I.D.E.A – First steps are Sometimes the Biggest Steps

February 23, 2023

Tara Everett is a Two-Spirit First Nation woman who uses ancestral experience, effective communication, and cutting-edge technology to create healthy, vibrant, equitable, and inclusive communities. Tara Everett is the founder of Canoe Coworking in Manitoba and is known for bringing a diverse and inclusive lens to not only coworking but also entrepreneurship and business on a national and international scale.

She has previously discussed Change, Cultural Appropriation, and Indigenising Coworking in a Coworking Values Podcast episode, where she delves into issues other than the Pandemic. Tara discussed change, cultural appropriation, inclusion, indigenous culture, and how coworking fits into that puzzle.

Working with the I.D.E.A Handbook with the European Coworking Assembly

Tara has been involved with the Handbook and the work of Tash Koster-Thomas and the European Coworking Assembly as a diversity specialist specialising in indigenous work,  as she is indigenous herself. 

Tara thinks of the IDEA work that we’re doing in our spaces, it really comes down to tangible outcomes versus community expectations. As a result, she prefers to concentrate on bringing the two together. 

So, with inclusion and diversity, how are we changing people’s mindsets and how they go about their daily lives, thinking of others who may not be in the same life or space that they are?

Tara wants to focus on changing people’s mindsets and how they perceive others, and then translate that into policies, and practical things like handouts, resources, and activities. 

They also emphasise equity and accessibility, which includes not only access to communities or services, but also the ability to feel safe and relevant in the spaces in which they act.

Building relationships and overcoming barriers

Tara emphasises how critical it is that the work being done is in line with what people needs are at the time. This can be as simple as reaching out and sharing resources or as complex as strategic planning, policies, and work methods. It can be as simple as a touch point or as complex as something more community-oriented and impactful.

She had hoped to open a physical workspace, but due to the pandemic, she was unable to do so. Since then, there has been a push for people to work together in ways that are more in line with their own work style, vision, and goals.

According to Tara, following the pandemic, people are taking more responsibility for the work that needs to be done and are reaching out and asking for help from the appropriate people. 

There are a few coworking spaces in the area, and there is a lot of interest in indigenous-specific coworking spaces across Canada. This is a positive step because it indicates that people are becoming more comfortable asking questions and expressing their intentions in a meaningful way.

Taking the biggest steps

Tara states that individuals are at different stages of their journeys and that it is essential to be gentle and kind to oneself. It is also critical to consider the space itself and make it usable by people with disabilities. Finally, the organisational aspect of the work should concentrate on making the intangible tangible so that people can reach out to their community. The most and difficult step is having the desire, willingness, and strength to take that first step.

Tara believes that the experiences of people from all over the world and across the pond who came to the coworking space five years ago, looking for a community that felt safe and was willing to listen and do the work, have influenced her. These people have become family, and some have become friends, and being in this space for as long as they have has provided them with the opportunities and blessings of seeing that people are still willing to do the work and learn more about others. Even though she doesn’t have her own physical space, the coworking space industry is a fantastic place to be a part of and collaborate with.

Lastly, Tara says Coworking is defined by the energy that the community provides in bringing people together and growing in the right way. She is eager to see the finished handbook, as well as the finished work that Tash and everyone else have been doing. 

Tara is looking forward to seeing what the next five years bring, as coworking is taking the lead in IDEA work and making spaces accessible and applicable to everyone. And they are bringing focus on indigenous people and people with various socioeconomic barriers to entry, and everyone should feel as if they can be present in their work in the way that they want to be present. And being inspired by the people in the coworking space and are eager to learn what the next steps are and how to stay on track.