Raychel Espiritu

Have Heart, Do Well: The Heart Series

The Heart Series: A Conference for Conscious Companies

 

Set amongst the industrial buildings in The Row at 777 Alameda St in downtown Los Angeles, The Heart Series is a three-day conference for conscious companies including panel discussions, activities, networking, and brand activations all centered around a common thread of doing good in the world. Tall ceilings, open air, and natural light created a welcoming environment for attendees, despite the first day of heavy rain. Nevermind the gloomy forecast, there was plenty of light shining throughout the room from the event organizers, volunteers, and attendees. There were plenty of beaming smiles and open arms embracing the concept of businesses doing good in the world, which was shared through the duration of the conference.

The intention for most people in attendance is to learn more about how their organization can raise the bar around transparency and impact. The event organizers made this apparent in every customer touchpoint: free Coconut Water from Harmless Harvest, meatless patties from Beyond Meat, free water from Boxed Water, no single-use plastics, and a gift bag full of goodies of eco-friendly products.

It was mentioned in the opening remarks that we are currently in the greatest generation of leadership in history, through the various ways we are each inspiring change. I clapped in agreeance. 

There were quite a few talking points on the first day that made an impact, the first of which is the nature of your business entity.

Being a B Corporation and/or a Fair Trade Certified company means your business is verified by an official organization to follow certain business standards and practices. According to the B Corp website, “Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.”

You don’t have to be a non-profit to make a positive impact and help others.

The first speaker of the day was Brad Hagen, President of media company ATTN.

“Doing good can’t just be a trend. We need to hold ourselves, our peers and businesses accountable.” Hagen emphasized how his media company ATTN has shifted away from the traditional trajectory that advertising agencies follow of selling sex, and instead is selling ideas of doing good. He shared a video that generated over a million views on Facebook that showed a young girl who collected donations and hosted a “Free Laundry Day” for those in the community living in poverty. She went around the laundry mat putting coins in washers and dryers, allowing families the opportunity to clean their clothes free of charge. Hagen drove home the idea that people want to see examples of people helping others, and media companies have the power to shift the narrative.

The latter portion of the day included panel discussions where I learned there are ways to work with businesses; divisions of corporations dedicated to working with small businesses. A key example is Verizon Ventures and their small biz services. Corporate partners can play a significant role in making an impact.

For the remainder of the conference, the workshops and networking activities proved to be fruitful in generating authentic connections and insightful conversations. Personal branding and being true to your passion and purpose was a common theme that was a continuous reminder of why we were all here. To do good.

There were moments where a break was much needed. Luckily, there was a meditation room next door that offered ample space to sprawl out and zen out.


The Heart Series Conference features facilitated discussions with thought leaders from today's most impactful companies. This is a must-attend conference if you're an entrepreneur, organization or brand leader interested in how your business can make a bigger impact.


11:11 ACC Introduces a New Gallery Space Within Toolbox LA

Toolbox LA has teamed up with our partners 11:11 ACC  to provide a local exhibition space for the 818’s creative community. EMBED GALLERY will be opening its doors to local art groups, guest curators and independent artists to exhibit, collaborate and strengthen the creative NETWORK!

Join us on Friday, May 3rd from 6:00 – 11:00 PM for the Grand Opening of the Embed Gallery with the exhibition: NETWORK, in collaboration with our monthly community event First Fridays at Toolbox LA.

Free entry with RSVP, click here to get your ticket.

NETWORK features over 50+ artists local to the San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley or Thousand Oaks in a salon style, small works display of the creative network here in the SFV. Featuring all mediums from 2d to 3d, painting, illustration, sculpture, printmaking, photography and more, all works will be 12″x12″ and priced under $500! THIS SHOW IS CASH AND CARRY! Purchase artwork on opening night and take it with you right away.

