Last fall, Q Commons came to Phoenix, and in the weeks leading up to it, I interviewed Steven Siwek, the host of the event. Now, Q Commons is returning to town on February 26 at Redemption Alhambra, so I followed up with Steven on the first event and asked him what we can expect from the next one.
FP: What positive developments have come from the Q Commons event you hosted last fall?
SS: After our inaugural Q Commons we underestimated how much people really wanted to carry on the conversation. It was inspiring to see how much people care about our city and it seems everyone that attended the last Q Commons was looking for a way to engage themselves in the future flourishing of the greater Phoenix metro area.
One of the good things that came from our first meeting together was introducing people to other like-minded individuals. I can’t even begin to measure how those synergies contributed to newfound relationships or inspired new ideas. As great as that initial gathering was, I think at this Q Commons we are much better prepared to either get people engaged in exciting initiatives or encourage them to continue pursuing the common good through the relationships they’ll undoubtedly make.
For example, we have established a Facebook page specifically for Phoenix that we will be posting to consistently with thought provoking articles and local opportunities. We’ve also invited speakers that will have very specific take-home points that our audience can engage in immediately following the event. I’m hoping to see the friendships continue to flourish, while also getting our audience to practically engage in helpful projects throughout our city.
FP: Tell us about the speakers you’ve invited to present at the upcoming event. What were you looking for in making these selections?
SS: It’s such an honor to select speakers for this event. The national speakers, who will be livestreamed to our event — Malcolm Gladwell, Soledad O’Brien, and Mark Burnett — are so multi-talented and influential. Our local speakers will mirror some of the talks you hear from the national group by contextualizing it for Phoenix.
For example, Soledad O’Brien will be speaking about “Race in America” and I’ve selected Oye Waddell of Hustle PHX to discuss how his organization is supporting minorities in entrepreneurship. Malcolm Gladwell will be speaking about “Identity” and I’ve selected Mel Shultz of JDM Partners to discuss opportunity.
Lastly, different from last time, I’ve decided to include a panel of nonprofit leaders — Brian Steele of Phoenix Dream Center, Ryan Corry of St. Vincent De Paul, and Terry Crist of ArizonaSERVES — to talk about the future of the nonprofit in the Valley. The panel discussion will also involve a time for Q&A with the audience. My goal is to get the audience involved in this very important conversation. Afterward, each attendee will hear several ways in which they can get involved in our city.
To learn more about Q Commons and to register, visit qideas.org.
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