Women Who Connect: Harness the Power of Community for Greater Success
What if there was a secret to success that didn't involve working harder or longer but involved something far simpler? Watch this episode of Elements of Community to learn about the power of community and how connecting with other women can help you achieve greater success in all areas of your life. Espree Devora
Have you ever heard the saying it takes a village to raise a child? The same principle can be applied to achieving success in life. This episode of Elements of Community explores how having meaningful connections with other women is essential for helping us reach our goals and dreams, no matter what they may be! Learn why creating lasting relationships within your community can be an invaluable tool for your path toward self-improvement and achievement.
Espree is a true artist who places integrity in her work when creating meaningful experiences for her community. She aims to help people build better connections and move towards becoming closer to their goals, free of fear.
Espree understands that social proof can be abused, often focusing too heavily on numbers as a success metric rather than our human relationships. As a leader, she believes that the basis of a great community relies upon fostering an environment where everyone feels included and respected throughout the process.
Pop-up communities provide us with unique opportunities to strengthen friendships, as Espree discovered through her involvement with Clubhouse–a platform dedicated to celebrating women and providing an open space for everyone’s voice to be heard. The power behind these kinds of communities lies in holding onto that sense of purpose long after it’s over.
Other subjects we covered on the show:
- Espree Devora praised a previous podcast guest of the show and spoke of her admiration for Cam Kashani, who has become a leader in the Los Angeles’s tech industry.
- Then, we discussed the difficulty of navigating career paths while maintaining fidelity to our values and beliefs.
- Espree shares her insight on the importance of following one’s intuition as their “GPS in life.”
- She also reflects on the curve ball question—when do you feel seen?
- Lastly, Espree encourages listeners to lean into their journeys and listen to their own intuition instead of relying on advice from outside sources.
AND MORE TOPICS COVERED IN THE FULL INTERVIEW!!! You can check that out and subscribe at https://pbp.li/eoc37.
If you want to know more about Espree Devora, you may reach out to her at:
[00:00:00] Espree Devora hopped on my podcast and the very first thing that she did, and you’re about to hear it, is she gave some amazing love to a different podcast that I had podcast guest that I had had on my show earlier. So I mean, definitely go back and check out that show. It was an amazing episode, but how incredible is it for somebody in the first five minutes of their conversation to be giving love to someone else.
And not even the host, although she gives some love my way as well. She focuses first on someone else. And what she has to say in our interview is so heartwarming and so opening every single minute of it and don’t miss a minute.
Right at the end in my three surprise questions, the ones that you know and love. Something big really comes out.
Espree, I am actually really excited. I [00:01:00] actually didn’t express to you how excited I was in the green room before we hit the record button, partly so that you could be surprised by this. I am really excited to have you here. You were referred to me by a previous episode, and she talked to you up so highly that this conversation’s one that I’ve been waiting for.
I mean, actually waiting for.
Stop. That’s so sweet. Who was it?
it was Cam Kashani.
Oh my gosh. She’s just the most amazing human on the planet, has overcome so much and shares everything that she’s overcome with us to empower us and specifically to make women the best leaders that we could be. She’s the most amazing human. I love Cam, how did you meet Cam? How did you come across, Cam?
You know, it’s funny, the words that you used. I ran a sort of a LinkedIn focus about a year and a half ago, maybe two years ago, [00:02:00] to reach out to basically every single solo female entrepreneur I could find, and just offer them support.
Right, I love that you did that. Yeah.
And most of them accepted my invitation to connect and then didn’t deepen that connection and,
you know, whatever it is, what it isn’t. And a few of them looked for opportunities to deepen that connection. And Cam is one of them.
Mm-hmm. Sounds like Cam. She’s so fantastic. Yeah. We’ve known each other for years. You know, she’s responsible for Los Angeles becoming one of the top tech cities in the world, in the top three. It was her work sacrificing community efforts that built up Los Angeles to what it is today, known to be a tech city.
Yeah. She doesn’t really talk about it anymore.
She does not.
But I was there for it, so I witnessed it. I saw her community work.
[00:03:00] Wow. Well, you know, I want to talk about you, but I’m okay derailing a little, and spreading some love her way first.
Yeah. I mean, I…
Tell me about that story.
Cam and I just messaged today, she’s amazing. I mean, it’s not a story she built Coloft. We met, I had my. I built the first action sports social network. So I had an office with a movie theater in Santa Monica and I used to host this event series called Entrepreneurs Anonymous. And it was a place to not name badge one another, but just be humans together.
And her and her business partner showed up, I didn’t know that.
I love that. Just together.
Right. And they were building what now we all know is co-working, but at the time, like co-working was only in San Francisco and it wasn’t this known thing. So her and her co-founder were building a co-working space a few blocks away.
And I’m like, what’s co-working? And I got to know her over the years and I’ve seen just the kind of work that she invested. I [00:04:00] remember in the initial meetings before she opened, It was me, this awesome guy, Tyler Koblasa, if I’m not butchering his last name. And her and her co-founder. And we would brainstorm like how to make Coloft just like, just spectacular.
And one of the things that she kept repeating was, you know, people over profit, like always serve community first over she, it didn’t matter. She’s a businesswoman. It was important to build a smart company, but the people were a priority, and then she just trusted the other pieces would work out as long as she built intelligently, and I always just really respected that.
And then she built a profitable company in Santa Monica. And because of Coloft investment firms and different places migrated or opened a second office in Los Angeles just because they saw it as like, an economy that they needed to be a part of. And that was all Cams, community work that made that [00:05:00] energy possible where the top venture capitalists in the world are opening an office in Los Angeles because there’s a buzz in the city like that Buzz is Cam Kashani, like that, you know?
And so yeah, she’s amazing and continues to be amazing. But now her focus isn’t on LA Tech or tech, her focus is on women empowering women to be the best that we can be, and to bring us to a really strong point of leadership, not get in our own way.
Yeah. She talked a little bit about that in her episode probably three months ago, four months ago maybe. She was just like, yeah, I’m really just focusing on this women networking thing. And I was like, this is kind of cool. And I don’t see the whole story. And Espree, you’re helping me see a lot more of the story.
Yeah. She’s amazing. And you know, she’s extremely selective with her time. She’s a single mom of twin boys. She’s just amazing. And so that she chose you to invest her [00:06:00] time into your world. It says a lot about who you are too. She does not throw her time around lightly.
