Interview with Marieke Pluk

Ambition! Growth! Including and appreciating differences! Marieke Pluk doesn’t know where to start when people ask about the international Hub Association gathering in San Francisco with a simple: “How was it?”

60 people representing 25 Hubs and 18 start-up Hubs from over 20 countries in the world gathered in the San Francisco former Chronicle newspaper building on 28 March-1 April 2012. A historic building on Mission Street, with a raw, industrial interior, where two floors are home to Hub San Francisco; definitely a category bigger than Hub Amsterdam. Marieke was amazed:  “The Americans think big, their ambition really gave me the energy to think and dream bigger for Hub Amsterdam. And with bigger I do not only mean quantity but also quality. Let’s up our ambitions for our own Hub and rekindle ambition in our members!”

Together with Tatiana Glad, Marieke represented Hub Amsterdam. It was an opportunity to exchange what works in their Hub and to explore possibilities to apply these projects and products in other Hubs. “We spoke for example about the Hub Fellowship, developed by Hub Zürich in collaboration with WWF and Ashoka to give new sustainable ventures the opportunity to start their business with one year support. So we’re now looking if we can share this partnership in other Hubs too.”

But the meeting was also a moment to look ahead.

Marieke shares, “There are so many similar initiatives these days and words like ‘community’ and ‘co-working’ are widely used. The Hub was one of the first to launch in this field, so we’ve harvested our learning of the last 5 years and asked ourselves: What makes us different? Where do we want to go to? And also, what is the Hub business? This is not something that is just delegated from some headquarter; we develop this together with all the Hubs.”

Thomas Vaassen also came back energised and inspired. He was in San Francisco as one of three directors for the past year of the global Hub Association Board and chaired the six-hour General Assembly where Hub representatives collectively decided on strategy, governance, new Hub initiatives, and the appointment of the global management team for their next term.

Thomas shares, “We have spent the last two years designing and building global structures and agreements to come to this point. Now, we are ready to dramatically upgrade our member experience and expand the network with 20+ Hubs and 2000+ members in the coming year. Every Hub is innovating in its own way and an annual Strategy Gathering is the place where we see these developments coming together. To really be part of a global movement like this is a very rich experience. And we’re just getting started!”

Evidence of this is HUBnet, the new online collaboration platform that connects member to members all over the world. Curious to see how you can connect with a world wide network of changemakers just from behind your laptop screen in Amsterdam? Come to the special Pub@TheHUB on Friday 4 May @ 17h and get yourself an account.