Our Path to Community
We started Chord because of the pivotal role that Black community groups have played in our lives throughout our college years and careers at large companies like GE & SAP. As Black people navigating these White-dominated spaces- communities of like minded people who shared our cultural heritage have been crucial to our success and sense of belonging.
But as we participated in these groups we saw the same set of recurring problems. While in-person interactions were oftentimes transformative, each group seemed to fall a little bit short when it came to staying connected and organized in an online context.
From the high of going to a conference and meeting all of the incredible people in your larger community across different locales and chapters- to the lull in organizational activity & value that would seem to inevitably come during the in between months. Many of the leaders within these communities would prod us to join their LinkedIn Groups (or worse their Facebook Groups) to keep in the loop while we weren't all in the same place. In other organizations, members would self-organize sprawling chats and subgroups based on location or interest, often turning to chat-first platforms like GroupMe or Slack.. And honestly, for a while this seemed to work fine- people could check in with each other, exchange notes, provide support, give tips on navigating process X or interview Y. The turning point came when we began to realize two things:
- an astounding number of these exchanges were happening again and again from month to month as new people joined the communities
- often times members within the communities with a particular expertise or set of skills didn't realize when someone they could help or mentor was looking for someone with their exact set of experiences
Understanding that many of these communities had had dozens of cohorts or classes come through their ranks and thus had an army of alumni/senior members ready and able to provide mentorship, support, and assistance to newer members made us realize that this was a solvable problem that our personal experiences gave us unique insight into.
As a big fan of self reliance & mutual aid for communities (online and otherwise) we think that having the tools to understand who is available to help and support members and building up an organization's long-term memory and resources over time are foundational to any healthy community.
We have been building Chord with these communities & principles in mind. Our goal is that Chord becomes the solution that enables these communities to be incredible vehicles of change whether they are able to congregate in person or operate 100% virtually.