News & Updates

🤔 “So… What do people do here?” 👋 Meet Pam Selle and find out!

News & Updates

Open Hall, Open Hearts, Can’t Lose

If you find yourself in Old City on First Friday, there’s a lot to see and experience.

The art galleries, the food, the cool people! So exciting! And should you should find yourself at the corner of 4th and Market, you’ll also be met with an open door to Indy Hall’s monthly tradition, Open Hall.

This time-honored tradition takes place on the aforementioned first Friday of each month, and the premise is simple. Open doors to our coworking space for all. All day. Free of charge. 

It’s the perfect chance to take coworking for a test drive and see for yourself all the ways this space can help you thrive. It’s us extending a hand to you to invite you in on being part of something that is so much more than a place with a lot of desks, cozy reading corners, and complimentary coffee. (Though those things are pretty great too. ☕👀)

The very idea of a free day of coworking speaks volumes about the community I’ve experienced since becoming a member this past month. Here, everyone’s welcome.

Whether you’re a writer trying to finish a manuscript or a tech company with a small team, you’re greeted with a friendly high five and how’s it going? It’s an environment that wants to see every person who walks through the front doors flourish. 

Open Hall days gone by have also included events in the evening, which provide an awesome way to wrap up a productive day spent knocking out that long task list of yours. For instance, our next one (taking place on November 1st!) is going to feature a special art show featuring the beautiful works of one of our own, photographer Reed Gustow. You can RSVP here.

He’s been a member for years and photographed countless events we’ve hosted, but this will be the first time that we’re showcasing his creative works on our walls. It’s the perfect icing on the cake of the awesome coworking day you’re likely to have if you come by and give us a try.

Like we always say, working alone sucks. So come cowork with us instead.

We’ll keep the coffee hot for you. 😎

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An Inclusive Space for Smashing the Patriarchy

The Room Where It Happens

The gallery was buzzing with excitement when I walked up to sign in for Collective Strength, one of our many monthly gatherings here at Indy Hall. This particular event is run by Indy Hallers Sara Wachter-Boettcher and Katel LeDû, hosts of the podcast STRONG FEELINGS. The weekly show has featured numerous powerhouse guests over the years, from authors, to lawyers, to radio hosts, all gathering for deep discussions about “work, friendship, and feminism”.

Collective Strength as an in-person event was born out of those online conversations, and now offers a physical, non-male space for women and non-binary/femme folks to come together and talk about the triumphs and tribulations that come with trying to navigate this patriarchal world we live in. Name tags and pronoun stickers awaited attendees at the sign-in desk, and an awesome spread of snacks (provided by their sponsor, Harvest) were at the ready as folks introduced themselves and settled in for what would be a hard-hitting discussion about gender discrimination in the workplace.

The Story of That Night

The evening opened with an activity, lead by podcast host Sara, in which members of the crowd shared what excited them, or made them nervous about coming to an event like this. I for one shared that as a queer, non-binary individual who goes by both she/her, and they/them pronouns, that it felt so refreshing to come into a space that was conscious of acknowledging that part of my identity. Many spaces that brand themselves as being inclusive of women can often draw the line at trans women and non-binary individuals who find themselves still identifying with the femme side of the spectrum. The atmosphere was one of love and acceptance for all.

After others shared their trepidations and reasons for excitement, the evening launched into an educational and affirming discussion with Amal Bass, a staff attorney at the Women’s Law Project.  Amal was able to share with the audience what she has learned her years of experience advocating for those seeking legal counsel on workplace gender discrimination, defense of reproductive rights, and a wide variety of other related issues.

Tomorrow There’ll Be More of Us

While the discussion topics were heavy and allowed many attendees to share deeply personal experiences and struggles they have faced, the biggest takeaway was that there is good reason for hope. It made my heart so happy as things wrapped up and I got to watch new friends exchange contact info with one another and excitedly mark their planners for the next Collective Strength event.

I can’t speak more highly of the epic space that Katel and Sara have created, with it’s “fuck yeah” attitude and “smash the patriarchy” spirit, which is why I had a chat with them about how they brought this incredible event series to life. Here’s what they had to say!

