On October 26th, over 40 Circular Philadelphia members met at Our House Cultural Center in Mt. Airy for the fall members meeting to reflect on the past six months and chart the course for what the organization wants to accomplish through the end of this year and into 2024.
Circular Philadelphia members meetings create an effective and exciting cycle that helps us propel the organization by taking a moment to convene the membership and do this reflection. But they’re also meant to be a fun way for members to get together in person, share some good drinks and delicious food and do activities that they normally don’t do. And this meeting did not disappoint.
When the evening first started, a new member came a little after 6 p.m. and was worried she had missed some of the meeting. She was pleased to learn that the first hour of the meeting was dedicated to eating, drinking and connecting with fellow members. Thanks to our sponsor Vicinity Energy, we were able to enjoy a fully stocked bar of local beers and wine as well as trays of dangerously delicious samosas and biryani from our member organization Tiffin Indian Cuisine that felt like they were never ending in the best way possible (we’re still eating leftovers). We’re also excited to report that the event was a NO waste event thanks to Nic’s and Sam’s zero waste party kits and lids from Circular Philadelphia member Dyvert that made it easy to put the right material in the right bin.
The business portion of the evening began with one of the most important parts–welcoming Circular Philadelphia’s newest addition to the team, Ash Tryba, who is working as our Communications and Outreach Coordinator. Since communications and outreach were such a major request at the spring members meeting, Ash was enthusiastically received by the Circular Philadelphia membership.
Other highlights that Nic and Sam touched on in the presentation were:
- The two major grants Circular Philadelphia received this summer
- Increasing our business membership by 50% and having a 94% retention rate for business members
- Lessons learned from our Circular Cities Road Trip to Pittsburgh and Cleveland
- Finishing two more policy papers with another on the way
- A whole season worth of events aimed to inspire and educate
As always, the lively and interactive presentation gave way to our members taking the floor in our open forum to voice what they want to see more of over the next six months. The first was even though we pack our schedule with educational events and exclusive opportunities to tour member organization facilities and explore different aspects of circularity, our members expressed a strong desire for additional opportunities to gather in a relaxed setting. We all agreed that getting together in a laid-back environment with no set agenda can often lead to the next great idea or project. As a result, Nic and Sam took this feedback seriously and, in just a few days after the meeting, already planned a members-only Thanksgiving Pregame Party and tour of Rabbit Recycling (please sign up to be a member if you want to go).
We also heard from members that they want ways to connect with each other through our communication platforms. This is great timing because Circular Philadelphia is rolling out Basecamp to all the members for the very purpose of easing communications and collaboration among members. We also heard that members want more access to resources to help them with their circularity journey, which again is a function of Basecamp and the work Ash will be doing.
And finally, one major project that Ash has been working on since they started a few months ago is streamlining our ability to collect members’ feedback so we can ensure that members are getting the most out of Circular Philadelphia. We’re super excited to get that feedback and continue to serve our members in the best way possible.
As Circular Philadelphia has done for the past five members meetings (wow, we can’t believe we’ve done that many!), our members ask and we come through. We’re really excited about the next six months of work, especially with Ash on the team. And we look forward to being back in the spring to report on more ways we are transforming Philadelphia’s economy into a circular one.
We were really excited to finally host a meeting in the Northwest where a decent chunk of our members live. However, we were even more excited to work with Courtney and her team at Our House Cultural Center. They were incredibly responsive, communicative and all in all just amazing hosts and so easy to work with. The space is also beautiful and is in a great location. We can’t recommend them enough as an event space and hope to return someday soon. But as we like to rotate to different neighborhoods, please send us feedback as to where in Philadelphia you want us to host the spring members’ meeting.