We are excited to introduce you Elyse Gordon, another fantastic member of our coworking community here on Capitol Hill!
What are you passionate about?
I’m a connecter and community builder. I bring people together, and I’m passionate about engaging folks through meaningful connection, critical thinking, and food. I believe strongly that change occurs through relationships – so my work is to create the foundations and spaces for meaningful relationships to form. I’m committed to a social justice and equity lens in all that I do.
I am also passionate about grassroots philanthropy. I want everyone to feel invested in stretching themselves, and ideally, I hope they do so in a way that directs resources to communities most impacted by oppression and marginalization. It’s only one piece, but to me it is a vital component to long-term social change. (And if you’re not already following nonprofitwithballs.com, and you’re interested in social change, please sign up for Vu’s weekly newsletter.)
What are you working on right now?
I wear a LOT of hats. I’m in the final year of my dissertation at the University of Washington in the Geography department – I study the relationship between “social justice philanthropy” and poverty. In other words, I’m curious about how an alternative form of philanthropy, one that sees itself as the most radical and progressive form out there, conceptualizes and acts upon impoverishment. I’m most intrigued by how this impacts the individuals who actually participate as donors. I *don’t* love academic writing, and so writing the dissertation is a bit like pulling teeth! Every page a victory…
I’m far more excited about my teaching role at UW Bothell. I teach a range of classes in the school of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. I *love* my students and the enthusiasm they bring to learning. My students are highly engaged, have a huge range of life experiences and backgrounds, and always push me to see things differently.
And… I’m also a day-of wedding coordinator! I love helping couples be present to the celebrations and community they’ve gathered. Effectively, I’m the “executive producer” or stage manager for the wedding. It is such fun work, and a nice complement to the academic world I occupy most of the time.
Do you have a fun story to share from your time at Office Nomads?
When I was workshopping a potential business idea a few years ago, Susan recommended I meet with her friend Lori. So, she introduced us, and Lori and I played email tag for a while. Finally, we met up in May of 2014, right before I took off to Amsterdam. Lori had loosely mentioned the house she rented out in the Central District neighborhood, and that I should check it out before I went because they hosted coworking too! Well, I was immediately besotted with the space.
When I returned from my travels, I was looking for housing. Moments before signing my lease agreement with a too-expensive-apartment, Lori emailed me to say a space was opening in her house, and did I want it? Lo and behold, in October 2014 I moved into Collective Self and ended up running the coworking community that also gathered in that space. I’ve never so immediately felt at home in a space – I’ll miss that house for a long time!
What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?
I’m on the young professionals board of Crosscut.com. I believe in a well-informed public, and am eager to help diversify the audience of one of the NW’s most dynamic nonprofit journalism sources. Also, shoutout to South Seattle Emerald. If I had my way, everyone would support these two + KNKX and KEXP! Goooo public media!
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Elyse!
Thanks so much to Marti Rhea for capturing Elyse so wonderfully on camera!