at Roy Place, 44 N. Stone Avenue.
When: Every Thursday, 8:30am - 9:30am
Thursdays At FORGE
Collide, interact and collaborate at Tucson's community 'soft workday.' It's not co-working. It's community.
In a September Atlantic piece contemplating the role of the office in the post-return to work era, Derek Thompson identified two distinct work states: hard work -- heads-down tasks requiring focus and minimized interruptions -- and soft work -- "the vague middle space of weekday activity that isn't hard work but also isn't not-work." He opined that the former can be done at home just as well as if not better than the office, whereas the latter can only be done at the office. We agree with Derek. The space at Roy Place is designed for human interactions, not spreadsheets.
Beginning on March 17, you are invited to join us for Thursdays at FORGE, Tucson's community 'soft workday' where we can maximize the collision, interaction, and collaboration that we have been missing in our home offices.
The day starts with coffee and conversation in our downstairs event space, then we'll move upstairs to FORGE's Hub, normally closed to the public. Arrive by noon for access to the building!
Where: FORGE at Roy Place, 44 N. Stone Avenue.
When: Every Thursday, 8:30am - Noon