Get Together

Supercharging grassroots political action in our communities 📢 Nicole àBeckett, SameSide

Episode Summary

An interview hosted by Marjorie Anderson, “Get Together” correspondent, and Bailey Richardson with Nicole àBeckett, the co-founder and CEO of SameSide, a platform making grassroots political action more accessible. We talked with Nicole about empowering hosts to infuse their existing events with purposeful and participatory actions around causes they care about.

Episode Notes

“You don't have to be a celebrity or a mega influencer to take action and host an event. A hundred people or a thousand people don’t have to attend. It can be five people. That impact is still impact. ” - Nicole àBeckett 

Just after the 2016 U.S. election, many people were saying, “I want to do more to get involved but I don’t know how.” Nicole àBeckett and her brother, David, knew there had to be a better way to bring people together for action on issues that matter. 

They started SameSide with a simple idea—to incorporate civic engagement within existing communities. Based in LA, Nicole worked with a local named Phil in March of 2017 to host the first event. 

Phil had a large network of friends and rallied them just after the Women’s March to campaign for Sarah Hernandez, a candidate for Senate in California. Together with SameSide he paired phone banking with a brewery tour. While phone banking was intimidating to some, the brewery tour with friends nudged fifteen of Phil’s buds to cross the threshold to activism. 

Through SameSide, this accessible activism model has been employed at scale. SameSide offers hosts the tools to learn and take action on issues. A host's job isn’t to be an expert; it’s to convene people around something they care about. The Standard Hotel is hosting pool parties advocating for gun safety.  A woman celebrating her birthday wove in efforts to support ending the rape kit backlog in California. 

We talked with Nicole about how she has empowered hosts with tools to gather folks around what they care about to take action.

Highlights, inspiration, & key learnings:

👋🏻Say hi to Nicole and learn more about SameSide.

✨Say hi to Marjorie Anderson, “Get Together” correspondent.

📄See the full transcript 

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Episode Transcription

Bailey (00:00):

Welcome to Get Together. This is our show about ordinary people, building extraordinary communities. I'm your host Bailey Richardson. I'm a partner at people in company and a co author of get together how to build a community with your people.


Marjorie (00:19):

And I'm Marjorie Anderson get together correspondent, founder of community by association and product manager for community at project management Institute


Bailey (00:29):

And a Ray of sunshine. Might I add, we are so happy to have you. On each episode of this podcast, we interview everyday people who have built extraordinary communities about just how they did it. How did they get the first people to show up? How did they grow to hundreds, thousands, more members today we're talking to Nicole Beckett, founder of same side, a company that helps people get involved in the causes. They're passionate about by combining events with advocacy, Marjorie. What's one thing you learned today from our conversation with Nicole,


Marjorie (01:01):

What was really fascinating to me about same site is how they enable community building with their hosts. They are the vehicle by which people are able to create community around causes they care about, and the support they provide their hosts helps them feel like they found their place. You know, same side is all about enabling community builders, whether they think of themselves as that or not to affect real change, right, where they are doing the things that they do every day, as authentically as they can. And that's such an important role that people who build community play, it's really the epitome of building West.


Bailey (01:40):

I loved hearing about all the diverse ways that people come to the same side too, to encourage advocacy. They have people who teach surf lessons, folks who host brunches and combine them with the cause that they care a lot about. And I've never seen something like you say, quite as flexible as that in terms of an advocacy platform. So I love learning from Nicole today. And should we do it? Let's jump in,


Marjorie (02:03):

Steal it, welcome to the get together podcast, Nicole. It is so cool to be able to speak with you. I've been following same side for quite some time. So it's really going to be neat to, to really get your story out there and let other people hear about the work that you're doing.


Nicole (02:18):

Thank you. First of all, thank you so much for having me. And just when you say things like that, you've been following the same side for awhile. It doesn't make sense. My heart does burst because you know, we've been doing this for a couple years now and just being able to get the word out more is really, you know, a big, big part of what we do community wise. So thank you so much for having us.


Marjorie (02:41):

Yeah, absolutely. We're lucky to have you so same side to me, when I think about the work that you guys do is like the greatest story never told, like no one hears enough about you guys. So for those who are not familiar, tell, tell us what seems like is, and what moved you to start.


Nicole (03:00):

Okay, well, so really we were born out of the 27 or 2016 election, excuse me, in 2017. Like a lot of groups I personally have been involved in organizing and civic engagement for a while and following the election of 2016, just hearing so many people, friends and acquaintances say I wanted to do more to get involved, but I didn't know how, and then, you know, you keep hearing that when maybe there's a mass shooting and you want to do something about gun safety or climate change. And finally it got to a point where my original co-founder who's my brother and I were like, we just need to test out this theory that we've had about, if we can incorporate ways to take action for the issues you care about into the things you're doing every day, the experiences you're having every day, it probably can be something really powerful.


