Growing with a network
1,000 members. 10 MeetUps. 27 inspiring speakers. SDGs Network MeetUp in London.
When joining the Sustainable Development Goals Network (or SDGs Network for short) in October 2016, I knew that I was moving on from my corporate role as Head of Sustainability for an international renewable energy developer. I was however unsure of what my next steps would be. Joining the SDGs Network seemed like a good place to meet likeminded people and widen my network of contacts. Perhaps it would help me to figure out what to do next.
The months past and truth be told, I hadn’t been able to join a single event yet. It was just a case of bad timing. And then, there was a message from the MeetUp platform; the organiser of the Sustainable Development Goals Network was stepping down and would any member like to pick it up, or the network would cease to be.
Oh. That would be a shame. Especially as I hadn’t participated yet… A thought started taking root… What if I took over as the organiser? Could I run this network? What would it be like? What could we do? Would anyone join? Questions were mounting, and I did not have any answers to most of them. Well, there was only one way to find out; click the button in that message and accept to become the new organiser! Why not?!
I guess there are many ways a new project, a new idea or a new process can start. It can be through thorough planning over a long period of time or like in this case, more of an impulse, a gut feeling that I might be on to something good. This in combination with a desire to do something, to create, to act and not just mull it over to perhaps identify several reasons of “no, I can’t because…” – instead embracing the opportunity with a “yes, and..!”.
That was at the end of March 2017. Now, almost two years later, the SDGs Network has more than tripled in numbers and we have reached the landmark of 1,000 members! We have held ten successful MeetUps and heard from 27 inspiring speakers with one common goal: wanting to make our planet a better place for all and contributing to at least one of the Sustainable Development Goals in one way or another. I have also engaged with two women who are co-organising the events with me, which is very useful and being a team helps to keep the events inspiring and at a high standard. We have learnt of food waste, rowing across the Atlantic as a means of raising awareness of plastic pollution, women entrepreneurship, London as a National Park, city farms and gardens, how to use gaming and tech for sustainability and so much more. Importantly we provide a space for likeminded people to meet each other, a tribe to seek strength from, where our attendants (and us too!) can find inspiration and carry on with the important work of changing the world to a better place.
So, what is the moral of this story? Well, to grab an opportunity if it feels right for you. To be courageous and do what you are passionate about and last but probably most important in my view; to try things out. If it doesn’t work, you will still learn something new. About yourself and what makes you tick. You can always try again and do it differently. This is action learning in first person, i.e. working on a problem or an issue that concerns you, taking action and learning from it. In my case the question started with what shall I do next and changed over time to now being what more can be done with the SDGs Network, in terms of achieving the Global Goals here in London? How do we create community action and what might this look like?
At our most recent SDGs Network MeetUp in November last year we asked our participants for some feedback. An amazing 60% of respondents said they were interested in joining a group to discuss how we as a community can take a step further and create action towards achieving the SDGs in London together. So, while the SDGs Network MeetUps will continue in its current format, with inspiring speakers and networking opportunities, we will also be a group of people setting out on an action learning adventure together. The SDGs Network has grown, and I have grown with it, excited about engaging with the community in a new way. My gut feeling tells me this is right and I am very curious to test this new action out, what will happen next?
If you would like to join the SDG Network MeetUp and be part of the network and tribe, please register on the MeetUp platform or get in touch with me: https://www.meetup.com/SustainableDevelopmentCommunity/
If you have a tribe building experience to share, I would love to hear from you! Please do get in touch: email@example.com