Lee Anderson: A Community Host’s Reflection
I must have joined Impact Hub Islington as Community Host precisely the right time in my life. What initially began as a cursory search for some part-time work soon birthed a whole new set of opportunities, connections and friendships that I’ll nurture for years to come. Such is life that when you’re not really looking for anything special, something special comes along anyway! Now two years on, I am experiencing the other side of the coin as an Impact Hub member. In both cases, I can say with some confidence that if it wasn’t for the people I have met and the delicious community lunches I chowed down on, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today.
For me, it is the diversity of Hub Islington’s members’ that lends the place its particular character and energy. Even on a quiet day, it was an undeniably exciting place to work, capable of inspiring new thoughts and opening up new avenues. Whether it was artists or charity workers, designers or programmers, social-media whizz kids or community leaders striving to make a difference, the eclectic span of personalities, experiences and backgrounds was a constant source of interest to me.
The frenetic and often challenging pace of such an environment can teach you a lot about yourself. It certainly did form me. My strengths, weaknesses and blind spots became quickly apparent, and there were definitely times when I felt myself struggling to keep all the balls in the air on those particularly heady days. Nonetheless, my time as Community Host proved to be a steep and much-needed learning curve – both in terms of professional and personal development; giving me the opportunity to reflect on my genuine passions and abilities and capitalize on them in the future.
When it came to the members themselves, no conversation at Hub Islington is ever the same from day-to-day. There are new faces walking through the door each week and as a result, you’re subjected to a wide-ranging set of experiences and world-views that challenge, renew and broaden your own world-view. That’s not to say it’s all serious and po-faced, of course. Far from it. After all, it certainly helps to have a sense of humor when dealing with the less glamorous aspects of the role (I’m looking at you wood-pellets and printer!).
I was also privileged to work with an incredible team: Jennifer, Debbie, Annette, as well as Alice, Joost and the brilliant interns who left their stamp. These are dedicated, creative and compassionate people with an intimidating grab bag of different skills and experience. I feel lucky to have worked alongside people who are so generous of spirit and hope that now I am a member myself, I will continue to learn from their expertise and insight.
And finally, to the new team of Community Hosts I say: enjoy it, soak it up and use your time to meet as many people as you can. It’s an experience well worth climbing those stairs for…