A Day in the Life: Communities, Inspiration and Teamwork

In ‘A Day in the Life’ we reach out to thought leaders, business leaders and social entrepreneurs and ask them to share with us an average day in their working life.

This week we spoke to Elena Alcalde, communications manager of Impact Hub Madrid. Part of an ever-growing global network, Impact Hubs are ‘part innovation lab, part business incubator, and part community centre’...
Published —
06.14.17
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What is in store for you today?

As I’m responsible for the comms area, today my most pressing duties are; to review and programme social media contents, to look after our photographer who will be taking pictures of our community during the lunch event ‘Sexy Salad’, to work on a document to show start-ups how to create a great communication strategy, and to attend a Skype call with our technical support to learn about our new CRM platform.

What does a typical working day look like?

My typical working day starts with me grabbing a glass of water and a coffee from the kitchen, then checking on my colleagues and booting up the computer. I manage my mailbox with requests for many different things; people who ask us to partner their events, journalists looking for great stories in our community, members sending content for our newsletter etc. I organise calendars for our suppliers and, along with my colleague Pilar, I decide the best content to launch on social media and for other different publishing platforms. I read the daily news and I supervise and work on any tasks going on (new CRM platform, new website page, creating blog content, attending very interesting training on gender communications, etc.).

There’s usually events going on that we have to cover in my department. This means taking pictures, Tweeting, Instagramming, and taking notes for the creation of press releases, then before I finish my work day I organise my agenda for the following day.

There are two reasons why I love working at Impact Hub Madrid. First of all, the management team works by following a very horizontal structure close to the Holacracy style; each one of us is responsible for one area and we constantly share everything with the rest of the team in order to assess potential needs. This can sometimes be tricky because as we are responsible for our areas and we have so much freedom with making decisions, somehow it makes you feel like an entrepreneur, however there’s an amazing climate of mutual trust and cooperation that makes things easy.

Second of all, the days all differ greatly from one another, partly because our community makes it possible. You may find a social action call on the kitchen wall (our walls are made of blackboard so anyone is able to sketch any ideas that come up) and you may learn about a great new project from a member when having lunch. People are naturally open to talk to each other because this is what it’s all about; an ecosystem to connect, inspire and enable social entrepreneurs to develop their best work every step of the way.

One of our greatest strengths is to energise communities. In the whole Impact Hub network, we believe a better world evolves through the combined accomplishments of creative, committed and compassionate individuals focused on a common purpose. And this is something you can feel in the atmosphere. It’s very inspiring.

Are there any sort of personal rituals or routines that you have to undertake before you start work?

Everyday I ride my bike to work – I LOVE IT! Also twice a week I go to the swimming pool right before I get to the office, it gives me so much energy to tackle the day.  When I get to Impact Hub, I choose where to sit down (since we have a co-working space and many different areas to choose from) and make sure that there’s nothing on the table apart from my computer, a glass of water, my phone and notebook. Then I go!

As a team, do you have any group rituals or events per day or week?

Our definitive weekly event is our team meeting. Every Tuesday we book a room, and from 9am to 9:15am we have breakfast, prepared by our Community Coordinator Sirivan Prak. At 9:15am the check-in starts; a time-frame where we share, in two minutes, how we are doing. We share and discuss the most important matters during the next hour and half and finish the meeting with the check-out to let the rest of the team know what our core tasks are for the following week.

Another ritual? We regularly celebrate our birthdays. We find nice gifts and blow out candles on a birthday cake.

When your team come together, is it in a digital sense, or is there still a physical meet up?

For projects and general meetings, we favour physical meetings, but we are also very open to telework so will often do digital calls. This allows us to travel or be out of the space and enables us to still be totally connected to the workflow.

What projects have you currently got on, and what upcoming projects are exciting you?

There are three projects that come to mind; we are designing a totally new website with new services and programmes, and so far it’s been both challenging and exciting. We are also expanding; by 2018 we will have a whole new building in the centre of Madrid, so we have launched a comms campaign around the tag-line “the ill-understood project” to attract newcomers.

As well, we just announced the first edition of the Sustainable Development Goals Prize (http://madrid.impacthub.net/premios-impacto-ods/) to push and encourage businesses to achieve 17 Goals by 2018, in areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace, and justice, among other priorities.

How do you measure impact and successes, and how do you celebrate them?

We make qualitative and quantitative measurements on the number of people we reach through all our channels (website, social media, newsletter, press releases, interviews, event impact, etc.) and through the media coverage we get back.  We keep track and keep on learning through every action we make. Once a month we review the data and make decisions surrounding the results.

What gets you through the day? (Any podcasts, activities, thoughts etc.?)

Green tea and coffee. My favourite music radio program  called 180ºC. Nice chats with friends from work and from outside.

What are you currently reading?

The Art of War from Sun Tzu and Gramática de la Fantasía from Gianni Rodari.

What’s your Ethos?

I believe in the great benefits of open source, equality, the potential of living in communities, and the need to visualise positive initiatives to offset the huge amount of negative news that hogs communication channels. Music, dance and nature fulfil my Ethos.

And finally, suggest a better title for this feature.

Could be: “Communities, inspiration and teamwork”?