Hmm. Well, thank you.
Very cool. And thank you Cam, cuz I’m sure you’ll listen to this one. Wow. Yeah, she did not, and I didn’t a apparently I didn’t effectively sing her praises, but here you are, and thank you for that.
The media called her the godmother of Silicon Beach.
Yeah. Like the biggest publications, and she earned every last syllable, you know, like, she’s amazing. I’m really grateful that she’s in my life.
Very cool. Thank you for sharing that. What an amazing story.
Are you up for sharing a little bit about yourself with the same [00:07:00] level of excitement?
Oh my gosh. Well, I’d have to must her up confidence to have the same level of excitement, but I’m happy to share about myself.
Well, may I presence it a little for you?
Sure. Sure. Thanks.
You just shared some pretty amazing things about Cam and pointed out that she does not waste her time.
And she said some pretty amazing things about you. So if I may, what would Cam say about you?
Oh fuck. She’d probably love that you asked me that. Ah, okay. Cam would say I might cry.
I’m here for it.
Cam would say I’m one of the most caring people ever that I probably love too much, that she would wish that I’d become more guarded with my time because [00:08:00] what I give to people goes over and beyond and I don’t leave enough time for myself. She would say I’m one of the most extraordinary community builders and that there’s no one that can create the kind of events and experiences the way that I do that I truly am an artist and I have a gift.
She would say that I also helped build Los Angeles into a top tech city. I think we did the work together, and she would say that anybody that would get to be friends with me is very lucky.
Hmm. Wow. Those are beautiful words. Now may I make a request?
I made up the words in my head. They’re not the words I tell myself.
Yeah. May I request that, at least for the rest of this interview, that you are exactly that woman?
Well, well, I am her just not in my head to myself, like, [00:09:00] I’m always me, but how we perceive ourselves and how other perceive us is, you know, two different narratives and storylines, but they’re all a version of the truth, you know?
I’m, you know, to add to that story a little bit, I’m being considered for a board role right now, and in order to get it, I had to ask for some letters of recommendation and one of the letters that I. Just like you, when I read through it, it actually, it teared I said, wow.
I mean, this is beautiful and this is a side of me that I don’t see.
Yeah, yeah. I appreciate that. If we could all become our own best friends, I don’t know. I think some people are their own best friends. A little bit too much . If I could become my own best friend, that would probably be a really good thing. But it’s all a journey.
It’s all a journey. We’re on it [00:10:00] together, especially right now, you and I.
I mean, you could let them know that I was a mess and a half in the green room and you thought that the interview maybe would be best for me if it didn’t happen. But I shared that I’m totally fine, and happy to show up as I am that I am just being a human and not every day is perfect.
Yeah. Neither am I, you know, being completely fair, I did not see mess in a half.
Oh, thank you.
That’s not what I saw.
I appreciate it. Thank you.
Yeah. Yeah. This might be a Cam moment for you. I saw a beautiful person showing up in their full energy, and as a human carrying some of their baggage. And that’s okay cuz trust me, I got plenty of my own, too.
I think I just usually, I [00:11:00] am open about sharing what’s going on, which is very unusual in our digital world. I’m not, I push myself to do it. I actually spent years practicing it. I don’t know how I feel about it. I don’t know whether it helps the world more or hurts me more. I’m not, I don’t know, to be determined, you know, but I do proactively like just live authentically and hope that that’s okay.
As a business person, I feel that living authentically could sometimes hurt you in business or hurt you in business, period. I’m not sure. So that’s what I’m saying to be determined. In 10 years, I’ll let you know.
Yeah, I think it won’t.
I hope so.
Think that we, I think we’ve spent a hundred years building up a facade.
But it’s just a facade. And we have this facade that [00:12:00] believes that business is done separate from human.
But again, it’s just a facade. It’s not true. And I think that everybody knows, even if they pretend otherwise, everybody knows that the person they’re doing business with, the person they’re shaking hands with, the person they’re sharing a glass of wine with, is also just a human.
when the facade slips, that’s, I think that’s actually okay.
I hope so
Maybe, it’s better.
I hope so. I don’t know if there’s brands that choose not to work with me or et cetera, et cetera, because my openness can be perceived as a you know, a flight risk or something, you know, but the reality is that we are all experiencing these things. The only difference is that I’m open about it.
And so, it’s this weird world of perfectionism.
It is a [00:13:00] weird world of perfectionism, isn’t it?
Mm-hmm. Because I get so many messages in the dms of like, I haven’t, like from people saying, I haven’t engaged and I haven’t like interacted, but I want you to know for years, your posts have really made me feel empowered. I’m like, that’s wild.
You know, like no immediate feedback for years.
And then just like, you know, a few years forward, someone’s like, your vulnerability really made a difference in my life. Like that’s a trip, you know, and you start to wonder.
Like you start to redefine success because success feels so tangible, it feels so obvious. But then when I have those moments like that, I’m like, oh, I even had a meeting earlier today with someone who was really nice and she was very [00:14:00] executive like at first, which was fine. And I was just me. And by the end of the meeting she was her.
And it was so lovely. Now, I don’t know if that brand will end up working with me or not, but I felt successful that she felt safe to be her. And I felt it was an honor to get to know who she is rather than just this executive front, you know? So it’s just this weird. It’s a weird world, but that same meeting, she could end up working with someone who speaks more her economic executive language than someone like me, because I’m more in like the heartfelt bucket.
So even though like you feel like this is right or you feel this is good or you feel like this is important, like as an executive at a brand, you can’t share feelings on a [00:15:00] report. You have to share numbers and data and actualities. So a brand may go with someone safer on the surface level, even if they don’t get the same depth of results because they were able to more easily put a report together.
Yep, I get that, I do, and I think that there are just as many other brands that are not interested in somebody who’s just numbers and they’re more interested in somebody who gets those dms that says, you inspire me.
Hmm. T B D
T D B.
TB D, TB D. But yeah, but this is how this, I just, I’m gonna continue to show up authentically and hope that the universe will provide and and see what I see. But, cause I’m definitely a capitalist, I’m just like a heart driven capitalist. I used to joke earlier in my career, what’d I say? I called myself a hippie capitalist.
