Member Profile: Tyler LePard

We’re going to keep this introduction short and sweet: we’re thrilled to introduce you to Tyler LePard, creator of Wondershop Communications and all-around kick-ass individual.

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What are you passionate about?

Doing good – locally, nationally, and globally – drives my work. I care about many issues related to social justice and fighting poverty, but advocating for women’s health and rights as been the main thread throughout my career. After college, I worked as a medical assistant at Planned Parenthood in Portland, then helped launch a reproductive health online publication (now called Rewire) after graduate school. I went on to do media and communications for international family planning and HIV prevention at a small nonprofit, then global health at a big foundation. I helped launch a new crowdfunding platform for girls’ and women’s equality for a couple of years before I decided to start my own independent consulting business.

I believe in the power of people working together, which is the essence of organizing, activism, social media, and coworking.

What are you working on right now?

I’m managing social media and digital ads for a new campaign from the Pride Foundation that I’m excited about. TRANSform Washington is a public education initiative celebrating the dignity, diversity, and humanity of transgender and gender nonconforming people in our state. The campaign has a lot of great stories from transgender people who are community volunteers, retirees, medical professionals, family members, and more. I’ve always felt strongly about social justice issues, so it’s fun to be able to blend my work and activism in this way.

Actually, I found this work through Office Nomads (Jacob and Katie connected me with their friend, who hired me). And another nomad (Kevin Owyang) built the website!

How did you get to where you are now?

I’ve worked some random jobs in my life (pizza delivery woman, grain elevator operator, White House intern, labor union organizer) and for a long time it didn’t seem like I was on a career path. I hate being asked where I see myself in five years because that hasn’t been how my career has evolved. (I also hate the question “What do you do?” as though my job is my life, but thankfully that doesn’t come up in Seattle as often as it did in DC.) I do like to occasionally sit down and map out dreams, big ideas, and potential directions for my life, and believe in the power of putting things out into the universe. But I also think being able to take the leap for unexpected opportunities has been what’s brought me to where I am now.

Freelancing has been great and terrible. It is stressful to not have financial stability (yet), but I do love the flexible schedule and ability to work with different people on interesting projects that I care about. And, of course, I love coworking. Thankfully, my wife has a steady job and has been incredibly supportive.

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Why coworking?

I appreciate the community at Office Nomads — that’s what keeps me coming back. It’s not just a nice space to work, though I like the free coffee and wifi, access to a printer/copier, snacks, etc. I didn’t realize that I was looking for and needed this network of people that I could bounce ideas off of, ask questions about freelancing and taxes, or know who to refer a client to for help building a website. Nomads are the best resources! I’ve found clients, a financial planner, an accountant, a hiking buddy, and friends here.

I also appreciate the programming — Waffle Wednesdays, Thursday afternoon snacks, field trips to interesting places, Spanish conversation lunch, and meditation are a few of my faves (yes, I like food). Some weeks I plan which days I’m going to come in around what’s on the calendar.

It’s terrific that Office Nomads is dog-friendly, even though I don’t bring my dogs in (they aren’t well-behaved enough). It makes me feel at home that I can go cuddle a dog when I need a break from my computer.

What is one thing about you most people don’t know?

I have a green belt in kajukenbo. I have been training for more than five years at Seven Star Women’s Kung Fu, which is another wonderful community that I love. I enjoy learning new things and getting exercise that is also a ton of fun. This year I’ve been learning to teach kung fu and I’m delighted to share my love of martial arts with new students.

I think it’s important for everyone to learn self-defense and I encourage everyone I know to take at least one class.

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Thank you Tyler for sharing your story with us and for being such an awesome part of our coworking community. Thanks also to Marti Rhea for sharing these beautiful member photos with us! Stay tuned for more…

Social Networking Ain’t All That

Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIn. MySpace. Blogs. I know there’s a ton more social networking platforms and apps out there, so what am I forgetting? Oh yeah: Yelp. Discussion Boards. Flickr. YouTube. Viddler. Does that cover it? Nope, because I forgot the biggest, baddest, oldest, most important social network of them all: Word of Mouth.

It’s amazing isn’t it? Most of us who live and work online think and talk about and interact with social networking platforms all day, every day thinking all the time that the world of social networking is some new phenomenon that we need to learn how to manage. But humanity has been networking since we’ve had language and Ugg told Grog about that new warm and bright thing in the back of the cave.

A good friend of Office Nomads, Jeremiah Andrick, who happens to be a social media guru brought all of this to our attention yesterday with a post that says simply:
“We forgot about word of mouth.”

Often when I hear people talk about the how “Twitter is changing everything” I laugh because while I get that twitter and other social platforms are changing our ability to stay in touch, these tools are just enabling us to have conversations that we might have had by other mediums. Real change occurs not by a medium, but by people how people use it.

Take some time to read it. Jeremiah’s idea is pretty brilliant in it’s simplicity, and it’s definitely a D’Oh! moment because it reminds all of us who are in customer service (and which of us running our own business isn’t?) that every interaction is a social interaction, replete with all the opportunities and risks inherent in every social media platform there is.