Featured Artists:
Walt Hall
Kevin Newton
Jessen
Jorge Alvarado
Lynn Coleman
George Goldberg
Chelsea Dormevil
Carlos Antonio Reyes
Miguel Pichardo
Dale Voelker
Alyssa Mees
Karina “ Ahlise Vela “ Pelayo
Angela Izzo
Marina Yermakova Timm
Ann Kalb-Kip
Aaron Hagan
Mike Boston
Adebayo Ogunmowo
Sarah Stone
Jordan Monsell
Rain Matheke
Danny Ramirez
Iris Peretz
Karina Garcia
Frankie C
Monica Maldonado
Gabriel Cárdenas
Rebecca Richards
Jennifer Sher
Saul Salazar
Katheryn Pit
Diana Simon
Rolando del Real
Ann Kalb Kip
Monica Sandoval
Erin Stone
Sam Viloria
Roan Florez
Vivian Shih
Brenda Chi
Salvage Art Sweetheart
John Park
Miles lewis
Steve Martinez
Simonett Jackson
MORE TBA!


Toolbox LA Facade Mural

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you sure can judge a building by its exterior.

Drab, dark walls devoid of color are not in the least bit inspiring, and yet, if they’re overloaded with color, you somehow feel like you are stuck in a children’s fun house. A nice balance of design and color is important in creating an inviting and stimulating environment. Here at Toolbox LA, our intention is to provide a creative and collaborative space for creators, makers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and overall do-gooders.

Through our partnership with San Fernando Valley based non-profit organization 11:11 A Creative Collective, we were able to kick off an Artist In Residency program.  11:11 ACC will bring art into our coworking space by commissioning site-specific art installations through our Artist Incubator program. The first phase will be a mural on the outside of the building that will represent the creative vibe that exists within these walls.  Phase two will require full immersion by local artists who will become members of our community and will beautify the space from within.


Starting with the vision for a mural, we worked with Addy Gonzalez and Erin Stone, the founders of 11:11, to decide on a muralist who would be best to create something for the exterior of our space. They put out a call to artists, asking for submissions. After receiving more than a couple dozen submissions from talented and dedicated artists, we narrowed it down to our top 10 favorites and asked for renders. Then we printed each render out and laid them all out on the table to decide which one we liked best. However, we also wanted the community to provide their input, so we put each render up on a whiteboard and had members vote on their top 2 by putting a sticky note on their 2 favorites.

The winning result was Andrew Severns, a talented Los Angeles based muralist who also submitted an explanation as to why he choose the specific colors and geometric shapes for his idea. 11:11 brought him in to start on the mural and after 6 weeks the end result was nothing short of glorious. Now we have a permanent facade that represents the shining, electric world that exists within these walls.

Phase two is currently in the works and more will be revealed within the coming months.

You can check out more of Andrew’s work on Instagram at @severnscanon.

 


Toolbox LA Grand Opening Recap

Today we officially opened our doors with a grand opening event featuring LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. Mayor Garcetti presented a Grand Opening certificate to us and chatted with our founder Noramay Cadena about his experience growing up in the San Fernando Valley and what he sees as key strengths about the greater Los Angeles area including freedom, innovation, and belonging.

Special guests included Senator Henry Stern and the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute.

We discussed smart manufacturing, robots, and the future of work on separate panels with the help of :

  • Sudesh Arora, CEO of NEO Tech
  • Sonja Rosula, Founder of Unique Empire
  • Bob Goldberg, Founder of Earth Island
  • Z Holly, Founder of MAKE IT IN LA
  • SK Gupta, Director of Center for Advanced Manufacturing, USC
  • Ben Dickow, Director of Columbia Memorial Space Center
  • Roberto Gutierrez, Program Manager of LA Valley College
  • Miguel Corcio, Director of Technology Program, CESMII

We gave Mayor Garcetti a personal tour of the facility to learn more what about our vibrant, dynamic community of creators are doing here. He toured our makerspace, learned about the 3D printing services company that operates here, the research going on in the biotech incubator with Lab Launch, and Make In LA’s portfolio companies.