Nicole (03:57):

And ultimately that's what same side was to start. It was how can we deliver tools of civic engagement into things like your yoga class that you go to, or going out for drinks with your friends at night to brunch on Sundays? And so that was the premise we started out with, with same side as building a platform that incorporated civic engagement and experiences. And we tested it out with a few of our first events. And it just really resonated with people saying things like, you know, I really have been wanting to do something for climate change or to support women in politics or this or that. And it kind of just kept snowballing from there. Like, yeah, this is something that people really want to fit into their lives and how can we make it easier? And that was really the Genesis of same side. And recognizing that when we did build community around or bring, or when we don't build community, the communities are already built. We just bring the action to them. And when we bring that action, so many good things happen and it's, it's just really an effect of action building upon each other. And, and that's what that's what same side was to begin with and has continued to grow from there.


Marjorie (05:13):

That's amazing, you know, it's, it's really interesting to see how empowered people feel when they have a platform that supports what they believe in and how they can get it done. So tell us about the first seam side event that you supported and you know, how people find out about it, who came, you know, why, why did they, why did they show up? What was the, what was the vibe like around that first same side supported event?


Nicole (05:42):

So this still is probably one of my absolute favorite events ever. So again, you know, so same side as a platform. So we don't host events, we find organizers or people with a big friend network that want to incorporate a little bit more action for the causes they care about and give them those tools. So our very first event, when we're really just testing out the thesis of do people want to do fun events was after the women's March. There was a lot of obviously movement and momentum and discussion about supporting women in politics because of what had just happened. And so there was a special election in Los Angeles where I live for a congressional seat, and there were a lot of women running in, particularly a young woman who was running, who, you know, all her background and qualifications were just what you would want somebody representing, at least for me.


Nicole (06:36):

And a lot of, you know, people in my network. So we found somebody who supported her, his name was Phil, and he had a big network of friends and he's like, yeah, I want to do more to bring them together and, and to support her and do more work for her. And so we, we gate, we set Phil up as a host with some ways that he could bring together action and doing something fun. So really Phil set it up. He set up a brewery tour of the arts district in downtown LA, which has all of these amazing breweries and food and everything. And he combined that with actually doing phone banking for Sarah Hernandez for Congress. I mean, phone banking is probably one of the scariest things you can do in like the most high engagement thing you can do, but it was crazy to see 15 people come out from all across LA, which that in of itself is a feat, you know, driving or traveling in a car to go do your phone begging.


Nicole (07:38):

But every single person to a T one other person had done phone banking before, but every other single person to a T had said two things. One they'd wanted it to do more to support women in politics. And because they knew Phil, they trusted Phil. They knew, you know, he was going to be there and it was going to be something meaningful. And two they'd been meaning to come to downtown LA to go check out the breweries and just never really had a reason to, because they were coming from the South Bay, which is like, you know, half an hour away or wherever they were coming from. And so the combination of Phil as the host and being someone they trusted to doing something good and then doing something fun and those three things coming together, we just really saw that combination be so powerful and together, those people made over 700 phone calls for Sarah's campaign, which for a grassroots campaign or 23 people running in that, in that race for a grassroots campaign, that was enormous.


Nicole (08:36):

She ended up finishing fourth, which is not the outcome she wanted, but it was just a crazy, you know, crazy explosion of people coming together that you wouldn't normally see. And so from there, we just really kind of tested out a few different you know, user like hosts, hosts profiles and everything. But from that first event, it was just everything, everything good was happening. There was just everything good because you know, people would be going out on a Saturday night anyway, and this just combined all the great things. So I'm still one of my absolute favorite events ever.


Marjorie (09:17):

Yeah. And it sounds like that was a major aha moment and really understanding, you know, this is, we've got something here. We've, we've got something.


Nicole (09:25):

Absolutely. Yeah. And again, like I said, like phone banking is just a huge undertaking for, in terms of civic engagement. And we, we recognize that that's not going to be the norm just because of the circumstances. And so, you know, we really kind of wanted to give hosts other ways that weren't as high of an engagement to be able to incorporate action. And I think when we really saw that this had scalability and legs was when we saw a lot of different host profiles start hosting and allowing those groups to do things easy, like maybe post carding or sending an email to legislators. There are so many tech tools that we can easily incorporate into these events that we saw groups like the standard hotels they've hosted now six or seven events for things like defending DACA, LGBTQ rights, climate change. And when families were being separated at the border, they quickly jumped on hosting a happy hour for people to come together and take action around that.