Where did the idea for Collective Strength come from?

It came from feedback we kept getting for our podcast, Strong Feelings. Fans would say things like, “We wish we could be in the room with you, having these conversations in real life.” And we realized: we could do that, at least for people in Philly!

Of events you’ve done in the past, what is one of your favorite moments you’ve shared with an attendee?

I think one of my favorite moments was chatting with two attendees at our event on Feminist Leadership. They’d made such a strong connection, they’d decided to get back together the next week to follow up on the activity we were working on and hold each other accountable for progress. I love the people I’ve met and the conversations I’ve had, but seeing attendees have those with each other has been really really wonderful!

With relation to your latest event, what do you think is the greatest challenge women and femme/nonbinary-identifying folks face in the workplace?

There are so many challenges facing women and nonbinary folks at work—particularly for those who are also part of other marginalized groups, such as people of color, immigrants, or people with disabilities. But something that I think is fairly universal and really impacts us all is being minimized at work. 

This includes things like being told we’re too sensitive, being talked over in meetings, having needs like family leave or a space to pump deemed “extra” instead of “normal”—just all the day-to-day stuff that tells women and non-binary folks that they aren’t important and keeps them feeling small. I say this because minimization of our needs and experiences affects everything—from whether we’re paid fairly to whether we’re believed when we report harassment to whether we are taken seriously in leadership roles.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to young femme/nonbinary-identifying folks and women who are seeking to carve our own communities?

Creating a professional community is about more than just finding other people with the same job title as you. It’s about building trust with each other—so you can open up and feel seen and understood. That takes time. That’s why I always recommend that people look for events that have opportunities built in to slow down and connect with people over shared challenges and experiences. Because that’s what leads to a deeper conversation. Otherwise, you could go to networking events every night and never get further than shallow small-talk.

What’s the one you hope for this community as it continues to grow?

I hope this community continues to do something that I have been incredibly inspired by so far: build real connections! I have seen lots of attendees share email addresses and start text message chains with each other during Collective Strength, and commit to helping each other stay accountable to goals or move forward on projects. I want this to be a place where people leave feeling less alone, and more tied into a support system. Because when we work together, we build strength and resilience—which is what we need to change our workplaces and our communities to be more just and inclusive.

Don’t Throw Away Your Shot

Want to lend your voice to the conversation and become part of this ever-growing community? Then don’t miss the next Collective Strength event, which will be held right here in the gallery on Wednesday, October 23rd, from 6pm to 8pm!

The next discussion topic is going to be Burnout, and the event promises to, “share our personal challenges and strategies” and “use our newfound perspective to start documenting personal plans for processing our stress and building healthier, more sustainable habits—whatever the world throws at us”. 

RSVP to the event on meetup.com here, and we’ll look forward to seeing you there!

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“A Place Where You Find People”

The lights were dim in the main hall at National Mechanics, but the energy of the room was on fire. 

The Stage was Set

This past Friday (Sept 27th), folks of the past and present Indy Hall came together for a unique celebration—a 10+3 Birthday Party, to belatedly celebrate our first 10 years + the  3 years since spent in our new-ish home on Market Street. It was an epic event full of drink ticket boas, dope spreads of food, and festivities to honor Indy Hall’s past, present, and bright future.

Attending this event as someone who has been at Indy Hall for all of a week, I went in a bit nervous that I might not be “part of this” yet. That I wouldn’t get the inside jokes, or know who people were, or really be able to appreciate the magnitude that is celebrating 13 years of a coworking space. I couldn’t have been happier to be wrong. 

One Heck of a First Impression

People kept introducing themselves, asking what I do, and welcoming me in a way that made me feel like I’d been here all along. I shared plates of popcorn chicken with new friends, watched as old friends hugged and reunited after not seeing each other for years, and was able to just bask in this glow of a community that really loves each other, full stop. 