That was it, [00:16:00] my term. Hippie capitalist. Cuz yeah, I’m not allergic to money. Like I would love to be like, have all the money. It’s fine. I’m all about it. I just won’t compromise my heart in order to have the money, you know, or my integrity or my morals, or I won’t take advantage of someone or lie to them, or I won’t club, or some I just want, I’ll just be kind and hope that that’s enough, you know.
I’m with you.
I’m with you. I’ll share a little secret and now it’s not a secret cuz you know, this is going live. I, me personally, I have struggled for the past probably three or four years with slowly changing my brand over from being like a hundred percent numbers business focused to, to be more heart-centered, to be more community capitalist.
[00:17:00] I’m still a capitalist. I still want all the money just like you, but how I get it matters a lot to me.
Mm-hmm, do you mind if I ask what influenced this.
I don’t mind , I’m, I was, you probably saw, and my listeners at this point have heard this plenty of times. I was on Wall Street for 17 years doing mergers and acquisitions and that is as far deep into, you know, the person who gets the money did it right.
it go. Like, that’s as deep as it goes. And I just couldn’t stomach it anymore. So eight years ago I launched my own consulting company, and I left Wall Street and started picking up clients that were less there’s no good term, like cutthroat businessmen, less like, I don’t care how I got their businessmen.
But they were still big companies.
The Pokemon company is still my client. [00:18:00] They’re a huge company and a powerful brand, and they care a little bit about community. One of the reasons why I’ve been able to stay with them for eight years, they care about putting smiles on kid’s faces and that’s amazing.
That’s so cool.
It’s so cool. And I’ve learned a lot from that relationship. And part of it is, I’m not interested in being a cutthroat executive, just not. And so it started when I left Wall Street when I just couldn’t stomach being there anymore. And it’s a continued evolution, but I struggle with it.
Just like what I hear from you is, you’re struggling a little bit with it that, you know, I feel like every single time I go a little bit further into the community world, and boy, I’m all in now I feel like I’m leaving clients behind or potential clients.
I feel like I would, I feel like what you’re doing in a way is harder, because [00:19:00] you’ve gotten to experience the glory of the other side and the rewards, and you’re like, okay, I’m going to consciously walk away from these rewards to make a different values-based decision.
Whereas I, like, I don’t know, I was gonna say, it’s not really a story of resilience, but like for me, I just have to have the courage to have faith. But like, I’m also not, I’ve had to walk a, not had to I could have stayed, but I’ve made a choice to walk away from certain deals. But I just feel like you had such kingdom of Deals.
That like, to be like, I am going to leave this magnificent kingdom because there’s just not a culture inside this kingdom. And I’m gonna go to the culture now. I don’t know if there’s a kingdom in with the culture , but I’m gonna [00:20:00] choose to leave the kingdom and see if the culture might have a kingdom too
You know? Whereas I’m like, I’m not even going over there, I’m just like off like Tom Hanks with the volleyball, like trying to stay afloat, you know? Yeah. So, I don’t know. I kind of think it’s harder. What you are doing, because it takes so much more I don’t know. Conviction, I don’t know what the right word is.
It just, it just feels harder to me.
Hmm. Thank you. I appreciate that. I’ve only ever experienced my journey, so, it’s hard for me to compare them, but,
But certainly it wasn’t easy.
No, I consider myself an artist of human connection, and I really love the word artist, even though I’m a founder and on paper, I’m an event producer and a podcaster and all these other labels, like, who [00:21:00] I am is an artist. And so the choices I make throughout the entirety of my career have all been to create my art.
So it’s just very easy for me to make choices in alignment with my art. But I use the word easy lightly, which is why I paused, because there’s a lot of suffering in being an artist. So, it’s easy to speak my truth, and also extremely difficult to experience the reality of my truth. You know, like, so like I’ll be very open…
What I’m hearing.
Oh yeah, go ahead.
I don’t know if this is accurate, but what I’m hearing is that you’re experiencing cutting off your ear for your art.
Yeah, yeah. Van? What?
You’re you’re having dolly moments.
It’s Van Gogh? What was that?
It was Dolly. Yeah, yeah. Like I have the two sides of my brain.
There’s nothing easy about that journey.
No, I have the two sides of my brain. Like, what are you doing? This doesn’t make sense. And I’m like, my intuitive side is like, shut up. Like I’m doing my art, you know, like, but like, I feel like if I was like in the kingdom, like you were, that what may be like a harder, harder thing to leave.
So yeah, so like this Sunday I’m creating this beautiful event for women in business and for years people have asked me like, why don’t you get sponsors for your events? Why don’t you this? Why don’t you do that? And because my energy is so fully like absorbed with every attendee coming and like the elements of my art, from what they smell, what they see, what they experience, what they taste like, it’s so [00:23:00] fully encompassed in all of it.
Like, I don’t have time to go and ask a bunch of people who typically have a more transactional nature and then what can I get from these people and like suck at them. I’m like, everybody, stay off my people. Like they’re not your like, things to like put your tentacles into they are human beings and stay the fuck away.
Like, I feel very like protective over them. And so, I’ve never like really leaned into sponsorship, which is really stupid economically because that’s how people, you know, may create the kingdom, you know? And so, 2023 is a year. I’ve been really quiet, I deleted social media apps a few months ago and I’ve been really, really quiet.
And 2023 is the year where I want to create and be an artist and be okay too. Like every year before now was self-sacrificing and [00:24:00] now it’s like, yes, I wanna create my art and be okay too. And so I put a call out for sponsors for this thing I have going on Sunday. And it’s been really interesting the kind of conversations I’ve been having and how I show up to the conversations because I made a choice.
If I’m going to have a sponsored relationship, I’m going to authentically be me because I don’t want any resentment in the relationship. I don’t want anyone trying to capitalize off my people all this stuff. And it may mean I get no sponsors. And so it’s just been which has been difficult because, you know, the art side of me is like, I love what you’ve put together.
And then the rational side of me is like, what the fuck are you doing with your life? You know, like, so yeah. Anyway, this event Sunday’s at capacity and I’m like really, really proud of it. But it’s been an interesting life experience economically of the choices I’ve been making and how I’ve been perceiving it and interacting, and I’m curious what kind of results will come from this [00:25:00] thing that are unknown to me.
You know, like when you go to a conference, like a lot of people will be like, oh, what am I gonna get out of that event? Or get out of that conference? But the thing that you usually get out of a conference is completely unknown. It’s absolute serendipity.
