the pursuit of something MORE.
For the last couple of years, we have been looking for ways to use our skills to do more. At the beginning of the year, we picked one problem and one organization to partner with to help solve that particular challenge. Then, we created a product that would bring about positive change in the community.
This activity – finding a problem and fixing it – is Kayson's way of giving back and supporting the people and businesses that keep this world moving. It's an initiative we call MORE, and 2016 is our first year.
The quest for the first MORE project began two years ago. At that time, we knew we wanted to do something, and we knew we wanted that "something" to be important and to have a substantial impact, but we weren't exactly sure what it would be. The only rules were that it had to include people, support families, help small businesses, and build communities.
We started with a discovery session, where we held a series of interviews and informal meetings, attended social events, performed market research, and created a list of potential challenges we could tackle. From there, we found a variety of issues that fit into three major categories:
- Work-related issues: Managing a career or building or launching a business.
- Life-related issues: Finding balance within oneself, personal growth, etc.
- Family-related issues: Raising children, taking care of elderly parents, etc.
From there, we started evaluating the various services that were in place to support people through these particular issues. The services were offered through non-profits, city programs, colleges, incubators, accelerators, chambers, co-working spaces, and religious institutions.
programs built around processes, not people
What we found was that although there were a lot of services out there, they were all being run very independently and generally designed around a category (like business) — not around the people who needed them.
For example, the business groups were working diligently to help working professionals, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and business owners launch, scale and resolve business related issues. The life-focused groups were supporting personal development and growth by offering individuals the tools they needed to enrich their lives and address personal challenges. The family-focused organizations were all about bringing together the family and giving individuals the skills they needed to be better mothers, fathers, and caregivers.
Every group was pushing as hard as they could to support their cause. However, what we noticed was that very few were offering services that supported people's needs holistically and, as a result, were causing challenges or at times completely leaving out people whose needs crossed over multiple areas. For example, the "work"-focused groups were hell-bent on helping people be better at work by hosting events like startup week and weekends, conferences, networking events, and fun challenges, but in doing so, they failed to realize that the events they were hosting, as amazing as they were, were excluding certain groups of people, such as women and parents.
Meanwhile, the life- and family-related groups, as wonderful as they are, were not meeting the needs of working individuals who needed support in balancing life while also trying to keep up with the high demands of running a business and or maintaining a career. This is especially true for those that were supporting working mothers who now find themselves as the sole or primary source of income for their families (approximately 40% of all working women).
As a result, individuals who needed support in multiple areas were falling between the cracks. And that is where we found our opportunity to make an impact. By taking the data, we found we were able to identify a major gap in the work + life challenges debate that could be resolved easily with more people-centric programming.
People's lives are intertwined
their support channels should be too
We identified the individuals who needed support the most and found that they were working women, parents, and caretakers. Then we pulled in our friends and community gurus at CO+HOOTS — central Phoenix's first and largest co-working community and entrepreneurial collaboration hub — to help us design a set of services, programs, and events to bridge the gap. And now, we're launching it!
working families need MORE
integrated services, programs and events
The kick off event
MORE: the retreat
A Business + Family retreat, July 22nd - 24th, 2016
To kick things off, MORE is hosting its very first integrated business conference this summer. The first of its kind, the business retreat will bring together 25 working professionals, freelancers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and their families for three days and two nights.
There will also be
- childcare services onsite
- kid activities
- photo sessions
- a date night
Attendees will be able to
- participate in business workshops
- meet with industry experts
- participate in personal and family development sessions and
- learn about new business trends — all alongside their family.
... everything that a working parent would need to be able to do MORE.
After the retreat, we'll be launching a set of family-friendly networking events and educational programs this summer out of CO+HOOTS' new midtown Phoenix location.
Registration for MORE: The Retreat is now open, but space is limited. You can find out more information, and buy tickets, at www.moreretreat.com.