A few weeks ago, a few of us from Santa Barbara were able to travel to Mexico to attend Opportunity Collaboration, a convening of non-profit executives, social entrepreneurs, grant-makers, impact investors, corporations, media advocates and academics all devoted to building sustainable solutions to poverty and injustice.
Despite the relaxed beachside environment (panelists showed up to their sessions in water-logged bathing suits, and no one blinked an eye!), conversations centered around serious topics such as corrupt governments, unjust laws, educational shortcomings, and power dynamics.
There were multiple sessions to choose from. We could attend workshops on how to participate in the “funders dance” or how to tell if a deal is a good one. We could attend a conscious entrepreneur affinity group and build a support network that spans the globe. We could attend a capacity building clinic on media literacy or the elements of an effective digital strategy.
On one night, there is a marketplace where entrepreneurs can show off and sell the works of their artisans. The next evening, there is an Open Mic Night where talented delegates can tell stories, dance and sing… one person performed a song from her “raptivism” work (rap activism). You might be getting a picture of how varied this un-conference conference is!
With 450 delegates from all over the world who are involved in many different areas, Opportunity Collaboration rightly prides itself on the serendipitous connections that occur every day there. Perhaps more so than the scheduled sessions, this is the true value of OC. Delegates report that they have gained capital relationships, strategic advisors, mergers, suppliers and operating partners from their attendance at Opportunity Collaboration.
It’s hard to describe the amazing atmosphere at OC. The week is designed to build deep and lasting relationships. You laugh, you cry, you get excited about the future. Impact Hub team member Michaela Deegan says it best:
Being at Opportunity Collaboration was an overwhelmingly inspiring experience. There is such a strong sense of community, being surrounded by individuals who have devoted their lives to exploring solutions to social issues and fighting for the marginalized. We cannot all be passionate about everything, but there is so much hope in knowing that while you are devoted to one issue, someone is handling another.