You cannot predict it. It’s not possible. Like, and so I feel like expecting that I can understand the return of this artistic thing that I intuitively feel should be done before it happens is unrealistic of me. And I need to just trust in the process that it’s all gonna make sense. You know, 10, 20, 30 years from now.
I love that. That is so cool.
And difficult. But thank you.
Yeah. Wow. What an amazing story.
Hence why brand…
story that you’re living now.
Thank you. But hence why the brand I spoke to earlier today. They started off as the executive talking to an event producer and [00:26:00] then got to see that I’m not an event producer, I’m an artist. And then they shifted and had that beautiful connective experience with me and got to see like exactly what I’m about just doesn’t necessarily equate to dollars.
Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but the way I work makes it extremely difficult for a brand to work with me, because I am not a surface level person. And to have transactional relationships it’s a requirement to have all the surface level stuff.
Because you’re Dolly.
Thank you. It’s a very big compliment.
That’s so cool.
I kept Dolly
in my house. That’s funny.
No, like a copy. Oh, I don’t know the names of it. Like, one was given as a gift and one I bought, I think when I was in Spain. But like but not like a, you know, like fandom kind of stuff.
I’m I’m, with you. I, I don’t [00:27:00] currently have any, but I used to have two of his clocks pieces.
Oh, nice. That’s cool. Where’d they go?
I Also copies, I, you know, you live in the modern world and move for your work and things don’t survive the moves, and, you know, you replace them with something else.
Yeah. I, again, another little secret that I typically don’t tell people. In the last 15 years, I’ve moved 17 times.
What? That’s more than once a year.
More than once a year.
Where are you going?
Yeah. Yeah, right. totally valid question. And what’s really crazy about that is that for four and a half years I didn’t move at all. So.
Oh, so it was multiple.
That’s 16 moves in 11 years.
Wow. Wow. Have you had a good time adventuring about?
Oh yeah. Yes. And right? Yes, [00:28:00] and welcome to the world. Yes, and I had a lot of fun. And also, not being grounded is exhausting.
Yeah. Agree. Yeah. I’m a backpacker too, so I get it. I’ve been to over a hundred countries for the Women in Tech podcast and I love it, but it’s not a vacation.
Not a vacation. That’s so cool.
Yeah. So I get it. Like I understand. It’s like magnificent and just then you’re absolutely tired and someone’s like, what do you mean you are in Malaysia?
How could you be tired? I’m like, I have no idea. like,
Yep. Yep. Speak in the same language here. Yep. Wow. Fun. This has been not what I expected and I’m loving it.
Oh, good. I’m so glad.
How would you talk about your art through the lens of community? And use my words or don’t.
Artist of human Connection.
Yeah, I mean, that’s what art is to me. So I’ll tell you what, like community isn’t, and which is what [00:29:00] I think it’s being utilized for mostly, and popularized, the word community is being utilized by brands as a marketing ploy when they don’t actually care.
And then it’s the first thing they cut because they never valued it in the first place, which is heartbreaking because you wouldn’t even have a company or profit if it wasn’t for the people. And so the thing that you care, like the thing that really drove me crazy at the beginning of the pandemic was people being like, oh my gosh, we need to start having a campaign where we care about our customers.
I’m like, what? Why don’t you care about your customers before the pandemic? What’s wrong with you? You know, like all a sudden you need to show you care. Like, that’s so weird. So for me, this sense of the word artist really resonates with me even more than the word community. And it’s just about what energy do I wanna innovate at each experience I create?
[00:30:00] What memories do I want people to have? What will my experiences, like my events in person that I create, what will those experiences help them overcome? Or how will those experiences help them become closer to their goals. How will it help them overcome their fears? How will it help them gain different, you know, networks, or metrics, milestones that they need to succeed in their companies?
All of my events that I create are for the tech industry. So I create for both women in tech and then, globally, and then just for Los Angeles Tech in LA and that’s everyone, not just women. And so with every, like, this particular gathering that I’ve created for Sunday is Women in tech.
I’ve called it the Restore Gathering. And it’s an experience for women to share our dreams and our fears and to support one another, to dream without limitations so that our dreams are [00:31:00] absolutely possible to achieve. And so I’m putting all sort of things.
It’s cool, right? I’m putting all sorts of things in place to ground our energy, foster that meaningful connection.
Everything I do is invite only because I always make sure everybody’s the right culture fit. I wanna make sure they’re not pizza eater, tire kickers. Like I’m looking for people who genuinely are showing up, not trying to eat a free slice of pizza. I usually don’t have alcohol at my stuff because I’m not looking to throw a party.
I’m looking to create and foster meaningful relationships that accelerate business. People wanna do business with people they know, like, and trust, not someone from a business card. And so, and my favorite people to serve are people who are relatively unknown, like let’s say you have no Twitter following.
Awesome. You know, because everyone like just looks for these surface level metrics to value [00:32:00] someone. But the perfect example.
And they’re wrong. They’re all wrong.
Totally wrong. Yeah, oh, go ahead.
I don’t know a single person who actually knows 10,000 people. Like, I don’t know anyone who actually knows 10,000 people.
I feel like Gary Vaynerchuk actually knows 10,000 people. He remembers everyone’s name. It’s weird.
That would be impressive. And I don’t personally know Gary V. So the statement’s still true. I’ve heard the same thing of Bill Clinton, by the way that you meet him and then like three years later you meet him again and he remembers your name and the name of your kid.
That’s so crazy. I don’t know what area in the brain. You have to have to have that be possible.
It’s pretty damn impressive. I also don’t know Bill Clinton, so I still don’t know a single person who actually knows 10,000 people. When did social proof start getting measured in tens of thousands? [00:33:00] When did that happen? Who said okay to that? Like, if I have 200 people who really love me, to me that’s like, that’s impressive.
Yeah. That is impressive. I mean, I could answer that question, but I don’t think it’s, I think that’s a podcast for another time, but yes.
Perhaps we should put it on the books.
But yeah, yesterday was at a conference and this guy that I’ve known for a while was with his girlfriend and he goes, you don’t understand. And he’s a Forbes 30 under 30 and like all these like status indicators. Really nice guy. And he goes to his girlfriend, you don’t understand, Espree, gave us our first shot.
