As life at Impact Hub Ottawa slowly returns to a sense of normality, with more Hubbers coming to share our space every day, we’ve been struck by the positivity and optimism embraced by our community. 

While the past months have been filled with their own sets of unique hardships, we’ve been inspired by stories overcoming, growing and learning. Stories which we feel apply to not just the Hub community, but indeed all Canadians, which sure is worth celebrating.

Changemakers thrive in uncertain situations where their creativity and innovation can shine. As we look towards 2021, the team here at Impact Hub Ottawa look forward to doing everything we can to inspire, connect and enable our community of changemakers to take action for a more just and sustainable world

In this edition of Life at the Hub, we’ll check-in and catch-up with our five team-members to share what is new and exciting at 123 Slater Street.


Re-Introducing our new Managing Director – with Liz Cleland

Who else is excited for 2021!!

No one ever said leadership was going to be easy, but it’s hard to imagine a more difficult situation to take on the lead role in a community & co-working organization. 

Yet, behind the scenes, new Managing Director, Liz Cleland, has been hard at work organizing the reopening of the Hub and keeping the community engaged.

Q: Hey Liz, what an interesting year to take the lead here at the Hub! What has been the biggest lesson you’ve taken from the past few months of leadership under these unique circumstances?

There have been so many lessons! The first thoughts that come to mind… the importance of clear communication, a strong and aligned team, a collaborative and open space for everyone to contribute and to take risks. The ability to pivot, it’s so important to be flexible.

Also, pandemic or no pandemic, turns out that managing directors of smaller nonprofits do a lot of bookkeeping.

Q: What is one theme which you hope can help define your ambitions as Impact Hub Managing Director?

Key for me is to have an inclusive, welcoming and collaborative team culture – and one that lives by the Hub’s values. The stronger our team, the more effectively we’ll be able to serve and support our members, community and network. Our team is amazing.

Q: What keeps you so driven and motivated in your work?

The team and the community. Every day, I learn something new from one of my teammates and discover an impactful project or initiative of one of our members. Even in times like these, people find opportunities to support and help others, and I feel so fortunate to be part of this community.

Q: 2020 has been a year of growth, what is a big lesson you’ve learnt?

First off, how is it December already!?

To embrace change, to not be afraid to take risks when exploring new opportunities, and to practice gratitude – for everyone (myself included, I suppose ;P)

Q: What TV shows have been keeping you sane these days?

New show: I gobbled up the Queen’s Gambit. Old faithful in more ways than one: Golden Girls

Not part of the community? Check out membership options here!


The Coolest (virtual) events in town – with Gina Babinec

Despite the absence of events taking place at the Hub, our programming has thrived on the virtual space including our weekly Brown Bag Lunch webinars. Let’s hear from Programs Lead Gina:

Q: Gina! You mentioned the other day that you’re learning new recipes during the pandemic. What’s a new favorite you can share with the Hubbers?

Hands down, my favorite new kitchen experiment has been éclairs (Raspberry and Cream, and Classic Chocolate). I was surprised by how well they turned out – I think it must be all of the Great British Bake Off I’ve been binge-watching…

Q: Thanks to your hard work, all our Hub Events have gone digital during the pandemic. What have been some of your favourites?

One thing is for sure: these events would be nothing without the support of the team and community members who joined us to share their insights and expertise!

Among my favorites in recent months have been Eve Blouin-Hudon’s BBL on Storytelling, which had us sat around a virtual campfire; the hands-on Inclusion workshops we ran in May and June, and getting to work with new partners and a new language as part of our Bilingual Brown Bag Lunch series!

Q: The holiday season is nearly upon us, what fun events can folks attend this December?

Without a Holiday Market, December at the Hub will certainly be different this year, but there are lots of ways to stay connected!

I’m really looking forward to the last of our Bilingual BBLs on Dec 3rd, ‘Activism/e 101!’ and a special event we’re hosting on Dec 8 with Invest Ottawa’s Digital Mainstreet team (register here), all about helping women entrepreneurs take their businesses online – which, as we know, has been all too important this year.

Browse all our upcoming events here!