Nicole (10:28):

And that's the standard hotel down to, you know, we have somebody in had somebody in Denver who did a terrarium workshop for LGBTQ rights to a young woman hosting her birthday party on the platform to support ending the rape kit backlog in California. You know, when we started seeing this just wide expanse of different host profiles start to come on the platform, it just really showed that, you know, if we can obviously build out our ability to service all of them and you know, we can really scale this up in a, in a major way. And that was really, really exciting.


Marjorie (11:08):

Yeah. And that that's hugely fascinating. So how, how do people find out that they can host with same side? How do people figure out they can get involved with you to do something? Good?


Nicole (11:19):

Good question. So we, first of all, it's obviously on our website, anybody can host, so there's no application, there's no fee, there's no barrier, except that you just have to have the desire to host and what our job is, is to show you that path and how you, as you know, Nicole, you as Marjorie, you as Joe, whomever, you are, you can be a host and really anybody can be a host. And so what we do is typically we'll, we'll reach out to people that are already organizers. And that doesn't mean in the political sense. We mean not in people who are bringing people together. So whether you're maybe a small business owner, like a yoga instructor or your somebody who has a really large friend group, and you bring your friends together over brunch, you know, you're that person that gets everybody together. We try to identify those groups and those cohorts to let them know about same side.


Nicole (12:18):

And then the really awesome thing from there is that what we found is that from every event that's hosted, two new hosts are generated from that because when people see somebody like them hosting or doing something that brings people together, they think, Oh, I can do this with my book club, or I can do this with my church group, or I can do this with my, you know, my friends and we get together for happy hour or my colleagues or whatever it may be because everyone's part of the community, you know? And, and I think what we really try to drive home is that you don't have to be a celebrity or a mega influencer to do these types of actions, because it doesn't have to be a hundred people or a thousand people, it can be 10 people, it can be five people, but that impact is still impact. Right. And so, you know, again, we start off with trying to find those that are already doing things, but we also have different resources that help anybody who's interested in just bringing a little bit more action to the gatherings that they're already a part of or, or doing.


Marjorie (13:28):

And I think that's so impactful and so powerful to say, because a lot of people will sit back and think, Oh, I can't, there's not much that I can, what can I do? I'm only one person, but it really feels like you're empowering your hosts to do some mighty things, regardless of the number of people they're doing it with.


Nicole (13:46):

That's absolutely right. And, and like I said, you know, we hosts however big their event is, there are amplifiers within that event. So again, you may just have five people there, which is still awesome. It's still amazing. And honestly, we found like some of the smaller events, because you're really able to have intimate conversations and really, you know, dive deep into issues that issues of substance that affect your everyday lives and then take action for that. And there's real emotional power in that. And that emotional power can then be amplified by you sharing out maybe some of the resources that were provided or, you know, getting everybody to do three actions rather than just one action. And then somebody sees that and, you know, it's just causes that sort of, you know, it's that ignition to more action. And so we absolutely, you know, just try to bring in everybody who just has that interest because we provide a lot of tools to the hosts, to, you know, just all they have to do is gather the people and we take care of the rest really and small events, big events, all of it is just really, really powerful.


Marjorie (15:06):

That's awesome. So tell me a little bit about how, how you support your hosts. How do you develop meaningful resources for them as they organize their events? And is there something in particular that's been really super valuable for your hosts? And then how do you know, you know, what they need and you know, other than them saying, Hey, Nicole, we need this.


Nicole (15:30):

Well, we've learned a lot along the way. We certainly didn't have it. Perfect. You know, we thought, okay, we're just going to create this platform that people just know what they want to do. And you know, this is just a platform that gathers no. It wasn't, wasn't like that right away. What we discovered is that, you know, people want to bring people together for good and purpose. However, there needs to be some resources that give them a little bit more confidence in speaking about the issues that they care about, because you can talk about it, but when you're commanding a room or when you're bringing people together to, to really drill down on issues that are personal you want to have a little bit more confidence in, in the, maybe the statistics behind it. And so what we found is our hosts, one of the biggest barriers to our hosts actually doing something was that they didn't feel that they could be a subject matter expert.


Nicole (16:23):

And so they wanted to maybe bring in somebody from an organization or you know, have, have others participate. And that just creates more layers to an event. And it's just not as easy to then create the event. What we recognized is that we could create these tool kits that were based on information and tools and resources from these frontline organizations like your, you know, your planned Parenthoods, your sunrise movements, your color of change, all these groups that have been doing the work for a really long time and take their resources and combine them into a toolkit so that when a host maybe is creating an event for climate change, they can connect it to the sunrise movement campaign or the planned Parenthood or whatever it is. And those toolkits are delivered to everybody at the event by signing up through same side.


