Community Organizing Case Study : The Creative Roundtable


The following case study details my experience co-founding The Creative Roundtable community in Portland, OR. 



What was my role? Co-Founder

How did I decide to start this business? The Creative Roundtable was founded to help bring together isloted artists, makers, and freelancers craving connection and community. 

What are the goals & outcomes of this business? We wanted to help our peers overcome the numerous obstacles faced by creative professionals as they tried to navigate their careers. Since 2014, we have faciliated over 150 weekly accountability meetings, and connected over 4,900 members through 40 consecutive monthly meetups. 

Who did I collaborate with? My co founder, Jehn Glynn, and our mentor, Mark Grimes.

Who were the stakeholders affected by my work? Paid members of the weekly accountability meeting, Free members of Meetup group, NedSpace Co-working Office Members, and Greater Portland creative community. 


BUILDING A COMMUNITY

We approached building The Creative Roundtable with a mission of support and guidance for creative entrepreneurs. First, we dedicated ourselves to a private meeting every Wednesday morning with a small group of members. Our hour-long sessions are focused on peer mentorship by encouraging everyone to ask for help, celebrate their accomplishments, and be held accountable to their goals. Next, we began hosting public monthly events with a vision of connecting the community through an inclusive evening of casual networking.


FINDING PARTNERS

We were lucky to find a great partner in NedSpace from the founding days of The Creative Roundtable. The support of other local businesses has made it possible for us to feed our members for free and award fun prizes at our unconventional community events. 

DEVELOPING RESOURCES

We have a knack for teaching others and have spent countless hours designing and re-designing resources for our members.Our workbooks and brainstorm tools are have been tested by hundreds of creatives. We pride ourselves in consistently updating our resources to better serve the needs of our community, some of the topics our tools explore include how to stay accountable, find their marketing voice, and overcome other obstacles.


CONNECTING PEOPLE

The Creative Roundtable brings together a diversity of visionaries and fascinating people from all walks of life. The connections forged at our weekly meetings and monthly events have lead to business partnerships, career opportunities, new friendships, and endless inspiration.

I’ve started  dozens of organizations throughout my life. In 4th grade, I used my first PC to print a gossip newspaper that I sold for a quarter to my peers on the playground. In high school, I was the president of the debate team, acting in community theater, and hanging out at concerts in the local music scene. In college, I organized an “Art Social” where I showed the work of 30+ emerging artists, including Michael Donovan, Emmy Star Brown, and Brett Manning. My most recent community endeavor is The Tape Escape, making use of the found mixtapes I’ve collected since 2000. 

Mark