From Corporate to Community
Payal Khurana is the co-founder of Starter Space, a creative startup incubator/co-working space in downtown Gainesville. She’s passionate about giving back and mindful living. She believes everyone deserves an opportunity to build his or her dream.
Dear Starter Space,
When I was a part of the corporate world I used to glaze over the annual letters the CEO would send out. I never really understood them and really that was because I didn’t feel them. It all just seemed like a game, a game to just accumulate more money.
I think by now most of you know my story, but my main reason for leaving corporate life behind was because there wasn’t any heart behind it. As Starter Space grows, I’m determined for it to be different. Not different just for the sake of being different, but different because for us it’s not about individual success. It’s about collective success. The collective consciousness that we see this thing through together.
It’s actually pretty easy to get rich and watch the numbers grow in your bank account. Just take your skills you’ve learned, sign a contract and give your time up to punching the clock. I promise, you will get rich.
But what about truly building something together? What if 10, 20 years from now we can all look back and see that day in and day out we were in this as a whole. What if we could stand together in community and share with others how we do things differently?
Last night I sat in bed and I let tears roll down my face because I was scared. I was scared mostly of failing. Not only failing myself, but failing all of you. I wondered, “Will we even make it to the end of 2014?” It’s a constant game of uncertainty and the friends I grew up with who sit in their cushy cubicles living from vacation to vacation just don’t get it.
Then it hit me.
I have lots of people around me who understand…Christine, Ryan, Emma, TJ…all of YOU.
You all must get it, right? One thing we haven’t done in awhile is share. Share our fears, our failures, our struggles. So I’m here to be the first to share ours.
My biggest fear is for us to succeed but succeed ALONE.
I don’t want to win alone. I want us all to win together.
We might all be rich and famous one day, but the days I believe we will cherish the most are the building days.
The days we sat on lawn chairs.
The days when the conference room looked like an interrogation room.
The days we walked into the office completely defeated but someone like Opeola Bukola walks by your desk and says something to put a smile on your face so you can keep pushing forward.
None of this is possible without each other and I honestly don’t want to do it alone.
Here’s to year 2 with more open hearts and more ways to share the struggles and the wins.
Thank you Ryan Tropf for sharing your mutual hope to see everyone in SS succeed.
Thank you Lindsey Tropf for always being responsible.
Thank you Sam Sewall for always having an engaging conversation when we talk.
Thank you Aaron Grossman for your infamous one liners.
Thank you Jonathan Cooper and Benjamin Falk for joining our crew.
Thank you Emma Sullivan and Molly Delattre for reminding me that life is not just about the matrix and I’m younger than my age!
Thank you Holly Marie Gibbs for helping us make the walls prettier.
Thank you Ale Ruperti for your fresh perspective and drive.
Thank you Danny Alvarado for letting us whine to you about the internets.
Thank you Leila Dylla and Jackie Reynolds for bringing yoga alive here.
Thank you Vera Toncheva, Nathan Diner and Sara Lichtenstein for your hustle.
Thank you Gilbert Mudenda and Derar Ayoush for your genuine “how are YOU’s”.
Thank you Gerard Bencen for taking a chance with us.
Thank you Tracy D. Shank and Jim Deviine for loving us through and through.
Thank you Christine Stella Urban for being our biggest cheerleader.
Thank you Toree Malasanos for your trust in us.
Thank you Michelle Lawson for jumping on board.
Thank you Austin Allbritton for looking out for us.
Thank you Collin Austin for being gracious with your time.
Thank you Jasmine Tran for showing up even when you’ve worked 80 hrs at your job.
Thank you Karthik Shanadi for anchoring the GatorLab team.
Thank you Eric L. Pheterson and Rodrigo Fernández for your positive energies.
Thank you Duncan Kabinu for continuing to represent and share Starter Space with the Gainesville Network.
Thank you Rob Castellucci for being one of the first.
Thank you Tj Villamil and Levi Leigh for your heart and belief.
Thank you Nicole Sands, Anna Prizzia, and Lauren Day for your constant encouragement.
It would have been easy to send those thank yous out individually but I want you all to know how much this community we’ve all built together is more beautiful than we think. We sometimes just get lost in the weeds. I invite you all to share your own thank yous to the people that have made your day a little better that we might not have seen.
“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.”
Year two, we’re ready for you.