Welcome to the sixth episode of the Coworking Values Visionaries Podcast! Hosted by the one and only Bernie J. Mitchel, this is the place where we connect with remarkable individuals who are shaping the coworking landscape.
In this exciting episode, we are privileged to introduce you to Alycia Levels-Moore, a true advocate for innovation and empowerment. Alycia is a problem solver extraordinaire, deeply committed to helping people succeed on their journeys.
As the co-founder of POLARIS, a community-centered coworking space nestled in Birmingham, AL, Alycia has crafted a vibrant haven where dreamers, creators, and entrepreneurs come together. POLARIS isn't just a space; it manifests Alycia's passion to provide a platform for ideas to flourish.
But that's not all—Alycia is also a gifted musician and operates ASL Music Group. Through this platform, she has released several projects, including "More Fight," a musical endeavor in partnership with the AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention). This project aims to break mental health and wellness stigma, showcasing Alycia's dedication to creating positive change through music and advocacy.
Beyond her role at POLARIS and ASL Music Group, Alycia wears many hats – a physician, a consultant for micro-small businesses, a mother of three, and even a podcast host. Her show, "How Do I Do This?", delves into the questions that matter most to her consulting practice and coworking community.
Join us in this episode as Alycia Levels-Moore shares her Epic Real Life insights on nurturing a coworking space that thrives on community. From her consultancy work to her commitment to equity in entrepreneurship, you're in for a wealth of wisdom and inspiration.
I'm all about cracking open potential, a catalyst for transformation. Known for igniting the fire within, I propel folks forward, guiding them to their next level.
My knack for empowering talk is like a pocketful of courage. I'm all about instilling bravery and nudging leaps toward dreams.
As for what I aspire to be known for, I'm already living it. My true joy is seeing others rise, and conquer dreams. I'm about propelling anyone I meet into their next chapter, fueling determination.
To sum up, I'm a dream champion in the business of transformation. Proudly living what I love, lifting each other for the collective ascent.
This knack of mine has been like an old friend, always around.
Friends and family used to turn to me for advice like I was supposed to be Oprah, solving everyone's problems.
At first, I didn't understand why they sought me out. Then, it hit me – my feedback was valuable, like a gourmet meal of insights. I started paying attention to recurring conversations, and it made sense. Growing up in faith, I realized it was a gift, not just a childhood phase.
In my early 20s, post-college, it clicked. My gift found its place, a puzzle piece in my journey. Music was a big part, too, about empowerment and hope, not just entertainment.
I studied political science in college out of curiosity, but life had different plans after college. I went on tour, veering from my initial path of becoming an entertainment attorney.
Speaking of inspiration, Quincy Jones' journey resonates deeply with me. His Netflix documentary is a must-see.
So, there you have it – my journey, moments connecting, and how my advice-giving role turned into a gift of empowerment. Life's full of surprises.
I grew up in church, my mom being the choir director. The singing started at six, and it flowed from there.
Later, I headed to Tuskegee University, known for the Tuskegee Airmen. Despite no formal music program, I joined the college choir – the Tuskegee University Golden Voices Concert Choir.
Music's been a steady rhythm in my life from church to school.
Amid music and business, I've always been business-minded. As an independent artist, I handled everything from distribution to marketing, embracing my inner entrepreneur.
Now, the magic? My gift for encouragement and unlocking potential isn't confined to one field. It's versatile, spanning music and business. In coworking, I propel growth by connecting people, mirroring what I did in music.
I moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and delved into economic and community development. Guiding entrepreneurs and fostering growth it's about sparking businesses at the grassroots. Birmingham's rising, with tech scenes, cool developments, and a globally recognized mayor.
My journey shifted, but music and business blended—driven by empowerment. Building something meaningful in Birmingham is the adventure I'm on!
The significance of Birmingham in the social justice movement is impossible to overlook. "No Place Like Home" by Gary Young delves into this pivotal role, spotlighting Birmingham's part in the freedom rights movement.
Did this influence my scaling decision? Undoubtedly. Birmingham's troubled and triumphant history reflects the broader struggle for civil rights and equity. It mirrors our nation's journey, from letters in a Birmingham Jail to the stories of resilience like Dr. Ag Gaston's.
