“Like a Boss” Coffee Chat Rewind: Keeping it Real in Portland
Last Tuesday we had another great “Like a Boss” Coffee Chat, this time focused on all things Portland. Thanks to Ken Boddie, Aaron Ward, Angela Jackson and Andy Nelson for making up our fantastic panel. We discussed everything from the city’s infrastructure and business landscape to the housing crisis and volunteer opportunities. Below are a few of our team’s favorite takeaways from the morning .
As a lifelong Portlander, I admit I have the tendency to get feisty (and a little grumpy) about some of the changes and growing pains the city is facing. This Coffee Chat gave me a fresh perspective on all the ways Portland has adapted over the years as well as a peek into the unique opportunities the city has to further develop. I guess my takeaway was – Oh yeah, it’s awesome here.
My favorite takeaway was when Aaron of AskNicely mentioned Portland’s uniquely empowering environment for startups and how it compares to the environment in Silicon Valley where entrepreneurs have to outshout a thousand competitors. I also thought his comment about Portland’s culture of craftsmanship driving the local tech industry’s success was insightful.
As someone who feels passionately about volunteering, I really enjoyed hearing the panelists discuss their favorite organizations making an impact in Portland. It definitely inspired me to do some research and find new ways to give back to the community.
I was intrigued by Aaron’s outsider take on the way place impacts talent pools and hiring. I’d never really thought of hiring practices from this particular geographical perspective; it is interesting to think about how Portlanders’ values around craftsmanship and quality might influence the types of employees they become, which will in turn continue to attract companies with specific missions or cultural attitudes/expectations to the area.
What resonated most for me was the concept that entrepreneurs, business owners and tech startups are setting up roots in Portland for three key reasons: 1) the kindness culture – an unwavering commitment to exceptional customer service and experiences, 2) social activism, diversity and inclusion – business leaders who understand their purpose-driven values and take a stand for causes they believe in, and 3) community involvement and impact – a renewed focus on the societal impact of your business, vs. solely the financial bottom line.
I really appreciated Ken’s perspective on how Portland has progressed since he moved here in the 80s, and what we need to do to continue to move forward and become a more inclusive, diverse community. It’s exciting to see the new city leadership we have diving right in, calling out the issues and pushing for change.
Portland is a welcoming city that has shown an increasing commitment to social activism, diversity and individuality. Even through the challenges that the city faces, each panelist expressed their love for living and working in Portland and their dedication to creating a better community for all. I especially enjoyed Angela Jackson’s comments on Portland’s entrepreneurial spirit.
I was encouraged by the discussion around recent changes in Portland’s city leadership. It’s time to be bold enough to speak up and make hard decisions for the betterment of the city and I’m hopeful that is what our future holds.
My main takeaway from the coffee chat was the exuberance that the local business community feels about the future. My hometown is currently in an economic recession and most businesses are feeling nervous. It permeates everything they do from making capital investments to collaborating with the community. Portland is a different story. We’re building new housing units, making diversity and inclusion a priority, and preparing for the bright future awaiting us. Andy, Angela, Ken and Aaron all represent very different sectors, but they share a commonality in the fact that they know that it’s only going to look up for Portland in the next few years.