The space is starting to fill up again – with Will El Khoury

The most exciting development of the past few months has been the reopening of the Hub co-working space at 123 Slater. To discuss it, here is Operations & Community Experience  Lead, Will El Khoury.

Q: Will, It’s been so great to see each other in the space (at a safe distance of course)! What has been your favourite part of having the Hub open again?

Definitely the opportunity to see some of our members face to face again. To be able to check in with them and learn about how they’ve been keeping up the good work during this pandemic.

It’s also been exciting to see this coupling of in-space coworking and virtual programming redefine our Hub community and expand our interactions beyond the physical space.

Q: Have there been any new interesting skills you’ve learnt during the pandemic?

The entire team has had to wear several hats to keep our beloved organization steadfast in its delivery of services and opportunities during this pandemic.

I particularly enjoyed strategizing for a safe and healthy reopening of the space with the resources we had at our disposal. Not only has it tested my capacities in unpredictable circumstances, but also showed the resilience and resourcefulness of our team – along with reminding us of how much support is out there from the community at large.

Q: What should our members know about booking and coming to work in our co-working space?

First off, I would like to thank our members for staying by our side during this tough year! Thank you also to all the coworking members who have been coming into the space for abiding by our new coworking rules and regulations.

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve consulted with epidemiologists, local and provincial health authorities and general directions by the World Health organisation to prioritize our members’ health and safety.

Most importantly we’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with a local human-centred design team called Jumping Elephants, on identifying our usability blind spots and improving our delivery of programs and services for a more intuitive and enticing member experience.

With that in mind, I’m most excited about the rolling out of an updated Interface for desk/room booking and event registration, as well as a multifaceted hosting experience, making interpersonal inquiries and check-ins more accessible for members that are not ready to visit 123 Slater just yet.

Tired of working from home? Come share the Co-Working space with us!


Fostering a Digital Community – with Robyn Matuto

Robyn hanging out with the ever-lovely Vera!

While working remotely from Toronto, our new Digital Marketing Coordinator, Robyn Matuto has been cooking up a storm of delectable online content. The face behind the weekly HubDate newsletter and our revamped Instagram, she’s been making sure the community stays in the loop about what’s taking place at Impact Hub Ottawa every week.

Q: Robyn! Starting a new job and working from a different city feels like peak 2020. What’s been the most interesting part of working remotely full-time?

It’s definitely trying to recreate that “at-office” feel when you’re 10 feet away from your bedroom. Finding new rituals that mimic an office environment is definitely key to creating a productive environment. It can be tough, but thankfully I got a cat during quarantine, so at least I have one in-person coworker!

Q: You’re a very creative person, what’s a new skill or lesson you’ve learnt this year?

If we’re talking professional, probably image descriptions for our social media. Accessibility has always been important to me and it’s something I want to keep working on as we move into 2021. If we’re talking outside Slack hours, probably guitar! Slowly getting those callouses…

Q: This year has shown the importance of a strong online presence for one’s business or enterprise. What’s one tip you could share to help our community members stand out online?

Post constantly and consistently. Not only does it help with your presence in an algorithm, but it shows people that you’re online. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with someone’s online presence and then seeing they only post once every few months. Where’s the approachability in that?

Q: What’s the best way for community members to keep up to date with the hub and all our weekly offerings?

Our Twitter! We also post cool events and opportunities happening in and around Ottawa. You can’t go wrong with our newsletter either.

Check out the Hub Ottawa Twitter Here


A New Community Animator – with Tristan Oliff

Can you spot Liz the photographer in the background!

Hi Hubbers, my name is Tristan, and I’m so excited to have joined the team as the new Community Animator. 

Over the next few months, I hope to be able to connect with and get to know as many members as possible. I’m looking forward to hearing about your experiences at the Hub, learning about your projects and enterprises, and exploring how we can continue to support your social impact.

I’ll also be working to increase the digital literacy resources from the Hub, writing more blogs like this one, engaging in impact storytelling along with sharing conversations with members on their projects. 

If you have a story to share or want to touch base, don’t hesitate to email me: tristan@hubottawa.org.

I recently started publishing the weekly BBL Briefer newsletter summarizing the key takeaways from our weekly virtual Brown Bag Lunch talks!

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