Tag: hilary hodge

SARTA, the Sacramento Regional Technological Alliance, along with Nevada County’s Business Ignitor, Sierra Commons, hosted a Clean Technology Mixer at the Nevada City Winery on Friday, March 20th, 2015.  The event brought people from all over Northern California, including experts from the Silicon Valley and the Bay Area.  The event speakers included Brandon Davis of local solar electric company, California Solar Electric; Michael Carroll, the CEO of HeliosAtlas, a regional authority on Hydropower Technology; and Dr. Richard Philpott, CEO of Burst Laboratories, a local visionary who is on the cutting edge of chemical-free water and waste treatment.  The event focused on green technologies that solve local and global environmental problems and energy problems.

 

Pictured from left to right:  Hilary Hodge (Sierra Commons), Brandon Davis (CA Solar),  Michael Carroll (HeliosAtlas), Amber Harris (SARTA) and Dr. Richard Philpott (Burst Laboratories).

Pictured from left to right: Hilary Hodge (Sierra Commons), Brandon Davis (CA Solar), Michael Carroll (HeliosAtlas), Amber Harris (SARTA) and Dr. Richard Philpott (Burst Laboratories).

“It was exciting to see so many tech companies at the event, many of whom expressed how grateful they were to connect with other companies and resources,” said Amber Harris, CleanStart Program Director for SARTA.  “SARTA is pleased to support economic growth in the Sierra Foothills region through hosting events such as this Clean Tech Mixer.”

The event combined major players from the Clean Tech industry with local experts in the field and was open to the public.  SARTA teamed up with local organization Sierra Commons in order to reach a broader audience and to get folks from other regions of California up to Nevada County to see what is happening in the foothills.

“I think this event really showed people that you don’t have to be in the Bay Area or Sacramento in order to have a successful, thriving business in the Clean Tech Industry,” said Brandon Davis of California Solar Electric.  “It was great to see people from other areas at the event.  It was good to make connections with others that are in Clean Tech.  Those connections will help us move the industry forward.”

SARTA and Sierra Commons plan to maintain their partnership and hopes to bring more events to our local region throughout the year.  For more information about Sierra Commons and/or upcoming events call Sierra Commons at 530-265-8443 or email info@sierracommons.org.

For more information about SARTA visit www.sarta.org.

Sierra Commons is excited to announce that we have named Nevada County resident, Hilary Hodge, as their Executive Director. Hilary Hodge is the first Executive Director for Sierra Commons since founder anddirector Robert Trent resigned last year. Hodge has been volunteering with Sierra Commons for the past two years and joined the Board of Directors in March of 2014. Before moving to Nevada County four years ago, Hodge had lived in Sacramento and had sat on the Board of Directors for Sacramento Pride and the California National Organization for Women. Hilary Hodge has nearly 20 years’ experience working for and running non-profit organizations.

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“Hilary Hodge has shown her commitment to the Sierra Commons’ mission and to bringing together a diverse population so that each can learn from one another,” says Board President Samantha Hinrichs. “Along with Hilary Hodge, the Sierra Commons staff, faculty, and volunteers will continue to be able to assist the continued growth of our small business community in Nevada County.”

“Hilary Hodge has been a pleasure to work with and a real driver behind the continued success of Sierra Commons”, reveals Coryon Redd, Sierra Commons Board Member. “Her attention to detail and leadership have been a real asset.”

Sierra Commons continues to offer business mentoring, classes, a work-share community and the “Ignitor” course, their signature business incubator and class series. They have a coworking facility where freelancers, contractors and remote workers can rent desk space daily and monthly. Their vibrant coworking campus fosters collaboration, peer-to-peer mentoring, support and camaraderie in a professional environment. Sierra Commons also offers conference room rentals as well as day use services.

“Sierra Commons offers an infrastructure and community that no other facility or work environment in Nevada County can offer,” says Hilary Hodge. “We are a vibrant and fun place to work where the work gets done. I’m looking forward to serving Sierra Commons in a leadership role. As a volunteer and as a board member, I have had the privilege to see Sierra Commons thrive and grow in the past two years. Our coworking facility and our classes offer an incredible resource to our community.” Hilary Hodge adds, “I’m excited to take Sierra Commons to the next level.”