Nicole (17:19):

And so that way, again, the host just has to be the convener. Hey guys, I'm doing a yoga class. I want to support LGBTQ rights, doing it in supportive human rights campaign or equality, California, quality, Utah, whomever it is we're gonna get together. We're going to have a yoga class. And then we can have a discussion about, you know, what, what can we do to support the LGBTQ community. And those resources are all there for them to go through together. They can it into the event as much as possible or as little as possible, but then it just really takes the the burden off of the hosts to do a lot of that research and feel like they're the subject matter expert. Again, all they have to do is just bring people together for the values that they care about or for the issue that they care about.


Nicole (18:08):

And so we've found that to be really powerful because within that toolkit, again, are facts about the issue resources to learn more. And of course, in everything we do just ways to take action, which may be sign a petition or contact your legislator about policy or donate to an organization, or sign up for a mailing list to learn more sign up to volunteer. And all of those things are within the toolkit, not shareable. So again, it just amplifies the impact and it's just all these good things and really wrapping the event or the gathering in good and in purpose and in action.


Marjorie (18:45):

I think that's really beautiful, right? Because I think there are people who want to do something like, for instance, I have to say the summer when everything happened with George Floyd and Brianna Taylor, and there was just so much unrest and I felt like I should be doing something, but who am I to be doing something right. And where do I even start? But same side really really kind of gives volume to the voices of people who don't think they can do anything. Like they don't think they can create change. They don't think that they can, can do something that's going to be meaningful enough to, to help. So tell us a little bit about the impact that this has had on you and your hosts when someone really feels supported and empowered to take that first step to creating change within their community.


Nicole (19:41):

It is again, like it's hard to really convey all the fields, right? I mean, I don't want to drill it down into such a term like that, but really, it really is hard to put words to that feeling of, I did something that you get and, and time and time again, we, we just hear this because like you said, it's people who don't think they can do something, but when they recognize that like, Oh, well I'm already part of this group, or I'm already doing it. And like, Oh, we can just do one more or we can just incorporate this action. That's already set up for us. It just is so powerful. And so, you know, I mean, some of my favorites groups or individuals who have hosted, you know, have mostly been just, and I don't want to say regular people, cause we're all awesome unique individuals, but you know, someone who's not been in organizing for a long time.


Nicole (20:44):

And I think because I have it, it felt like my duty to, to allow everybody to see, you know, what their power was. I grew up in a household where my parents were both part of a union and like unions were really you know, a big part of our upbringing in that you take a stand for your livelihood for your lifestyle, for what you, you know, what you want to see in the world. And that's really been my mission when same side is just to share that, you know, how you do that because I, I was blessed to grow up in that. And now, you know, we just want to give resources and we do that through our newsletters too. Like maybe you're not ready to host it yet, but we do that through our newsletters and see like here's some individual actions you can take to, and then hopefully we get you up that ladder of engagement where maybe you're attending an event and you see somebody, you know, who looks like you, or has your background and has done an event. And then you kind of, it just plants that seed that like, Oh, maybe I can do this with also with my group, with my friends, with my family. Also, that's really just sort of the pathway to us bringing people in through same side and building, building with you along the way, building our relationship with you


Marjorie (21:59):

To dig a little bit deeper into the building with part of it, because you know, a large part of the people in company philosophy and Bailey Italia around community building is that you build community with your people, not for your people. So it's, you know, you're, you're, you're helping them, they're helping you. So what other ways does same side do that with hosts and or you provide them some really great resources. You provide them that support that they need, the confidence that they need to get out there and really affect change. But what other ways do you build community with your hosts?


Nicole (22:33):

That is a really great question. And it's, it just gives me, I guess, the most joy and you know, I think fuels my drive to keep going. Because as you know, when you're in a startup, it's a crazy amount of work every single day, and something needs to fuel you to keep going. And really what we love the most is sharing the stories of our hosts and who our hosts are. Because again, they're not celebrities that have these enormous platforms. They may have built up a platform for themselves, but a lot of times they're just people in the community who wanted to do more. And so we try to share those stories as much as possible to, to really show the process of how they came to host on the same side, because at the end of the day, same side honestly, is nothing without our hosts.


Nicole (23:31):

We're nothing without events for people to go to. And it, you know, we're just a site with that, you know, has a cool framework. So we really try to build that process along the, again, you know, planting the seed with here, here's our newsletter, here's our weekly email that shows you little ways that you can take action as an individual who you did something for, you know, with color of change during the summer of 2020 and the George Floyd protests. Here's a group that's doing a virtual event. Maybe you want to join that. You went to that virtual event. Why don't you look into hosting one yourself? Why don't you look just to see what it takes to host something? Do you have a group? And then building that relationship along the way and planting those seeds along the way, it may not happen. You know, perfectly, it all happens within a few months, right?