Like, how cool is that? You know what I mean? Like, no one cared. I didn’t care about your Twitter instead, like, I just thought you were cool and now you’re this like on paper, you know, big deal as well. But I love that. I love that. [00:34:00] I love just being a part of good people’s journeys who are really doing things, not tire kickers.
Like people really like giving, you know, entrepreneurship. They’re all with the right heart and they’re not gross or scummy and they have values and they’re kind. I was telling him yesterday, I love that he and his co-founder treat their girlfriend so well. You know, like I look for values and characteristics when I’m seeing who can be a part of the community, I’m not looking for status marks.
Wow. Yeah, more of that, please, for those of you who are listening, more of that please.
It’s hard to, but it’s hard. That’s what I’m saying. That is hard to economically support from brands.
Only right now.
I don’t know, maybe, TBD.
Only right now. I think it’s changing. I think it needs to change.
T B D, we shall see. Yeah.
TBD, we’ve been talking about [00:35:00] that for a little over half an hour. I think we agree.
Yeah, I mean, I just, I’d love to, I mean, if there is a universe that exists, I’d love you know, for the universe to show me signs that like, you know, all these choices that I’ve made to prioritize integrity over the years that there is room for me to prosper. And capitalism as well, you know, so we shall see.
Yeah. Well, you know, to the gods and consumers that are listening, here’s my plea. Let’s make sure that this artist doesn’t starve until she dies.
Like, let’s buy her art while she’s alive.
Right, right. So crazy. There’s this musician I love, I know this isn’t exactly about your podcast, but.
Let’s do it.
I just being that I live such a unique life and [00:36:00] make such rare decisions that aren’t very standard in society it’s not very often.
Like, showing up and having a chat about community with some dude.
Well, I think maybe a lot of people do stuff like that, but that’s funny. But it, I don’t have a lot of examples of people making the same type of choices as me. And so there’s this musician named Ren, who my friend sent me on new Year’s Eve actually. And he’s an independent artist. He was once signed by Sony, but he got sick with Lyme disease.
And so Sony ended up dropping him et cetera, et cetera. And he’s been on this journey and he is one of the most brilliant musicians ever. I’m not even like a music fan. I feel like his music has made me a fan of music. It’s crazy. And, why? There’s so many reasons why I appreciate his existence. But one of them is, he posts about being an independent artist pretty often, and the kind of choices he makes to prioritize his [00:37:00] art over profit, to prioritize his art over to make sure his art has integrity.
Like he said this one thing in the last few weeks where a lot of his fans have said that they don’t want him to do rap because he’s this other kind of genre, I can’t think of, I don’t know that much about music, but he’s a singer genre, so they don’t want him to do rap or what, you know, and he is like, look, I’m an artist and I need to follow my creativity and I need to push myself, and I’m curious about rap.
So I’m going to do rap and you know, hopefully you’ll be along for my journey. And if you’re not, you’re not. But I need to serve myself as an artist in order to show up as authentically as I do and not do things based on what society wants, because then I wouldn’t be creating the magic that you’re experiencing.
And I’m like, amen. And so like, when I see post from him and the kind of chances he takes to give his full self to his art, in the most honest, authentic, vulnerable way [00:38:00] that creates so much human connection for his community, his fan base. It just really empowers me to just keep on keeping on. Cuz sometimes, you know, I just feel like I’m a lunatic and I wanna, I’m like, should I just stop?
What am I doing? You know? And then I see something like that and it really empowers me to be like, nah, just stay true to my art. It will make sense eventually, hopefully.
I love it. Okay, let me try something.
Pop-ups are a thing.
Most people think of community from a relatively long-term perspective, but I don’t think that that’s required.
Agree. Actually, yeah.
Yeah, I mean, it’s a thing, right? Long-term communities, they’re a thing, but I don’t think it’s required.
Your events are, as an artist, what you’re creating is a pop-up community.
And here’s how that shows up, at least through my lens, right? And I, you know, I come [00:39:00] from, I come from an engineer and physics background, and Wall Street. So, I look at the mechanics of things. Here’s how that shows up. You’re bringing these people together into a space inside which you’re creating a very specific experience. That experience is a story. It’s a shared story. And in sharing that story together live, they’re creating a unique common language. That shared experience is a project. They’re showing up and they’re doing work together.
The work is dropping their boundaries. And right now, today, in the world, that is actually work. It’s hard. Like we have to do something to drop the boundaries, to drop the facade, to be human right there, connected with that person in front of us. unfortunately, but true.
So, they come into it in seek of a purpose that you create, that you draw people in through, they experience this event.[00:40:00]
That’s work in itself. It’s work in what they have to do to be there and they share the story, that language of the event. And the essence of community shows up when you miss the people after it’s over. Like, that is the essence of community. And so on Monday morning or Tuesday morning after your event is finished and they’re calling you up, or they’re sending you dms and saying, Yeah. I wish it had lasted another day or two or five, that’s how you know that what you created was a real pop-up community and not just a conference, not just an event, not just, yeah.
That’s cool. That’s so true. That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing that.
That was fun. Thank you for, for, thank you for [00:41:00] inviting it. We share an art.
Community is when you miss the experience. Yeah, it’s really interesting. You know, I was the face of Clubhouse, which is a crazy fact about life. The app, the audio app. And so many of us miss the community that once was with Clubhouse. Like, it was like a popup community now looking back because there was a certain period of time where it was just like nothing else that we’d ever experienced.
And all of us are still friends. Like we’ve all maintained our relationships and it’s just, I particularly think that that community could have lasted, you know, it’s all about choices made. But I’m so grateful to have [00:42:00] been a part of that chapter in that community, and yeah, we all very much miss it.
Very cool. It is interesting. I’m sorry. You miss it. How will you bring that back? How will you bring that connection, that pop-up community, the meaningful deep that you had with those people?
Oh, I don’t think it’s something that you can bring back. I think some things in life are just to experience while they’re there. And if you miss it, then it’s gone forever. And I think the idea of missing, I once had to break up with a boyfriend that like really meant a lot to me because one of his like life ideals wasn’t aligned with my life ideals and I just knew it wasn’t the right match.
But like I really cared about him. He really cared about me. So it was really, really [00:43:00] hard. And when we were breaking up and I’m like crying, I was like, I’m so grateful that I’m in so much pain because it means I cared that much. He’s like, you are odd. But it’s just like, sometimes it’s that there is something to miss means that something really good existed, you know?