In the next year, the Nevada County public, creative class and business community can look to Sierra Commons for single subject classes, the “Ignitor” course, social events and ongoing support of Nevada County’s small business community.

This is a time of year when it can be particularly difficult to work from home, or in restaurants and cafes. The holidays can be really stressful and, if not, busy and distracting.

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The Sierra Commons Campus

At a time when people are running around and constantly planning and cooking and traveling and visiting, I find that I am incredibly thankful that I work at Sierra Commons , that I have an office to go to with interesting and thoughtful people to hang out with.

Even though I had a particularly nice Thanksgiving yesterday, I still looked forward to being able to go into an office and work away from home this morning. As my family ran around, getting ready to go shopping or catch trains, I packed a piece of left over pumpkin pie and headed to Sierra Commons to quietly get a few things done before I join up with my loved ones at Cornish Christmas in Grass Valley this evening.

There are no good jobs in Nevada County!” How often have you heard this?

At Sierra Commons, we hear this comment a lot. Members of the skilled and/or educated work force in Nevada County have found that it is easy to become frustrated with the lack of employment opportunities in our community. Many of the locally available jobs are in the service or tourist industry and don’t use trade skills, advanced skills and/or a college education. Some folks have started to diversify their scope of work to make extra money. Some people have taken on two or three jobs just to make ends meet. Frustrated by unfulfilling jobs, many people are turning to freelancing and contract work, as well as entrepreneurship and starting their own businesses. For many people frustrated with the local economy, Sierra Commons is a beacon of hope. Sierra Commons creates good jobs in Nevada County and we keep good employees local.

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Sierra Commons is probably best known for its “coworking facility,” an office space where people come together to work, exchange ideas and share in a regular professional social environment. Wikipedia offers a great definition of coworking: “It is style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is also the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with like-minded talented people in the same space.” Sierra Commons’ office space and education center is located at 792 A Searls Ave in Nevada City. We offer desk rental and day use, which includes high-speed internet and utilities. We have 20-30 regular members throughout the year and have regular visitors who drop in on a daily basis to our facility to take advantage of our office setting in order to work on a project or meet a looming deadline. We love the energy that both our members and visitors bring to our coworking facility.

In addition to offering a professional work environment for members and visitors, we are also a 501(c)(3) non-profit education center and business incubator. We offer continuing education to the public and to business professionals through classes and workshops. We offer confidential mentoring for sole-proprietors, managers, owners, employees and entrepreneurs who may be struggling with taking their skills or business to the next level, or who simply may need some guidance about a frustrating situation at work or a brush-up on business basics. Our goal is to ensure the local economic health of our community by offering education and support.

Our signature course is our Business Ignitor, a set of business incubator classes that takes entrepreneurs through the steps of creating and sustaining a healthy business, while helping established business owners to take an active role in their business’ stability and momentum. We help people get their businesses out of their garages and on to Main Street. We help people turn the hobbies that they love in to the careers they enjoy. We help people to stay in the careers they want to have and help entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level.

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Sierra Commons was founded in Nevada County five years ago, during the heart of an economic recession. What emerged was a community icon for a thoughtful and strong local economy. We want to emphasize that Sierra Commons creates good jobs. We create jobs in Nevada County that people want to have, jobs that people are passionate about. It is one thing for someone to do a mechanical job with no real connection to their employment. It is far better to have an employment opportunity where the people involved in a business feel a passion for what they are doing. As Charles Eisenstein writes in his book, Sacred Economics, “Once work has become mechanical, it is in a sense too late — inhuman work might as well be done by machines.” It is not enough to simply create jobs. We must create good jobs that people want to do. Sierra Commons knows how to create good jobs.