Nicole (24:26):

But that seed is planted. And then the more that we have those touch points that look, who's look at Bova, who's a really rad DJ. And she was just deejaying, you know, up until this summer. And then now she's done events for voting for menstrual equity for all these kinds of things, you know, because the opportunities were planted in her. And then when something comes up, she says, I want to do this for, you know, with on same side, what can I do? What kind of action can I incorporate it into it, or somebody who's part of a group, you know, in Utah equality, Utah, and just see, you know, saw all the possibilities of what she could do for her community. And it just really opens up. So again, presenting as many stories as possible as you guys know. I mean, just, just getting the word out there about what you can do as an individual and just showing that. And then eventually I think a lot of people come around and understand, Hey, I can do this too. That's really what we try to do.


Speaker 4 (25:31):

Have you attended the same side events and how many have you gone to?


Nicole (25:35):

Oh yes. I really, of course I try to attend as many as I can just so I can understand better what, you know, what the pain points are at events or what really brought a lot of joy and was really fulfilling an event. So I try to go to as many as possible I'm based in LA. So obviously I'm constrained by geography, but before the pandemic I was trying to travel to you know, we've had, we've had them all across the country, North Carolina, Colorado, New York everywhere. But I really love being there again, not just not just to understand what's best for the platform, but also because there's only good that comes out of this. You know, there is no bad, it's all just really good and seeing hosts, especially first time hosts do something and then just realize, you know, and then you see the wheels start turning like, Oh, I could do this, I could do this. I could do this. And kind of, you know, furthering that belief is really powerful. And I love, you know, again, when you're in a startup, you need those moments of momentum to keep you going and then keeps us, you know, understanding how we can develop our product better and, and get more people involved.


Marjorie (26:52):

For sure. What's been the most impactful thing that you've seen your hosts to what's really affected you. And really kind of driven home that, yeah, this is, this is the right thing. We're doing the right thing.


Nicole (27:05):

I mean, every single I'm, I'm a civic engagement nerd. So every time someone maybe contacts their legislator for the first time and sees how easy it is, I get a little tear in my eyes. That's really I'm crazy like that. But you know, we just recently there was an event on our platform called vote test and we were involved in it in a way where we you know, made some connections and brought some parties together, but it was in Venice, California. And it was an event with really, really awesome musicians and performers. And then also groups from civic organizations talking about voting and going through the ballot. And they, people were told to bring their ballots. So bring your ballot to Venice. There's a ballot box right here. And it was unreal. How many people showed up and then B brought their ballots because it was like in-between performance performers.


Nicole (28:07):

We stopped. And, you know, Molly from courage, California started going through, okay, this is, this is why you got to vote for prop 17. This is why this is going to be good for our community. This is why it's going to further. And people were just coming together in community around voting. And it was so powerful. And I mentioned before, you know, the standard hotels did in 2018, they did a really big series of events and seeing them hosts, not just for LGBTQ rights, they did a poll, they turned their pool parties into same side events every month. And so the first one was for gun safety. And you know, this isn't, this is a pretty, you know, big hotel brand that stood up and said, yes, we believe there needs to be sensible gun solutions. And we are going to turn our hotel into a place where you can advocate for sensible gun solutions. That was, that was a huge step and not easy. And they did that and LGBTQ rights and DACA. And so every time I'm there and I see it, I honestly, it just tears just in my eyes and, and it's really powerful. And then also guests saying, I didn't realize I could do that. Even, even just taking that action, they didn't realize that the role that they could play in their, you know, in, in democracy and in the community. And all of it is just heartwarming to me and, and really, really powerful and amazing.


Marjorie (29:38):

I bet it is. I can, I can hear the, and like the pride in your voice. It's giving me goosebumps. Like if you were sitting next to me, be able to see the, my arms, but it's really cool to hear you talk about that.


Nicole (29:50):

Thank you. Thank you. You know, it's, I'll be honest. There are times when you sit back and you think, is this really doing anything? You know, obviously I, my migraine vision it's like everyone, every single day is doing, you know, actions or same side. You know, every gathering every day is, is, is taking action. And, you know, we're obviously not there yet. And so it's easy to think of, Oh, I'm failing at this or it's failing, but obviously that's, you got to start somewhere. I mean, I, I need to practice what I preach. Right. I tell everybody starts small and it grows. And so, you know, where we've come from to where we are today, over a million actions have grassroots actions have been inside. And so that's no small feat, but it takes time. And so I appreciate the very kind words that you're saying about same side.


Marjorie (30:46):

It's all heartfelt. So 20, 20 let's, let's talk a little bit about, I know the exasperated side. But what challenges have you been met with because of it? I know it's probably changed a little bit how you support your hosts, especially as it pertains to things like live events or, or maybe it hasn't, maybe it, it really hasn't changed that much, but what challenges have you been met with because of, you know, the pandemic and, you know, any other thing that you can think of that 2020 is thrown at us this year?