As a writer, I was overwhelmed with an urge to put to paper this magical feeling, so I scribbled down this poem at the back of the bar… 

An entire generation
laid out before me
in their revelry, 
and I, the fly
on the wall. 
The latest seed
to be planted in 
the soil of this
that has been tended
with hardworking hands
and watered with love.
Husbands & coworkers,
wives & friends,
partners & persons…
so many lives
changed along the way,
and all because of
an idea that this
“is a thing we
do together…
a place where
you find people…”

As the fountains of ranch and white cheddar flowed (yes, you read that right) and National Mechanic’s iconic popcorn chicken made a one night only return, Alex delivered one of his notorious speeches, giving the newbies a history lesson and reminding the initiated how far they’ve come. 

Coming Full Circle

13 years ago, a handful of folks choose to work alongside each other at National Mechanics. They would go on to become a thriving hub of awesomeness that is so Philly in spirit it’s a wonder cheesesteaks don’t grow on trees in the community kitchen. 

There was awarding of lego figures in Indy Hall hoodies, enamel pins emblazoned with JFDI, and hugs for just about everyone. The live music at the end of the evening prompted the wildest of dance moves from even the mildest of folks, as Adam and a few others made the rounds passing out drink ticket after drink ticket. There was no way to be in this space and not feel the thrum of magic that is Indy Hall’s essence.

As Alex mentioned in his blog post announcing the event, this sort of “family reunion, without the terrible parts” is hopefully the kind of event that will return annually, which would be a great way to continue growing and celebrating this thriving community. But I gotta say, that much like the creation of Indy Hall itself, this particular party was a true lightning-in-a-bottle moment, sure to be remembered across the generations to come.

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Indy Hall’s 10+3 Birthday Party is Friday Sept 27

Earlier this month, Indy Hall turned 13 years old. Wow.

For many years, we would celebrate our anniversary (and other major milestones) with a big bash of some kind. A night of celebrating with friends and community long into the night.

Disappointingly, we missed celebrating our 10 year in 2016 because we had just moved and were busy getting settled into our new space.

But I want to get back to traditions like this one.

So we went to our old friends at National Mechanics and asked for their help putting together a special night. There will be food, drinks, live music, old and new friends, and plenty of surprises.

Think of this night as a mix of an anniversary party, a family reunion (without the terrible parts), and a celebration of our collective accomplishments.

We want to bring together as many Indy Hall members and alums as possible for a night of celebration, so if you haven’t already RSVPd, you can do that here: https://indyhall.org/party.

Whether you just joined in the last month or two, or you’ve been a part of the Indy Hall community for years, I hope you’ll join us!

An All Local Live Music Lineup

One of the fun surprises I’ve been working on for this party is including some live local musicians, including a few from our own community. We’ve planned the night around brief sets with big breaks in between, so there’s still plenty of time to hang out and talk between acts!

During the first part of the night, our conversations will be soundtracked by the gentle background music of Kyle Sparkman.

Later (after 9pm), we have a four-act lineup including Indy Hall members Donnie Felton and Dain Saint, followed by performances by new friends Sister Moon Eyes and Zeek Burse.

I’m super proud to be showcasing local talent throughout the night – it’s gonna get funky and weird and I am SO SO SO excited.

It’s free to attend, but if you haven’t RSVPd yet, please do it now! https://indyhall.org/party/

Even if you only come for part of the night, it’d mean a lot to me to see you to there!

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Career Confusion to Career Confidence

Many of us know how confusing finding a career path can be; whether in memory, or because right this second we’re feeling lost. 

At Indy Hall, we meet so many people who are feeling stuck in their field and looking for a way out.

Often times they are:

  • Recent grads who are feeling dubious about jobs in their field of study
  • New parents who need to restructure the way they make a living to accommodate the needs of their family 
  • Hopeful industry switchers who are looking for a big change, (like me!)
  • Aspiring entrepreneurs who don’t know how to get their business off the ground 
  • And folks who are somewhere in between or a combination of the above

Getting off the treadmill of traditional careers can seem impossible, scary, and wrong. We’re all so entrenched with the common expectations of what a career even is: a narrow, linear, upward path in a single field. 

But we, the community of people carving out their own career, are proof that expectation isn’t for everyone. 

In my conversation with Taylor Hopper, I wanted to understand her challenges as a recent grad and discover how we at Indy Hall could help her carve her own path.