Our friends at Downey Space Center launched some water rockets with the help of Holmes Middle School students. They were inspired by all the activity and well, who wouldn't want to blast off a rocket into the sky?

Through our partnership with Intersect LA, a new endeavor from the visual communications department at California State University, Northridge, we had quality support in making sure the logistics of the day ran smoothly. Special thanks to Dave Moon for bringing the energy, expertise, and students.

The day concluded with a delicious taco lunch and a good deal of networking.

Thank you to all who participated and attended!


Member Appreciation Night Recap

Member Appreciation Night August 2018

The hustle is hard and the struggle is real. Early mornings, late nights, weekends and holidays. Founder’s life is not easy and often your hard work is overlooked and under-appreciated. Well, here at Toolbox LA our intention is to make sure our members know how much we appreciate them working hard to make a positive impact in the world. We see you. Even if you don’t think anybody else sees you, we see you.

And the best part about being a member of our coworking space is that you don’t feel you have to “put on a work persona to fit in.” You can work a 14 hour day on Monday and then stay home with the kids on Tuesday, it’s totally up to you. Whatever your schedule is, you’re a part of the community and we appreciate all that you do.

With so much time spent at the coworking space, we figured why not venture out into the neighborhood, support a local business, and visit Hand Brewed Beer, a local brewery based here in Chatsworth.

We gathered the troops and make the 5-minute trek over to the local brewery to indulge in a beer tasting and some delicious pizza, because, as you know, pizza and beer go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. Peas and carrots. Salt and pepper. You get the drift.

The crowd favorites were both the Rocky Peak IPA (named after our local mountain range) and the Chatsworth Chai Stout. Big thanks to Brian Hand for hosting us!

It was a short hour and half of socializing amongst our shared desk folks, private office folks, makerspace folks, and biotech lab folks and before we knew it the sun was setting and it was time to get home to our families or back to our grindstone. The eclectic mix of backgrounds made for interesting conversation topics such as how one got into the startup world to how cryptocurrency might eradicate homelessness.

We are truly grateful for the wonderful people who make up this community. Studies have shown that having a community to work in helps create structures and discipline that helps motivates coworkers.

 

We are looking forward to the next outing which will definitely be at another local business.

Date, time and location TBA!

Interesting in joining the Toolbox LA community? Click here to schedule a tour to see what the magic school bus is all about.


1 of 100; How We’re Joining the Conversation on Race in LA

At the root of our why is a sense of fostering a deep sense of community, because #morekarma means increased opportunities for us all to grow and share and inspire. So when the Embrace LA team came to us asking for venue space to host a dinner, we said heck yes!

What is Embrace LA?

Unifying Angelenos and empowering communities through a citywide conversation about race and racism to challenge and change inequities.

Launched by Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, the program is an approach that focuses on building relationships and advancing public policy solutions.

This is one of the various strategies in place to initiate true partnership between government, organizations, and residents. Why not revert back to the tradition of coming together to break bread to discuss the challenges our city faces.

“We cannot heal what we will not face” was the theme of the night, as each dinner invitation displayed the truthful yet vulnerable words as reminders not to shy away from the difficult conversations waiting to be had.

Toolbox LA hosted an Embrace LA dinner that welcomed challenging conversations about race and racism with community leaders in order to grow and better understand each other. Founder of Mixed Up Clothing, Sonia Kang, lead the initiative that brought us all together for a dinner facilitated by a member of the Embrace LA team. The conversation started light with each of us giving a background on where our families are from and how we grew up, then progressed to more serious topics such as police brutality and the criminal justice system.

Some tweeted in response “did it make you feel better???  like you’re doing something?? even though nothing is being done???? “ which on the surface level might seem like there is no action, but without civil dialogue then yes, nothing will get done. It takes inspired thought to create inspired action. A civil discourse on a topic such as race is never easy and yet over 100 dinners took place throughout various neighborhoods in Los Angeles over the duration of 6 months.