But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to continue.
Mm. Yeah. I love it. That’s true. Doesn’t have to continue. Yeah. Amazing.
So, where will you take community?
Yeah. I have two really big goals and they’re big.
I’m excited. I’m ready.
The first one is an over goal. The people who are using the word are using it wrong, and I want to take it back. I don’t think that they’re allowed to have it anymore.
The word [00:44:00] community.
The word community? That’s cool. I support in those efforts.
Yeah I won’t take it back. I’m sick of hearing politicians say, blah, blah, blah, the community, blah, blah, blah.
They’re not, no, they can’t have it anymore. That’s wrong. I’m sick of seeing it on large multinational corporations marketing ads like, no. Mm-hmm. You can’t have it. That’s not your word. It’s not for you.
Yeah. I agree with that? So loudly.
And in order to do that, I have to do the other thing, which is a little bit more covert, and not because I want to hide it, but because it’s just not capable of being as over. I think that the reason that people are stealing the word misusing it is cuz most people have forgotten what it means.
And we could treat community as a verb as much as a noun. I think that there are a lot of people who are not doing community cuz they’ve lost it.
Which is horrible. It’s [00:45:00] horrible. It hurts me.
Yeah, I can see that.
And in order to do that I have to tell stories cuz that’s the way people connect with a message is through stories. So I’m telling my story in community and I’m also, Espree, I’m here hosting you, and helping you tell your story, so that you get to hear it through my eyes.
But also so that the people who are my listeners can start to engage with community in a new way.
Mm-hmm. Do you think, I mean, your listeners may, because your listeners have respect for you and your ecosystem in general, let’s say a non listener who’s listening to your content, so not someone within your ecosystem, do you really think they’ll care so much because people are usually out for themselves and what betters them.
Legitimate question. I hope so. I had [00:46:00] a, it’s, I actually put it into an episode about, I don’t know, two months ago or so. I had a conversation where the result of the conversation was that in order for us to be effective as individuals, we have to have community. We have to have people that stand at our shoulders, and catch us when we fall, and you know, and hold our shield when we need to go to the bathroom, or grab a bite to eat, like.
And I’m using sort of battle language cuz that’s kind of the way we think about the world and it’s not inappropriate. We need brothers and sisters that will hold our shield and spear and that will protect us with theirs. We actually need it. But the thing that so many people are focused on is not wrong.
It’s just incomplete. The community needs me too. Right? So it’s, it is not individualist to the [00:47:00] exclusion of community. That’s wrong. That’s incomplete. It’s half, it’s also not community to the exclusion of individual. The community needs me and it’s, and I need the community.
Mm-hmm. I think one of the hardest lessons I learned about being a community organizer was that the, a community needs a leader. So many times people will propose that they’ll self-organize, but typically they don’t. And there was something really, like we are LA Tech that we was really important to me.
Cause I thought that we was like a collective altogether. And when I learned that there seems to be need to be a leader that felt very like ego energy because I’m like, why is there gotta be a person that leads, like, why can’t we just all together, [00:48:00] like collaboratively, collectively, like move forward?
And so I thought that was a really interesting learning of community is to truly foster a great community, you need to have a great leader at the helm to guide everyone where to go and what the culture is and what the core values are and what the guidelines are. And to truly and utterly, deeply wanna see people like when they walk in the door.
And whether you have a thing of like a few hundred people or 10, you are paying attention to every last one of those people to make sure no one’s in the corner feeling like, Ugh, what am I doing here? Can I leave? Like, I can’t be here right now. This is so awkward. Why’d I even leave my house? Like all those uncomfortable feelings or like, ah, did I wear the right clothes?
Oh my God, I don’t have the right car. Or, you know, oh, I’m gonna come off as a douche bag, [00:49:00] whatever. You know, like, and just a leader at the front of it being like, no, you belong here. You’re valued. You are safe to show up authentically who you are and this is a collaborative space for you to lean into, for all of us to raise one another up.
You know? It bothers me that a community needs a leader, cuz I think like the best thing would be no leader because then it’s a true collective, a true we, but I also get it. It’s like, I don’t know, like I’ve been saying this whole thing. Yeah. An artist painting a painting, you know?
May I share a metaphor that you can settle in on?
So me personally, I take things to as basic as I can to start out with a foundational understanding and then build on top of that. And the most basic approach that I can for humanity is us [00:50:00] as hunters.
And I take it as far back as I can to look at the animal, the human animal, and how did we play when we had you know, sharpened sticks, and rocks.
And we were still hunters then too. We weren’t scavengers. Perhaps we scavenged some, but we were still hunters.
And it turns out that in order for a human, we’re not very fast. We’re not very strong. In order for a human to successfully hunt down an animal, there needs to be a whole bunch of us hunting together. We need to out. Now here’s what’s gonna be fun for you, I think, I think.
At think at any given time, any one of us, but certainly not all of us, or at least most likely, not all of us, any one of us, but most likely not all of us can see the animal that we’re hunting. And the one or ones who can see that animal are suitable for [00:51:00] leadership in that moment.
In that moment. But in order for the hunting party to succeed, every single one of those people must be suitable for leadership in any moment.
So what I’m hearing from you, and this is my offering, what I’m hearing from you is, the piece of every single one of us must be suitable for leadership in any moment.
I hear that and I agree, and at any given moment, maybe only one of us can see the prey and that’s the one that needs to be the leader in that moment.
It’s interesting way to look at it. It’s an interesting perspective. You’re all full of the perspectives, that perspective, the missing perspective. It’s [00:52:00] interesting. I like your granular viewpoint of breaking down the dynamics of community.
Hmm. Thank you. It is heart’s work
It’s not just hard work, it’s heart’s work.
I’ve never heard that term. Look at you. Heart’s work. I’ve never heard that. That’s cool. Did you make that up or did you hear it somewhere?
Just in the moment.
I like it. You should use it more often. I’m doing the heart’s work.
I’m doing the heart work. I don’t know. Anyway, I like the way you said it.
Yeah. My offering is, you see the prey as the artist. The picture that you’re painting, the human connection that you’re creating through those events, you are the one that sees the prey, and at least for the moment, that means that you need to be the leader.
