Declaring My Independence

So today was my UC Hearing (that’s Unemployment Compensation to the uninitiated) and after 3 months of dealing with the Department of Labor & Industry, I’m hoping the end of receiving Notices of Financial Determination and the beginning of receiving my Unemployment Benefits. At my Pink Slip Party, Alex told me I hadn’t been laid off, I’d been “Recently Liberated”, so it seemed only fitting that today also be my first official day at Independents Hall, a coworking space in Philadelphia.

Indy Hall LogoI’ve long been a fan of Indy Hall. As someone who believes the 9-5 work day as long out-dated (don’t even get me started on the agrarian based school system) and that most jobs don’t actually require a physical presence within a set space, working in the same PJs for several days in a row isn’t exactly a great alternative (even though you could if you wanted to – no judgment here). People are social creatures and as such require a modicum of social interaction beyond talking to their house plants or pets. But to say that Indy Hall only offers that basic of human needs, other humans, would be a vast understatement. Imagine being able to choose your own co-workers: the smartest, funniest, most bad ass of people you know. Put them in a centrally located space, give them internet, and watch them go!
The result would be a real life mashup of some of the most innovative, creative, and industrious things to come out of Philly since Ben Franklin.

An event horizon where a million things apex, Alex Hillman and Geoff DiMasi may have set the groundwork, but the entire community is working together to build it brick by brick (or App by App as the case may be). After a year and a half of lovingly occupying 32 Strawberry Street, a town hall styled meeting was held where the community weighed the cost benefit ratio of investing in a new space. The community spoke through membership which nearly doubled at all levels in response to the idea of movin’ on up. Hillman and DiMasi knew this day was coming, but I don’t think anyone envisioned it so soon. Nonetheless a promise (or maybe it was a challenge) was made: the space would be ready, with desks, chairs, and internet by May 1st.

6 weeks, hundreds of volunteer hours, and several cases of beers later… it was done. The new space is amazing, with over 30 desks ready to go, a full kitchen (including dishwasher), a bangin’ conference table, and several bathrooms (including one which is being converted into a library). All of which could not have been possible without the amazing oversight of Dana Vachon, Operations Manager and Cupcake Deviant. The transition across Philly’s great North/South divide, otherwise known as Market Street gained a lot of buzz – just Google Indy Hall to see for yourself. Technically Philly has posted a video of the new hotness (totally paraphrasing there) and it’s pretty awesometastic.

The new space is being dubbed Indy Hall 64, while the old space has been coined Indy Hall Classic – but there is still some debate, and final naming convention has yet to be established; but the original space will continue it’s initial intent – to foster and grow the community through it’s newest incarnation as an event space. The first official IndyHall U class, Cocoa Programing Foundations, implemented the model of peer education that is fundamental to the Indy Hall concept. Wildly popular, it was sold out weeks in advance, prompting other organizations to utilize this club house type environment.

I meant to take 10 minutes to kick out a blurb about my first day at Indy Hall… and then it turned into a feature length essay on the meaning of Life (and Indy Hall) and I feel like there is so much more to elaborate on, but for now, I think I’ll just have a cupcake, because here at Indy Hall, it’s Cupcake Thursday, and really, what more could a girl (or geek for that matter) ask for?

Photo Courtesy of Jonny Goldstein

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8 comments so far

  1. Kelani Nichole on

    Wowzers, what a voice! I’m so stoked for your move towards independence, and really appreciated the girl-power ramifications it might have for Indy Hall. Those cupcakes look effing delicious!

    • Kara LaFleur on

      Thank you! I’m excited for my new “Recently Liberated” lifestyle as well :)

  2. Ruth Kalinka on

    Beautifully written, Kara! This essay definitely deserves a feature! :-)

    Love the photo & those cupcakes look delicious! Hope to see you @IndyHall or @TGOB this afternoon. :-)

    • Kara LaFleur on

      Great to see you today, and thanks for sharing the link, it means a lot to me :)

  3. jonny goldstein on

    That was delicious. The cupcake AND the blog post!

    • Kara LaFleur on

      I seriously <3 the ladies at Open Source Cupcakes, they rock, and so do their delicious creations too!

  4. […] While I initially hit the ground running, writing about my unexpected liberation in a post titled Declaring My Independence, I hadn’t yet come to terms with the full extent of thoughts, feelings and experiences […]

  5. […] While I initially hit the ground running, writing about my unexpected liberation in a post titled Declaring My Independence, I hadn’t yet come to terms with the full extent of thoughts, feelings and experiences […]


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