Programs such as Embrace LA are just the start for how the city, state, and nation are shifting perspectives on race and racism. The anniversary of Charlottesville is a powerful reminder that we are not as evolved a nation as we’d like to think we are. Bringing together people of all walks of life to break bread is a tradition traced back to the beginning of time and will continue to serve as a symbol of the grace of humanity.

 

Dig it? Want to host a similar event? Reach out to us.


Introducing: Toolbox LA Community Director Raychel Espiritu

Creating the Toolbox LA "vibe" is the core focus of our Community Director, Raychel Espiritu. It's that palpable feeling you get when you walk through the door and get a sense of what this place is all about. Her experience in digital marketing and event production allows her to switch between the many hats this role requires. Being a native of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley also drives her passion for seeing this place grow and succeed.

Your full name

Raychel Espiritu

Growing up, what did you think you wanted to be? 

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a lawyer because I loved to ask questions and argue. I was quite precocious. 

What did you study in college?

I received a Bachelor's Degree in Theater Arts with a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University, Northridge.

What was your first job? 

Working in retail. I was a Sales Associate at Wet Seal in the Topanga Mall. That’s where I really learned the meaning of hustle.

What's been your favorite job?

Director of Global Communications at Music Group. I traveled around the world connecting musicians with pro audio gear to create content for social media. It brought me to Deadmau5’s home studio in Canada, SXSW, Coachella, Hong Kong, Alaska, and more.

Describe your ideal work environment. 

Open space, high ceiling, natural light. Team energy is focused on collaboration with plenty of brainstorm sessions. Throwing ideas on the wall and executing on them fast. An environment that allows creativity to flourish. Pretty much what Toolbox LA is in a nutshell!

What makes the fire in your belly burn / what motivates you? 

Working with people and companies with progressive values like radical transparency.

When you're not at work, how do you spend your time?

I love to dance! Dance classes, yoga, meditation and breathwork classes, sound baths. I’m into the zen vibes.

What three words would your parents use to describe you? 

Caring, intelligent, resourceful 

What's your favorite get sh*t done quote?

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” Salvador Dali


Toolbox LA Member Spotlight: Dave Prendergast

Toolbox LA Member Spotlight: Dave Prendergast

For all the startup founders, freelancers and remote workers out there who are busy hustling at coworking spaces, it can be easy to “get caught in the weeds” of your own work. Day in, day out, you grind and get sh*t done, ensure your clients and customers are delighted, your families are taken care of and more--so much so, that you often lose time for yourself. You miss out on patting yourself on the back every once in a while.

This is exactly why we want to shine the light back on you with our community member spotlight series. In each post, we highlight the individuals who help make our workspace awesome, inspiring and a home away from home.

This week’s shoutout goes out to Dave Prendergast, Co-Founder of Fulcrum Talent. Dave takes pride in stepping out of his comfort zone, constantly learning to improve himself as well as connecting with other like-minded hustlers in the LA area. He also has a tireless work ethic and a passion for companies using their platforms as a force for good in the world. At Toolbox LA, it’s members like Dave who help push others to reach their full potential.


A Little About Dave:

What's your name?

Dave Prendergast

Which is more your vibe?

Adrenaline Junkie

Growing up, what did you think you wanted to be?

I wanted to be a Veterinarian. I attached an animal medical kit to my  bike and would ride around my neighborhood looking for animals to help

What makes the fire in your belly burn / what motivates you?

I’m deeply and purposefully motivated to help people connect with career opportunities that align with their core mission and goals.

What's your favorite get sh*t done quote?

“You’ve got to fall in love with the process of busting your ass for something you believe in.” (Tom Bilyeu)

What brings you to Toolbox LA?

Growing my company.

Your company/startup/project's name?

Fulcrum Talent.

What problem are you solving?

We connect purpose-driven people with meaningful careers.

What's your website?

http://www.fulcrumtalent.co/

Community is important to me?

Yes.

What else should the Toolbox LA community know about you?

