What’s Your CorePurpose? How will you achieve it?

April 11, 2011

AZBio Member John Hoffman of QMR

This week, Tuesday in fact, I have my first BIG meeting as the President and CEO of AZBIO, the Arizona BioIndustry Association.  It’s probably the most important meeting we will have all year – the first phase of our strategic planning process.

There will be other important events and meetings through out the year, but this one lays the foundation for what we will do and who we will do it for. Read the rest of this entry »


The Power of Building a Community

September 14, 2009

There are few things as powerful in this world as when people come together as a community to make something happen.People's mandala - 12 hands

In it’s simplest form, a community is defined as a unified body of individuals.  In it’s most powerful, it is a force that can accomplish  almost any goal.

In the world of business, our professional communities are where we go to exchange ideas, to study, to learn, and  to bond together to address major issues.

Our customer communities can give us insight into how our products work,or how they should.  If we take the time to listen, user communities can light the way along the path to innovation.

Without community there can be no innovation.  It is our community that accepts our invention, validates it, accepts it and adopts it.  Then and only then is innovation truly real.

But the power of community is not limited to business – it is around us in every corner of our lives.  Community can be family. For many it is the congregation of those who share beliefs and faith in something greater than themselves.

And today, in our evolving technology world, we are seeing new communities emerge across social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, connecting people – many who have never met or may never meet in real life -but yet hold common interests, form bonds, and support each other in a myriad of ways.

Sometimes community relationships last a life time, and in others they form and disband quickly after the need or project has has passed.  But while the community exists, it can be a powerful force and a source of inspiration.

For me, great examples of the power of what communities can do are all around.  Here are just a few:

The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation

OTEF started when Francine Hardaway set out on a mission to help at risk populations find self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship.  She reached out to her community of friends and to the greater community of entrepreneurs for help.  Projects like this need funding – so in the true spirit of entrepreneurs – they created a product and took it to the marketplace.  In this case that product was the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conferences.  Each year entrepreneurs gather to hear ideas from others on what it takes to build a community, to launch businesses, and to realize goals.  ALL of the speakers donate  their time and talents, and ALL of the conference proceeds go to support OTEF’s mission.  Now going into it’s fourth year, entrepreneurial leaders like Michael Gerber, Pat Sullivan, Gary Vaynerchuck, Robert Scoble, and Matt Mullenwig have shared the stage with over 100 local CEOS, all sharing ideas while supporting OTEF in making a difference.


Some late night musings, evolved into a blog post on how to be original.  With an  idea that it would be fun to share original ideas with friends in a place where we could all find them,  I blogged it as Why #BeOriginal to let my friends know.  Over time a community formed across the broader Twitter community made up of people who love to share their own ideas with others.  Just look at all the insights that have been shared to date and with more and more coming every day.  Another friend helped set up a TWUB so we could make the sharing even easier.

Communities lend a hand

Not long ago, a friend  experienced one of the deepest of tragedies – the loss of his son at a time when on top of the emotional burden, the financial one was more that he could handle.   Members of his community came together – not just to offer friendship –  but to offer dollars to help with the funeral expenses.  The call went out across Twitter and Facebook, and the community responded.

But it is not just in times of sorrow.  Communities can gather to celebrate wonderful events, the birth of a child, an anniversary, or a wedding.

It was a converging of communities that inspired this blog post.

I read a story, written by a young Mom, that I had come to know through our exchanges on BloggersBase.  Her name is Kathryn and she writes as Kaytii or RMS Snowdrop.  On   9/11 she shared a story – Open Your Hearts to a Stranger. In it she told the story of a young couple who were planning to get married.    They had two other special people in their lives – their best man and maid of honor.  The couple wanted to share their joy and special day with these two important people.

Then came the news that the best man would be deploying to Afghanistan.  To have him at the wedding, they would have to move up the date by almost a year!  Financially, they were not ready.  Good friends decided to help.  Through online communities, people have come together to offer little things, small donations of money, a topper for the wedding cake, help with flowers, and simple things to help make the young couple’s dream come true.  The wonder of it is that many of these people have never met each other, and maybe never will.

But together they are a community – people bonding together at a place in time – to make a  difference.

I think I like that definition of community best of all.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Author’s Note:  After reading’s Kaytii’s story about Shauna and Derrick, I sent her a tweet with my phone number and suggested we talk.  We got together on the phone and shared ideas on how we could help make a dream come true.  One of the ideas was to share her message with my community – adding it to hers.  And that is what I just did.

Oh, and I also DID make a contribution to the wedding fund.  If you would like to share in a little piece of the community that is trying to grant a very simple wish – here is the link.

Sometimes You Win…

March 17, 2009

Chris, Dad and Chelsea with the Thorne Cup 2009.  Photo by Terri Berman

If you have been following this blog over the past few months, you know that there have been some big changes since December and there are lots of exciting games in play. 

On a personal note, my son Chris returned from Canada in December where he had been playing in the BCHL.  I wondered for a moment if my days as a hockey mom were over.  The next thing I knew, Chris was rejoining his former team, the Phoenix Polar Bears, as they skated their way to another Western Division Championship, made USA Hockey history when they locked in an Eighth Straight National Championship berth, and this weekend won the WSHL Thorne Cup Trophy.  The National Championships are the last weekend in March.  Stay Tuned.

On a business note, I left ASBA at the end of my contract in December 2008 to explore new opportunities and devote more time to my duties as a board member and treasurer for Ribomed Biotechnologies, Inc.  As my journey progressed, I have seen some incredible companies, found some incredible opportunities, pursued a ‘really cool deal’, made some great new contacts in the world of business, been actively raising capital, and learned a lot along the way!

My ‘really cool deal’ was an exciting roller coaster ride.

  • Identifying an interesting opportunity on January 12th
  • Analyzing it independently
  • Pitching the deal to investors
  • Getting the money I needed to make an offer and take the company to new heights.  Even though many said it could never be done that fast!
  • Making my offer – and starting the process
  • Losing the Deal to another bidder on March 16th.

Oh, no! you might be thinking, All that work and it did not happen.  Well, of course it was disappointing to lose the deal, but learning what I did alone the way is a BIG Win.

Here is what I learned:

1.  If you have a solid deal with good fundamentals – there is money out there to fund it. AND,  YOU CAN GET IT!

2.  There are lots of people committed to making a positive impact on our economy right now.  Not just politicians and big bankers, but entrepreneurs all over the country and the world, making connections, starting new projects, sharing connections, and making a positive impact – daily!

3. People want and need to hear POSTIVE business messages right now.  That’s why over 1,000 people like you are reading this blog.  And that’s why I make the time  to write it.

4.  That I may have lost this ‘really cool deal’ but a better opportunity is waiting just around the corner.  You may not win every game, but with each new game and each new play, you have the opportunity for a break-away goal.   Stay tuned…


-Joan Koerber-Walker