Nicole (31:18):

Well, having a live events platform is just really awesome. And I was a really smart business move, strategic business, move on my part, obviously that threw a wrench in things early on. And, and of course we are a tech company and we're a startup. We were fundraising at the beginning of the year. And because we had actually relaunched the platform from what it had been. And so those, you know, best laid plans kind of got thrown out the window because we had to immediately not pivot, but added new features that allowed for virtual events and everybody else was figuring it out. And so, you know, we were good in the beginning and then there was zoom fatigue. And so as other groups were, or as other States I should say were opening up is just, how do you manage, like what's safe even for the community?


Nicole (32:15):

What should you, what resources should you be providing? Was, was something we had to navigate from a tech standpoint and we did. And, and I think, you know, the platforms in a good place now, the other big thing was of course the, what happened following George Floyd, the pandemic, and the just really racial disparities that laid bare in our society. But what I kind of always say to people is 2020, didn't just happen. You know, these issues that we're having, didn't just happen. These issues have been happening for a long time and not that we've been asleep, but it just wasn't right in front of our faces. Like it became in may of 2020. And, you know, and even before that, with the pandemic, so what we're really trying to communicate, and we've already started messaging this a little bit. It's that even after the election, it's not over, you know, it's, it's not, and in and come January 1st, 20, 21, God willing, it's a new day and we've got leadership that cares about people.


Nicole (33:26):

But, but that doesn't mean that all of these issues just magically go away. It's what happens then is that is when we really need to hold those that we've elected accountable. And we start saying, this is what we need. This is what our community needs, and we've gotta be communicating better to them. And so we've already started that messaging and we said, we know, we know, like you just want the election over and we just want to quote unquote, go back to normal, but normal is what we're living in now. And how are we going to adapt to that? And so I think, you know, same side evolve, same site has to evolve with all of these, the way that we live as a society, because we're here to support growth of communities. And as communities grow, we need to be able to adapt and support that. And so just keeping the eye on just understanding your role in doing what's best for your community and always being part of that is what same side has to continually do with our, our hosts and our community and, and how you can be a part of that and how you can support your community with action is what we continue to talk about and deliver tools and ways to be involved in that.


Marjorie (34:40):

So, so let's talk a little bit about growth. So you mentioned that same side has been around since 2017, you've had events and York Colorado, of course, in California. How are you looking to, or are you looking to really scale the number of hosts across the nation? And, you know, are you looking to be worldwide? Like, what's, what's the grand vision there?


Nicole (35:05):

Well, we are global already, which of course in this virtual world that we now live in, we've been able to bring in guests from all over all over the world. And one of our groups Modibodi, which is an Australian based company, a period panny, they do a lot around menstrual equity and they've, they've got a pretty good presence here in the U S they hosted a virtual event that brought in their global teams, and they had people from over 10 countries and literally women were dancing in period panties from DJ Bova, from all around the world, learning about menstrual equity, which is actually a really huge issue for women's equality. It was just mind blowing and amazing to see what can happen when you bring joy and purpose to events. But I think, you know, in, in the more pure scalability form that you're asking about, you know, how do we actually scale this?


Nicole (36:02):

And I'll be honest, it's a challenge because there is a lot of slow build and working with communities to let them know about same side and what they can do, but we've seen it particularly in LA, you know, where we're based. And then Denver, we had a really good group in Denver. The growth that can happen when we just are able to plant the seed. So of course, you know, being able to fundraise and build out our team a little bit to expand both our geographic reach with obviously, you know, doing some marketing and partnerships, et cetera. That's, that's really the goal for 2021. But like I said, it's a flywheel. As soon as you start getting a few community members on board to be hosting the number of hosts that come out of it how that growth trajectory just happens on its own is is, you know, what we see for the growth of same side and, you know, talking about global, I've already had conversations with people in Mexico and Canada, central America about, you know, can they host on same side and while theoretically they could, we're not fully set up to really grow in those, in those communities.


Nicole (37:22):

So we are, it is absolutely on our roadmap when we have the bandwidth to, to expand in a very meaningful way, but there's no reason why, you know, why it can't happen, save for maybe, you know, China, that would be a, to having lived in China, myself right when they shut down Facebook, I understand how powerful they are. It


Marjorie (37:48):

Is. So


Nicole (37:51):

We are, you know, save charter. We are ready and looking at expansion all around the world.


Marjorie (37:58):

Wow, you're going to take over Nicole, you're going to take over the world. So, so as you work toward the next, you know, couple years for same side, what do you hope to see happening only amazing things.