I love connecting with high achievers, I promote many entrepreneur-related events in the LA area, & I'm always the hardest worker in the room ;)

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Want to join the community? Visit us at www.toolbox.la to book a tour today, or just come stop by and say hi at our Chatsworth location.


Toolbox LA Member Spotlight: Alexa Almazan-Barajas

Toolbox LA Member Spotlight: Alexa Almazan-Barajas

Malcolm Forbes defines diversity in business as “the art of thinking independently together”. From audio engineers to computer programmers to marketers, the members who make up Toolbox LA are as diverse when it comes to their careers as they are impressive. The member we will be highlighting this week adds yet another profession to that list, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

This week’s spotlight goes out to the Director of Development and Donor Engagement at Minds Matter of Los Angeles: Alexa Almazan-Barajas, MPA, CFRE. Through her work and contributions at Minds Matter of Los Angeles, the organization has been able to help low-income students in Los Angeles and the surrounding area get accepted into a wide variety of prestigious colleges and universities around the country--Columbia University, Harvard University and Occidental College, just to name a few.

From test preparation to tutoring to building critical leadership skills, Minds Matter helps their students not only get accepted into universities but also teaches them how to expertly navigate the often-murky waters of higher education as well.

Here at Toolbox LA, we’re dedicated to empowering the people that make up the communities within the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles at large, and Alexa embodies this virtue to the nth degree. We’re happy to have her at our space.


A Little About Alexa:

What's your name?

Alexa Almazan-Barajas

Which is more your vibe?

Calm & centered

Growing up, what did you think you wanted to be?

I wanted to be a lawyer.

What makes the fire in your belly burn / what motivates you?

Being of service to others.

What's your favorite get sh*t done quote?

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” - Albert Einstein

What brings you to Toolbox LA?

Growing my company.

Your company/startup/project's name?

Minds Matter of Los Angeles

What problem are you solving?

Helping low-income high school students get to and through college.

What's your website?

http://mindsmatterla.org/

Community is important to me?

Yes.

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Want to join the community? Visit us at www.toolbox.la to book a tour today, or just come stop by and say hi at our Chatsworth location.


11:11 A Creative Collective and Toolbox LA Partnership

Introducing our new Artist In Residence program

At Toolbox LA, we believe that creativity plays an important role in developing next-generation products, platforms, and companies.

The evolution of our Artist In Residence program is reflective of the community we are building here at Toolbox LA. The art installations from previous Artist Residencies that were developed here are now cornerstones of the essence of what we are creating.

We are so excited to announce our new partnership with 11:11 A Creative Collective, whose mission is to provide a collaborative and educational multidisciplinary environment for artists and the public. The partnership will be through our Artist In Residency program until the end of the year.

11:11 ACC will bring art into our coworking space by commissioning site-specific art installations in two phases. The first phase will be a mural on the outside of the building that will represent the creative vibe that exists within these walls. The second phase will require full immersion by local artists who will become members of our community and will beautify the space from within.

Want to learn more about this program or recommend an artist? Visit their website at https://www.1111acc.org/toolboxla.

Join us Monday, October 1st, 2018 for the Grand Opening of Toolbox LA and to kick off a week-long celebration of National Manufacturing Day in Los Angeles. Click here to RSVP.

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About 11:11 ACC

Mission: To provide a collaborative and educational multidisciplinary environment for artists and the public. We support collaboration between artists and their community and facilitate the creation of art in areas where there is little to no access to the arts.

Vision: To inspire and affirm the importance of a developed, cohesive and accessible artistic community and to assure readily available and affordable resources for aspiring and emerging artists. We aim to accomplish this purpose by supporting and promoting funding for artists and art.

About Toolbox LA

Toolbox LA offers a shared, community-driven workspace for location-independent workers. We empower creators and technology-enabled startups with resources to collaborate and build their businesses. Our innovation hub includes coworking, shared desk space, dedicated desks, private offices, event space, a makerspace, hardware accelerator Make In LA, and biotech lab for startups Lab Launch.