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By providing a campus where people can come together, share ideas and get involved in a professional environment, with mentoring and professional services, ongoing education, and incubator classes, Sierra Commons is a pinnacle of economic development in Nevada County. We provide a space for employees who want to live in Nevada County but who work remotely. We provide a professional setting for freelancers, contractors and professionals who need a place to work. Sierra Commons helps start-ups and individual business people to have a space where the utilities and overhead costs are a part of a package deal, cutting down on initial cost of starting a business and allowing for businesses to be more successful in the introduction phases of doing business. Sierra Commons provides the tools for people hoping to start their own successful business. We provide an education center for all levels of business in Nevada County. Sierra Commons is not a typical entrepreneurial resource; we are a collaborative, community-focused economic program and we have a passionate commitment to see Nevada County thrive.

At Sierra Commons, our members often impress us beyond their usual work ethic, innovation and ideas. This past weekend was one of those times. Sierra Commons members Abe Miessler and Hilary Hodge were one of 670 people who participated locally in the 17th Annual Yuba River Cleanup.

Abe Miessler helping to remove blackberries along Wolf Creek

Abe Miessler helping to remove blackberries along Wolf Creek

The Yuba River Cleanup is an annual volunteer event organized by the South Yuba River citizens League, or SYRCL. The event is in conjunction with the Great Sierra River Cleanup sponsored by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the annual Coastal Cleanup Day, a state-wide event in California. The collaboration makes the day the largest single-day volunteer event in California. More than 4,000 people volunteered their time to help clean streams, creeks, rivers, meadows and large portions of the California Coastline.

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy announced in a press release that their efforts removed 55 tons of trash along Sierra Nevada rivers and watersheds. Our more locally-concentrated efforts were highlighted by SYRCL. SYRCL announced that “volunteers cheerfully removed over 15,946 pounds of trash and 2,000 pounds recyclables from 81 miles of river, creek and lake shoreline at 33 sites within the Yuba River and Bear River watersheds.”

Goldenrod, a native flowering plant threatened by invasive species.

Goldenrod, a native flowering plant threatened by invasive species.

The event focuses on trash removal but it is also an opportunity for conservation and restoration. Our Sierra Commons members, Abe and Hilary, signed up to remove—not trash—but blackberry bushes from a meadow along Wolf Creek. The meadow is an important part of the watershed ecosystem, allowing for safe overflow and absorption during the rainy season. The blackberry bushes inhibit the distribution of water along the meadow and may possibly create water diversions that could damage or destroy sensitive environments. By clearing the blackberries, a non-native invasive species, volunteers made way for the natural flow of water into the meadow.

The group of volunteers.

The group of volunteers.

Way to go Abe Miessler and Hilary Hodge!

I recently showed a potential new member around the Sierra Commons office. She liked our facility and enjoyed the people. She was excited to have some free conference room time each month, a benefit to all of our members. But, like with many people who aren’t familiar with Sierra Commons or co-working, she wondered, “Why don’t all these people just work from home?”
Lower floor at Sierra Commons

Lower floor at Sierra Commons

It’s an interesting question but it is easily answered. A co-working space is more than just a desk or an office space in a building somewhere. When you are part of a co-working facility, you are a part of a community. For many entrepreneurs and independent contractors, having co-workers improves productivity and helps the bottom line. Additionally, having a group of people to turn to and bounce ideas off of can be a priceless tool when working as an independent contractor, a freelancer or as someone who works for a company remotely.
Working alone can be hard for a lot of people. For one thing, it can be very expensive to try to work from home. There are a lot of start up costs involved and utilities can become more than a person bargained for. It is also difficult to remain focused when working on one’s own, especially when working at one’s home. Work and ideas can stagnate, causing a person to work below their potential. It is easy to blur the lines between work and home activities and many people find themselves taking care of home chores during the day and then working late into the evening on work activities, making it harder to maintain a work-life balance.
Collaboration at Sierra Commons

Collaboration at Sierra Commons

Working alone can be very lonely. It’s nice to be a part of office potlucks and water cooler chitchat. Having co-workers helps to break up the day into a sensible workflow. Having a place to work helps to free up your free time. With co-working, you can work independently but you don’t have to work alone.