Mm. Can I just do a minor swap? Can we just use the word vision instead of pray? [00:53:00] Pray makes me feel like someone’s gonna, has to go down for other people to rise up. I don’t like, so it’s like the collective vision.
Hmm. Sure. Yes. I’m open to that for this conversation, keeping in mind that we are hunter animals.
Yeah. But no, I really appreciate how you’re framing it and what you said. It’s a very interesting perspective.
Fun. I love it. I love what you’re doing.
Thank you. I appreciate that.
As I’m wrapping up, I typically wrap up with three questions. The first one is the most obvious, the people who were as inspired by you as I am.
How do they find you?
Oh how do you find me? At social media, at Espree Devora on all social media, it’s E S P R E E, D E V like Victor, O R A. Email is Espree@hey.com. H e y.com. Yeah. [00:54:00] And you’re just welcome to say hello. You know what’s interesting is most people don’t take the initiative to reach out to people that they wanna talk to cuz they feel like they’re not good enough or they feel like they won’t get a response or like they reach out, then they don’t get a response.
And then they think they were rejected. My friend Jennifer wrote me a message a few weeks ago, had no idea. I was searching my inbox for something else, and then I see that she sent me this message. I’m like, get out. Like, I was like, this is just a perfect example of like, it’s not personal. Probably 99.9% of the time someone just literally didn’t even see that you messaged on any channel.
But we feel, because there’s so much passion and excitement that goes into whoever we’re reaching out to, it’s like, like this comment and we’re like, hello? And then like nothing happens and you’re like, oh. It didn’t work. I will never bother them again. You know what I mean? It’s very dramatic [00:55:00] in our emotions.
amazing. Yeah, that.
But if Jennifer wrote me weeks ago and I didn’t see it like then we’re just missing emails because I would’ve responded, Jennifer, in like five seconds. So, yeah.
Yeah. Well, yeah. So you all heard it. If you’re feeling it, reach out.
Yeah, a hundred percent. If you don’t hear back follow up, it’s all on the follow up game. Just don’t be annoying. There’s this thing that and what I mean by that, there’s this thing in tech culture where you don’t accept no for an answer. And so then you, it’s like borderline harassment and essentially don’t ignore someone’s humanness.
That’s the best guidance. It’s not to not follow up. I think following up is great, and it’s even great to sometimes not take no for an answer and just like, look for that open door to yes, sure, great. I get it. Like we have to create our reality. Just [00:56:00] remember that the person you’re writing is human.
The thing that drives me out of my mind is when someone sends me a compliment and then right in the next few sentences, like, so can I be on your show? And I’m like, so you weren’t actually sending me a compliment. You just were trying to say something nice that might even be bullshit. Just so you could have something for you and your ego.
And that’s really hurtful. Like you’re aware that I’m a human, right? Like, it’s just, just like care about people’s humanness. It’s not all about like an agenda and what you have going on. We’re all experiencing something different. Some people may not like someone, some people may like them, some people may not get the email, whatever.
But we’re all just like, just be a human being like, you know, I dunno. Anyway, and remember that your intuition is your oracle. That’s the like that your GPS in life is your [00:57:00] intuition.
That’s amazing. That’s really good advice. It took me a while to start listening to mine.
It’s tough, right? Because it doesn’t feel like any logic’s attached. Yeah.
Yeah. Why should I listen to that? I don’t see why. That’s right.
Yeah. My friend, I’m not gonna say who to respect his privacy. My friend is building this amazing company and it will probably end up being a billion dollar company. He has these outstanding partners and he makes, I think, almost all of his decisions, if not all of his decisions on intuition. So if he has a gut feeling that he just randomly has to go to New York.
Like he could just be in his living room and have some weird feeling, I don’t know. I feel like I need to be in New York. He will buy a flight to New York and just randomly go to New York to follow the intuition. It’s wild. And in knowing him for several years now, to see where he started and now [00:58:00] the kind of partnerships and the kind of business deals he has, and he’s featured in Time Magazine, like no joke kind of stuff.
Like things that are just insane. They’ve been based off of intuition. It’s so cool. It’s so inspiring.
That’s so cool.
I hope someday someone tells a story like that about me.
This weird dude that just listens to his intuition, and it’s working.
And this, and this happened. What’s the, before we, before we completely close, what’s the most recent thing that, where you followed your intuition and it worked out?
Can you of one?
I can for those of you who are listening, listen to what Espree has to say. Cuz she deleted social media. And so for what, four months or so? You and I didn’t have any communication, but I kept reaching out with [00:59:00] respect. Not every frigging day, but, you know, couple weeks, reach out again, couple weeks, reach out again.
And what was it, two and a half weeks ago you were like, hey, good job on your follow up game, let’s do it.
It’s true. I have just been all on social media. Yeah, that is true. Yeah. You weren’t weird at all. I don’t remember any, like obviously I’m here. I don’t remember any kind of weirdness, you know, like, there’s someone who followed up with me inappropriately and like that person I proactively would like to not know.
You know what I mean? Like it was like, wow, like, that was, that’s intense. Like not accepting. No, not like I’m not gonna get into it because I wanna be respectful to the privacy of the person, but like, at the end of the day, it’s like if that person [01:00:00] just was human, it would’ve been fine. But instead, they wanted something for their company from me and they didn’t wanna wait.
Super, super interesting.
- I get it.
Yeah. Well, thank you for the opportunity, Lucas. This has been really special. And again, I know you said, you didn’t think I was like too much before in the green room, but I just thank you for not holding what I perceive against me. I, you guys, I was late. I was like, I was just, it was really, it was really, really hard today to like, to move, like some days, you know, when you struggle with anxiety, it’s just, it’s hard to move.
And so I was experiencing that and I’m like, come on, come on, come on, go move. You could, you could do it. like, yeah. So thank you for being [01:01:00] so open about it.
You’re welcome. You’re welcome. Thank you for showing up. You were awesome.
Thank you. You’re so sweet. Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Yeah. Two more questions if I may.
Oh my gosh. Yes. I love it. Sorry. Yeah. I derailed us. Sorry.
No, that was awesome. Do not apologize. That was great. The second question that I close up with is, if there was any one question that you wish I had asked, what would it be?
Okay. This is what popped up for me instinctually, so, I don’t know the answer rationally, and I don’t even know what my answer would be, but the question would be, when do you feel seen?
