Hello and welcome to the first of many posts that will document our journey as a community and as a team. WiFi Tribe is a living, breathing ecosystem of connection. It’s been quite the adventure so far building this community of absolutely amazing individuals.
We’ve always strived to ensure that we create safe spaces for people to dream together, live together and work together. But there’s more to come. We want to be transparent and honest about who we are, what we stand for and the projects, campaigns and changes that are important to us.
The world has changed radically this past year. We’re all living through the pandemic, all living through a level of uncertainty. We’re also questioning ourselves in relation to issues like racism and prejudices of all kinds. We’re all asking ourselves, where do we stand on these matters?
For us, making our community a safe space for kindred spirits of all creeds, cultures and colours remains our priority. As a team we are passionate about this but we also want to engage our community in helping us maintain and shape the culture of WiFi Tribe. After all, this is our community – it belongs to all of us who have chosen to be a part of it. We also want to make potential new family members aware of what’s happening so there’s no surprises!
With that said, we’re working on a few things at the moment and we wanted to share our thought process with you.
The Diversity Survey
In the last month we launched an internal diversity and inclusion survey so that we could get a little insight into the demographic of the community as it stands today. We decided to do this as a way to see what we need to work on. We’re asking those tough questions like “Do we all feel safe?” It’s important that everyone feels that they are respected and able to be their authentic selves.
We’ve always asked for the nationality of our members and we currently have 62 nationalities represented. But other characteristics like ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability status we have never taken a census for.
The purpose of doing it retrospectively is to take a long hard look at things and see how far we are from where we want to be. We will be releasing some insights soon out of the data we’ve gathered so do check back to see what we’ve learned and what we’ll be working on.
A Lesson in Conscious Communication, Online and In-Person
We’ve always been champions of growth and knowledge sharing. One of the issues that we’ve recognised as a group is around communication. Now that travel is restricted and in-person contact as a result, we’ve found that our online channels have become a huge focus in how we interact with each other.
Regrettably, there have been occasions where those interactions have not been smooth, particularly when discussing topics of a sensitive nature. There were times when we didn’t step in quickly enough. Those experiences raised a few questions.
How do we tackle the very real issues that all have to face? How do we talk about our viewpoints and share our philosophies and experiences in an atmosphere of empathy?
One of our members, Sherif Fouad, CEO and Founder of Raleigh Raw, recorded an excellent podcast about this issue. He focused on how we should be aware of each other and aware of our own ignorance or insecurities when we are discussing challenging topics like cultural appropriation or racism. He’s also an advocate for us joining together to have specific conversations around these very real issues.
We’ll be aiming to facilitate more of these sessions as time goes on, giving our community a chance to share about the things that are on their minds more openly and effectively.
As a team, we were challenged personally to raise the bar around how we build inclusion and authenticity into the very fabric of the WiFi Tribe community. Ultimately we know that policy can only take you so far. What matters is having the right culture, that invites people to come around a shared set of values and be the fullest expression of themselves.
The Online Community Guidelines
We are well known for our love of travel and adventure. But our real passion is connecting people through an intentional community. We get a little giddy when we find out that outside of organised chapters people are meeting up in their hometowns or meeting together in different countries.
Following on from our last point, we’ve decided to release some guidelines to provide the community with a baseline framework for us all to communicate with one another. We’ve always had a legal framework. We’ve always built our culture based on our values. But interpretation is all. We realised that we’d never condensed our values into tangible action points, that set a clear baseline for everyone.
Having launched online chapters, we recognise that our virtual community culture is just as important as our physical community culture. Both mediums keep us connected and make it easy for us to meet in person wherever we are in the world. So we want to protect our virtual community and make those interactions just as meaningful as they would be in a physical setting.
We see the new online community guidelines as a step towards the continued empowerment of the community. Simply put, they’re a framework for empathy and understanding.
The Safe Space Initiative – A Taskforce of Willing Hands
We are currently in the process of building a volunteer group within the community, filled with people who want to help us brainstorm ideas to expand the family! They’ve offered to help us find new ways to make space for members to be their happy selves. What we love is that it was suggested by one of the members and there were a good number of people who have signed up to be a part of it.
More details will follow but we are excited to see what fresh ideas come out of this group. Senior team members will be a part of the group also so that we can start taking action. This isn’t going to be idle chat.
We’re serious about this community and the relationships we have with each other. We also think it’s important that we share our evolution openly. As we learn, we will be sure to share it so we can all grow together.
Keep an eye on this space, you’ll hear more from us soon…