Hub Host and Talent Bank Diva, Kate Seely just returned from Mexico and while away visited Hub Oaxaca! Sometimes, we forget that we truly are a global network and that there are people all over the world working on the same issues that we are here in Berkeley. Enjoy reading about Kate’s experience at Hub Oaxaca and if anyone else has visited another Hub, we would love to hear about your thoughts on the experience as well.
I hurried through the streets of central Oaxaca in search of Hub Oaxaca. I left the havoc of street construction on Cosijopi and entered a deep red, one-story, Spanish style colonial building. Entering the main space, which is splashed with calming sunlight and a light breeze, I felt a connection with the space. The locally designed petal tables offer a sense of familiarity to our Berkeley Hub, as well as Julieta’s (the host who greeted me) warmth. She gave me a tour of the space, and told me of Hub Oaxaca’s plans to expand into the entire building and to rent out the individual offices off of the back patio.
There were aspects that were so familiar, and others, like the community they’re trying to attract and build, that are so different. I spent four years in Oaxaca co-founding a non-profit called Puente that works in public health and economic development. In thinking about the economic development piece, I have been exploring the idea of social enterprise in Mexico. So as not to go into a commentary about social enterprise and social entrepreneurship, all I will say is that the concepts are extremely nascent.
While social enterprise might not be a common language in Oaxaca, the Hub buzz is still centered around collaboration and community. As I spent the rest of my days in Oaxaca in meetings, I met and heard about numerous people who were involved in the Hub. For example, the consultant that helped my NGO embrace a participatory approach to our programs, the friend who I met when I first visited Oaxaca in 2002, the foundation staff who helped get Hub Oaxaca off the ground, the Puente staff that attended a workshop on group facilitation. No matter what the conversation is, the word is out on the street in Oaxaca, just as it is in Berkeley and the Hub is the place to be if you’re invested in contributing to a better world. And surprise! It’s true! We are part of a global network of Hubs and now all have access to colleagues across the world.