Oh wow. Yeah. [01:02:00] Damn. That’s a great question.
It would need some, it would need some massaging, but I could see somebody building an entire podcast around just that.
Oh, I love that. That’s fantastic. Well.
Yeah. Use it if like.
Yeah. Thenumber three question is, is that question Espree, when do you feel seen?
Oh, shit. I was, I was hoping I would skate by it. I wouldn’t be asked. I was like, yes, I’m making it through. I could share the question, but I don’t have to answer it. Oh man.
Okay. So I’m gonna give you the kind of like the backstory of like, where this question kind of came from. It was my 10 year anniversary for my company in August. And I…
Thank you so much. And I had an [01:03:00] event. That I didn’t, I wasn’t gonna celebrate. And then within five days I was like, I just followed my intuition.
I just, I don’t know, you know, I created this amazing event. I did not remember the event. Like it was amazing for everyone except for me. But I would do it all over again in that way, because the purpose of my organization is to serve. Anyway, I had this one guy there who’s amazing, and he he’s in tech.
And years ago he led a meditation at my app launch. And so I asked him, I ran into him at a tech event. I was like, oh my gosh, would you lead a short meditation at my tenure? That would be so full circle. So he did that and he, everyone saw that I was very stressed. It was a extremely hard day for me production.
It was just a lot for one person to take on. And he asked me, what is it that you need out of this? And I just remember responding. I just [01:04:00] wanna feel seen. And then I went into really reflecting on that kind of answer and I really appreciated that he asked me. And then in his meditation he’s like, so everyone, I don’t even remember exactly what he said, but it was like, everyone, I want you to take a moment to like see, or something.
It was something about, it was really sweet of him. But as I reflected on that question and on my life, I feel like I’ve always struggled to feel seen. And I think it’s why I’m the artist that I am, because I experienced so much pain around feeling like that I’m not seen that I so desperately want everyone else to be seen.
And so all of my art is so each individual person can feel seen, because I have so much pain around never feeling seen myself. So I don’t really know the answer of like, what would it [01:05:00] take for me to be seen? I think like, kind of like a vague answer is like, I would like to not be perceived as broken. Like I would like to not be perceived as like, I need to be fixed. I think whenever someone’s having like a bad day or like maybe whatever, like a company’s not going, whatever is the thing happening.
We’re all so quick to try to fix someone else. But like, what if we could just like be loving, like, you know what if nothing’s actually wrong, we’re just all experiencing the life journey, you know? And so I feel. And I don’t know if it’s, you know, just how I perceive myself or if it’s indeed how others perceive me, but I perceive that others sometimes feel this need to like fix me if something’s wrong.
And I’m like, I don’t really wanna be fixed. And then the ability for me to have such inspiring speeches on stage and interview people around the [01:06:00] world and all of that stuff, that passionate, fierce love is this same thing in my personal life when I fiercely love my friends. Like last night I like went out and I like.
This is probably like a soft flex or something. But it’s not intended that way. I’m just sharing a story. But went out and I bought my, one of my friends who is another friend, a single mom of twins, all these moms of twins that I have as friends. I went out and went grocery shopping for her.
She didn’t know. I just wanted to surprise her. It’s like raining in Los Angeles who needs two kids, young kids. You’re doing it all yourself to go out tromping in the rain. Like, I’m, I just want, you know, so I went grocery shopping and I brought her groceries and she’s like, oh my gosh, you didn’t have to do that.
And I just like, I like, that’s my level of love. Like, you know, like, so I [01:07:00] just, I just. That level of passion to be okay rather than me be kind of weird. Now I know she appreciated in that situation, it seems more societally acceptable. But there’s other situations that maybe aren’t as accepted by, in, at least in my perception of society that would maybe cause words of like, oh, she’s too much, or intense or passionate, or whatever these words are.
But it’s like those exact same words are why, like, you love me as well. So it’s like, you know, and I love that about myself. I love that. You know, in the summer I produced 23 experiences in five weeks because that’s what the art I wanted to create. But that same intensity like is how I’m gonna like, love my friends.
And you know, like and I think that’s wonderful, but I also, I perceive that society thinks that makes me weird and I don’t wanna be weird. I just wanna [01:08:00] be. And so I think I would feel seen if I believed and perceived, and it was a fact that I am just accepted the way I am and loved unconditionally and appreciated just as I am.
And I didn’t have to be something or like to serve you in order to be loved. Like, my girlfriend didn’t need me to bring groceries to her house in order to, she just like loves me, which made me like, wanna do that, you know? I really appreciate her love for me. She’s so kind and so, yeah. Anyway, that’s a very emo loaded answer, but, there you go. You had to go off and ask, so I answered.
That’s that’s what I get. Right.
Yeah. [01:09:00] Hope I didn’t bore you with a long woundedness.
Not at all. That was amazing. I was in Raptured.
Aw, that’s very sweet. Thank you.
Yeah. Hmm. Amazing. Well those are the three closing questions. Espree, do you have any closing words that you’d like to share?
No. Like I said earlier, just remember your intuition is your oracle. It’s so important. Everybody’s gonna give us their advice and their opinions of the best way to live and what to do with our lives. And there’s zillions of people out there. We all have a different opinion of what is the best way, and we’re all just basing it off of our past experiences of like love and heartbreak and prosperity and loss.
And so no one fucking knows. Like you could ask Richard Branson what is the best way? And he’s gonna give you the thing that worked for him, but it’s a different time. And you have your own special, unique journey just for you. And so lean into your own journey, your own intuition to create your [01:10:00] own life and your own path.
Don’t try to like, thank you, have to be on someone else’s in order to win
Yep, that’s it.
That’s all she said, folks.
That. Yeah, that, yeah. Mm-hmm. I feel like if we add anything more that it takes away from the power of that. So with that, thank you for coming.
Thank you for having me.
Thanks for joining us this week on Elements of Community.
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Lucas is the host of Elements of Community. He is a community growth strategist and works with mega companies like The Pokemon Company to help build and foster community. This podcast is Lucas' way of giving back what he has learned about the magic of building and growing community.
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Like what you hear on the podcast? We have more secret recordings from every guest. We keep the microphone rolling after the podcast is done and get our guest to spill the beans on the best tactics for growing their communities profitably. You don't wanna miss this.