Stuck in the School Whirlwind

“In high school, I was super intrigued by human behavior, and I chose my majors (psychology and criminal justice) at Michigan University based on that. I got caught up in the whirlwind of what school was and everything that came with it, I never had a break.”

“I took a gap year, intending on going to grad school to pursue psychology, and I finally sat still for a while and really thought about it. I came to the realization that there’s so much more out there that interests me, and the more I explored that the less I was interested in pursuing psychology.” 

Taylor still had some interest in psychology, but those feelings were muddled by having no expectation of what a career in psychology would be like. “I wanted to explore careers in psychology more before committing to grad school, but you have to be in grad school before you can get clinical experience. Well, what if you’re in Grad school and then you realize you don’t want to do it?”

Now that’s she post-grad and post-gap-year, Taylor has some ideas of what she would have done differently. “I would’ve waited to go to college for sure. – You’re still such a child when you graduate from high school, you’re still like growing and developing all throughout your college years. So your interests will most likely shift.”

The Indy Hall Connection

Taylor was stuck, but not helpless. In true JFDI spirit, she spent months cold calling and emailing dozens of companies and businesses. Her ask? “Let me learn from what you do.” 

That’s is how she met Amanda Thomas, an Indy Hall member since 2013 and co-owner/publisher at Lanternfish Press. Amanda knows that Indy Hall is a great place to find inspiration and support before setting off on a nontraditional path, as Amanda found her own non-traditional path by starting a publishing company with a fellow member after they met during one of our Show & Tell events.

So, Amanda referred Taylor to us, suggesting that Taylor could find support and inspiration for herself. “When I came here I was really, really lost. I didn’t know what to do.”

At the first meeting with Taylor, it was clear that we could help each other out. “I describe Indy Hall as a place where people come to sculpt their most ideal career. You provided me with a beam of light, a direction. I was like, ‘Thank god for the helping hand.’”

Moving Forward with New Confidence 

Anyone who’s been lost in a sea of possibilities can tell you, eliminating options is a relief.  

After sitting down with Amanda, Taylor did just that. 

One of the things she had been considering was going to grad school but quickly realized that path wasn’t going to satisfy deeper ambition. “I can help one person and like slap the bandaid on, but at the end of the day the problems are systematic.” This clarity helped her choose to forgo graduate school. “I’m more interested in fixing the system, and I realized I don’t need to get a graduate degree for that.”

But when one door closes, a whole Monster’s Inc. conveyor belt of doors open. “[Amanda] helped me realize I don’t have to be constrained in a box. Just because I went to school for [psychology] and because I’m interested in [psychology], it doesn’t have to stop me from doing something completely different in five years and loving it. She told me to be curious, to keep learning and keep doing, to keep following what I want to be doing. It was inspiring and enlightening. The conversation really took a weight off.”

Taylor hasn’t got everything is figured out yet. She does have new confidence in her choice to take the long, weird, winding road towards making a career that fits her over finding a career to fit into. 

“Deciding that I didn’t want to continue my education in my major was such a scary thing. It makes you feel so alone, it makes it feel like you feel like you’re doing something wrong. But, coming here to Indy Hall, I realize it can be right.”

Taylor’s journey is super familiar. 

Taylor trusted her gut which led her to seek out other options, that lay beyond the path of least resistance. 

It’s a journey many of us at Indy Hall have already taken, and if not we are somewhere in the middle of it right at this moment. 

As Taylor said, it can feel extremely lonely to set out on your own, do things differently, and reject the traditional career path. But you don’t have to figure it all out alone. 

We’ve been working on formalizing a way to help career switchers and students who are lost in the sauce, so Taylor’s hopes to find some clarity in the experiences of our members presented us with an opportunity that we’d been waiting for: figuring out how to best help folks in transition. 

We learned a lot from working with her, and we’re excited to do it again. 

So I have to ask… 

What path are you stuck in right now? Where would you go if you weren’t? 

Fill out our little quiz below so we can figure out the best way to help you carve your perfect path. 

Let’s see where we can go together. 

Do you have thoughts to share in response to this post? Let me know at Anaia@indyhall.org!

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