Nicole (38:18):

Well, you know, we've got a lot of big updates planned for the platform just to make it make the hosting process even smoother and really solidifying that connection between organizations, grass, particularly grassroots organizations that are on the ground, doing the work for the causes that we care about with hosts and just making that connection so much smoother. So we've got a few really big updates for the product planned in the works, which are very exciting. And then just putting in place some ways to, to really expand our host outreach and get out there. And that's really in the next two years, five to 10 years, you know, it's so hard to plan that out, but obviously we have our growth plans and, you know, it's a looks a lot different today than it did January, 2020. So I don't know how much we can rely on that, but our vision from the beginning and has always been that one day, every single gathering in the world will be powered by same side with purpose. And so as much as we can continue to grow our host network, grow our messaging to people to show how you can incorporate purpose, whether you're, again, a small business owner, your large brand, you're an individual, every single one of those groups can have a really strong impact in leading the change that they want to see. And same side hopes do that. So we're looking to really smooth out the product and that's exciting, and then just keep on growing our, our users and our hosts.


Marjorie (40:05):

So do you do you also see because there's a lot of power behind some of those frontline organizations that you talked about earlier that really helped you put together some of the resources that help your hosts. Do you see more partnerships with those folks as well? I think that, you know, if I, if I'm reading you right, you know, you definitely want to make sure that you keep the focus and the empowerment on those individual people who are looking to do something in their communities. But I think that there's probably some stuff that you can really leverage from those frontline organizations to, to continue to power those quote unquote smaller movements. Do you see that also as being something that you're going to focus on?


Nicole (40:47):

Absolutely. Absolutely. And it's interesting when you look at, you know, you see these large organizations and they look like they've got it all and you know, they're having these really big sponsorships and, but they still really rely on grassroots people, power. However, part of our research and what we're really building the platform around is how difficult digital has been. For course, you've got your big groups like planned Parenthood and color of change who are really able to employ a lot of good digital marketing, but, you know, one layer below them, even these like medium groups, medium sized groups. And of course then the small grassroots groups who are on the ground, the ability to reach out digitally and really build up a program that's widespread and scalable for them is really, really difficult because you're so focused on your programs that bringing in new users or new followers or new donors into your organization has been really difficult for them.


Nicole (41:53):

And that's kind of, I think, you know, same side's mission along with bringing in hosts. Part of it is that these hosts bring in new people into the networks of these organizations. And the question has been, how can we help them build out, help our hosts build out their digital presence for organizations. And we've got some really, really cool tools that we already have, but some really cool tools that we're putting, putting the pieces together now to be able to incentivize more people, to spread the word about events that may be in support of CHIRLA, which is the largest immigrant rights groups in California, but very few people have brand awareness of them. So how can we incentivize others who support the work of CHIRLA to really spread the name out of Trello, without them having to do a huge, you know, digital marketing campaign, which they don't have the bandwidth people-wise or budget wise to really do, how can we empower our, our users to do that for them?


Nicole (42:59):

And we've got some really cool things in the works for that. So, so that's, you know, when I talk about solidifying that relationship between the host and the organizations, we don't necessarily want you know, organizations can't be involved in every single event, but we do want that really strong connection and that visibility for organizations to see who's hosting for them and recognition in a way that's meaningful and gives people more reason to do it on a, on a regular basis and do events on a regular basis and continue that, that work for them. And it just spreads, you know, awareness of organizations, spreads awareness of the host and what they're doing, and really building out their digital presence in a way that's so win-win for everybody.


Marjorie (43:44):

Yeah. And, and I also think that probably something like that would also serve as an extra push to just keep going. Right. 'cause, it's, it's one of those motivators that, you know, when you feel like, yeah, you know, I've got these people come in, but man, I'm tired. It doesn't really matter if I continue to do this work, you know, that type of recognition really kind of helps keep you moving along because the work that these folks are doing is important and, you know, the way that you're enabling it is a way that I don't think we've ever seen before. Right? Like people will give a platform for you to say, here's, you can, here's how you can list your event. But the support that you give, I think is unique to what organizers are used to receiving.


Nicole (44:24):

Absolutely. And you know, one of the things that I think is really important that we try to put out there is doing an event and having, you know, maybe all the proceeds go to an organization as really great, however, it's not sustainable, you know? So like you may put all your effort into you. You may be, you know again, I go back to yoga instructor cause we ha we've had a lot of yoga classes. You may donate all of your, you know, the revenue you get from an, from a class. And that's really great, but that's not sustainable. You obviously can't donate all the revenue all the time. Otherwise you're, you know, you're, you're not able to keep your business going, but we really try to communicate to both the organizations and our hosts is that you can, you can make a living off of this or you can at least make some income off of if you put together a really cool event and it has a lot of value.


