Ryan Wilson is co-founder of The Gathering Spot, a private membership club focused on entrepreneurship. Here Wilson talks about how they expanded despite social distancing amid the pandemic.
by BYRON E. SMALL
We’ve gotten larger this year.
Membership has grown by 400 since March and now stands at 3,000.
We have new spaces under construction in Washington D.C and Los Angeles.
The pandemic hasn’t stopped us from bringing people together. We’re still The Gathering Spot, right?
We have a program called “Circles,” which are small groups that discuss certain topics, anything from wine to entrepreneurship. We’ve been able to connect people digitally across cities in different circles. We’ll continue to do that even when the world opens back up.
We’re optimistic the therapeutics and vaccines will get us back to gathering in person because in the community business folks want to see one another.
You learn what type of leader you’re during a crisis. In a genuine way, I always believed that we would figure out a way to move forward and be resilient. We pivoted digitally when everything shut down and never stopped building community. I feel good about the “We All We Got” relief fund that provided over $30,000 in grants for small businesses. We accomplished a lot for social justice and voter engagement by launching campaigns like ‘We Will Be Heard’, which is centered around fighting voting suppression.
When the next set of challenges comes our way, we will be able to face them. You need moments like this to show exactly what you are made of.
— As told to Eric Jackson
March: The Gathering Spot closed its networking space on March 16 amid Covid-19 concerns. The full shutdown came just two days after it was scheduled to host its 4th anniversary party. Over a thousand people were set to come to that party, with Lucky Daye performing live, but it was canceled. It was that weekend where everything started to hit the fan.
October: The Gathering Spot launches ‘We Will Be Heard’ on October 1. The campaign focused on fighting voting suppression and addressing issues that impact Atlanta residents. The Gathering Spot encouraged voter participation and led the push from a grassroots level to flip Georgia while hosting dignities like Vice President Elect Kamala Harris.
May: The Gathering Spot reopened its doors on May 28 with modifications and social distancing guidelines. The Gathering Spot has reconfigured all spaces to accommodate 6 feet between all tables and seats. The club continues to maintain reduced capacity and adhere to protocols while keeping focused on digital side of business.