People gathered around a table chatting

Finding Community and Coaching at the Hub

I love the flexibility of working from home, but some days it can feel isolating.

Earlier this year, I started my own business in recruitment marketing and employer branding. I help clients show what their workplace culture is really like through employee stories and hiring resources. It was exciting and overwhelming, and lots of feelings all at once. My main concern was feeling isolated without a team. I was looking for community and ways to find meaningful connections.

That’s what I found at Impact Hub Ottawa.

People remember your name. They wave and say good morning as you walk in. You chat about your weekend while pouring a cup of coffee. You overhear an interesting conversation and join the communal kitchen table for lunch.  

These seemingly small moments of connection make a big difference. 

I’ve really missed these moments since the pandemic. It’s amazing how energizing it can feel working in an environment around people who aren’t working on the same thing as you, or even the same field. I’ve met Hub members working at non-profits, in education, science, tech, and many entrepreneurs. With the Hub’s mission around social impact and supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, it attracts leaders across industries who are interested in making the world and our community better. 

How being a Hub member helped my business

The way I learn best is through meeting new people and asking a lot of questions. For the past few months, I’ve reached out to a few new people every week to meet for virtual coffee chats. They were strangers whose work I really admired, or people I wanted to learn from or could see partnering with in the future.
Then I realized the Hub had a program set up to do just that!

Erica Howes

Erica Howes, working from her desk at Impact Hub Ottawa.

The Hub Coaching program provides a list of leaders and mentors to learn from. We’re talking about experts in finances, career coaching, data analytics, diversity equity and inclusion, recruiting and more. I’ve looked into business coaches and there are so many options out there. But it can be overwhelming to know where to start and it can get expensive. 

I’ve left every coaching call feeling energized and having learned something new. 

The finance coach gave me tips for operating my business accounts, savings, and explained things in ways easy to understand (and finances can be intimidating so this means a lot!). The social enterprise coach made me rethink my business model and get clear on my mission. The recruiting coach and I found many similarities in our work and now meet regularly to share ideas. Meeting with the technology coach led to other conversations about their hiring challenges and they’re now one of my clients. And these are just a few of the coaching calls I’ve had through the program! 

These conversations have led to business development and partnership opportunities. It’s helped my business in very tangible ways. It’s made my Hub membership worth it financially tenfold. 

Although I’ve moved out of Ottawa now, I continue to be a virtual member for access to the Slack community and the coaching program. 

We’re all looking for community, and we find that in different ways. For me, it’s been through co-working spaces. Since leaving Ottawa, I’ve worked at a handful but I often think back to Impact Hub Ottawa and how those intentional moments of connection make a big difference.

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