Nicole (45:22):

There's no reason why that can't be a business for you, or you can't make money off that to ensure you want to be raising money as well for the organization and incorporating that maybe into a ticket price or so, but there's no reason why you should have to sacrifice everything and you can do that, but you can't do that always. And so we want to show that again, like this is something that you can do with your business, your existing business, or as a business that incorporating good doesn't mean sacrifice. It means bringing value because I mean these amazing events that are bringing people together for and doing good and giving them resources and giving them a reason to come together and like doing something fun. And that is really valuable. So we really want to push the idea that this can be a way to earn money and raise money for organizations. And those don't have to be mutually exclusive.


Marjorie (46:22):

Yeah. It's not a yes, but it's a yes. And


Nicole (46:26):

Exactly. Exactly.


Marjorie (46:28):

Okay. So one, one more question for you. And I think that, you know, this one, this one's a fun question. If you could wave a magic wand, if you had one in your hand right now what would you want for same side? Just wave your magic wand and it could just magically happen for you right now. What would that be?


Nicole (46:50):

We'd be through fundraising


Speaker 5 (46:55):

Period. End of story.


Nicole (46:58):

Oh my goodness. I mean, Oh my goodness. Yes. That, that whole process, because like every startup having a balance, those two processes is just been, you know, it's, it's difficult, but you've got to dedicate so much time, but then that means you're taking time away from your platform. And I just want to do the fun stuff, which is building out same side. And while that is a, just a crazy amount of work, it's, it's still fun to me and you're still doing good. And the fundraising process is, is interesting, especially for a woman run company in an impact company. But so, you know, while that's not the funny answer, I mean, I think that's, that's like the real, you know, tactical answer. But I think when I look at the grand vision of same side, I think really people already understanding their power in, in being able to organize and bringing able to, to bring their community together, their friends together, their family, other, whoever it may be, and just already having that understanding instilled in them and then same side's already set up to then deliver them the tools that they need to get ready.


Nicole (48:11):

I mean, that would be the most amazing thing because that's the biggest barrier. That's the biggest hurdle. And once you get past that, then so much good happens and all end with this story of a host of ours who lost her job during the pandemic pretty early on in the pandemic. And as you can imagine, as I'm sure a lot of people are going through, it was pretty depressing and scary and just, you know, left a lot of uncertainty and what, what we know, and this is through a study in the Mayo clinic to the one thing that reduces anxiety and helps with mental health is to have purpose. And so she, through her surfing her surf group, it's a women's surf collective, just rapid fire set up. Now that she's done about six events, one was a beach cleanup during beach cleanup month. One was a yoga and a paddle out a dance class and paddle out has really found bringing that community to do good.


Nicole (49:16):

Just invigorated her completely. So seeing how she brought so many people into, into her space of purpose and how it's just fueled her to really see new things on the horizon that she never saw before. And for same side, it's the same, you know, we see how we can help so many different people in different ways and how the platform can just expand exponentially. And again, I've said this before, but our hosts are what fuel us and what helps us grow. And so, you know, again, that magic wand is just getting people to that place where they already understand their power and their impact. We have everything. Then we're getting to that point, we're doing those things to get there. And that magic one is already waving upon us. It's growing really fast and we're so excited every month to see the growth that we're having.


Marjorie (50:14):

And I am so excited to see it keep growing. I, this has been such a great conversation with you, Nicole, thank you so much for being a guest on the podcast. I can't wait for people to hear this story and see next for same side. If people want to get involved, how can they find you?


Nicole (50:32):

Exactly. So of course, on our, we have a place where you can sign up for our newsletter. You can email us if you're interested in hosting, of course, we're on every social platform at on same side and shoot us an email. If you're just interested and want to learn more, check out our website, we've got a lot of great info there. Our blog has a lot of great stories about different people and we hope to connect soon. There's again, there's no event that's too small. I love every single one of them. And so just reach out to us and we'll get, you started so


Marjorie (51:15):

Fun talking to you, Nicole, thanks so much for joining


Nicole (51:17):

Us. I am so grateful to you for the platform that you guys have to, to get these kinds of stories out as well as is really incredible. So thank you so much.


Marjorie (51:31):

If you want to connect with Nicole Beckett or even host your very own same site event, you can reach them on all social Thank you to our team. Thank you, Rosana kebab for engineering and editing Greg David for his design work and Kenny O'Connell for marketing this episode,


Bailey (51:54):

[Inaudible] you can find out more about the work Kevin Kai and I do. As people in company, helping organizations get clear on who their most important communities are and how to build with those people by heading to our website, people Also, if you want to start your own community or supercharge one that you're already a part of our handbook is here for you. Is it get together to grab a coffee it's full of stories and learnings from conversations with community leaders like this one with Nicole and last thing we feel like it today. We would love if you would review us or click subscribe that helps get the podcast out to more people. Thanks everybody. We'll see you next time.