This connection runs deep for me, woven into culture and emotion. Ancestors' sacrifices fuel my inspiration, driving me to push for progress despite the ongoing journey toward equity. Considering all this, scaling ventures here isn't just appealing – it's a commitment, a duty to honor the past and shape our future. It's weaving history into tomorrow's fabric.
The name, a nod to the North Star, holds cultural significance. Just as it guided African Americans to freedom, it symbolizes our journey toward creativity and business ventures.
Why Woodlawn in Birmingham? It's where community growth thrives. Coworking and economic development unite in my vision. Coworking is economic development. It's not just a workspace; it's nurturing businesses woven into the community fabric.
Coworking and economic development are partners in progress. POLARIS, our coworking space, embodies this synergy. It's a movement powering growth, connecting communities, and lighting the path for a brighter future. It's the harmony between local development and the members who call it home.
It's the pandemic era, just watching YouTube videos with my husband. He comes up with "POLARIS," and after watching those videos about various concepts, the idea clicks—why not start a coworking space? October 2020, the journey begins.
Fast forward, I meet an LA coworking guy at a conference. He spills insights and sparks ideas. Crunching numbers, my couch idea gains traction.
But numbers hit hard. Not a casual endeavor. After feasibility, marketing analyses, and pandemic hurdles, I launched POLARIS in 2022. Why coworking? I'm already in the business of business, helping entrepreneurs. A physical space to foster dreams and growth just made sense.
The funny thing is that the "at home" feeling emerges often in conversations. It's a refuge, safe for vulnerability and daring. Entrepreneurship's not all glam; there's a mental health aspect too.
Our branding reflects this—home and family, words from member feedback.
Yellow chairs and vibrant paint uplift the tough moments. It's about more than paint; it's a community of great ideas and accountability. We're here to make the tough journey smoother, reminding you to persist.
So, coworking wasn't stumbled upon. It was a spark turned blazing fire—a haven for dreamers seeking solace, inspiration, and that push to keep going.
It's about that push in the right direction. Starting the podcast isn't casual; it's a rekindling of motivation. When our team discusses it, accountability steps in. Our in-house engineer guides the process in our podcast studio. We have a structured template for action – "Remember that podcast idea? Chat with Gary, our podcast studio expert. Let's see that first season in a few months."
A decade ago, a member's casual kitchen chats sparked my productivity in my coworking space. It was informal, like a friendly chat. The magic lies in informal nudges. Not everyone's ready for formal accountability, but a gentle push can work wonders. Sometimes, a nudge is all it takes to open the next chapter and see where it leads – a step toward your goals.
Remember that we're all creators at heart when we talk about the connection between creativity, music, and self-discovery. Creativity is about creation, and it's universal. We often limit ourselves, thinking our creativity is tied to one realm. But it's flexible. My musical background isn't confined to music; it extends to different areas.
Take POLARIS, my coworking space. Creativity played a massive role—vibrant colors, energetic atmosphere—it's my creative essence in action. Creativity is about birthing the new. Be it music or a workspace, it's all an expression of that same creative essence.
What's truly captivating is how creativity transcends language. Music speaks universally, much like a coworking space evokes feelings and inspires action. Both tap into the unifying power of creativity.
In the end, let your creativity roam freely. Break predefined roles; you're a creator in any field. Express yourself, and bring ideas to life. That's what it's about—leaving a mark, making an impact, and contributing something new to the world.
Thank you for joining us on this remarkable journey as we've explored the vibrant intersection of creativity, business, and community through the lens of coworking and entrepreneurship. Our conversation with Alycia Levels-Moore, the visionary force behind POLARIS, has illuminated the profound influence that coworking spaces can exert on local economies and personal growth, igniting the flames of innovation and genuine connections within communities.
But this exploration is far from over.
Our upcoming episodes will transport you to new horizons, including a rendezvous with Creative States, a Ukrainian network of premium, flexible workspaces that fosters a unique community and offers a full range of operational services. Brace yourself for more captivating discussions and diverse perspectives from coworking pioneers worldwide.
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Thank you for embarking on this enlightening journey with us. We eagerly anticipate your return as we venture onward to new frontiers.