How Entrepreneurs Are Bringing People Together During the Pandemic - Rolling Stone
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Eight Ways These Entrepreneurs Are Bringing People Together During the Pandemic

All it takes is the right idea to build positive connections.

Photos of the featured members.Photos of the featured members.

Photos courtesy of the members.

Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.

At a time when so many of us have been forced apart, industries of all sorts — from gaming to food to music as well as cannabis — have sought out ways to bring people back together and build back the connections we felt were lost.

Below, a group of Rolling Stone Culture Council members explain the ways that they and their companies have worked to bring people together during the past two years of illness, shutdowns and quarantines and how they’re continuing to focus on those relationships now.

Starting an ‘Ask an Expert’ Series

We created an “Ask an Expert” series. It was one-hour programming, “pay what you can” (zero was OK) and it was online and fun. People could join in from anywhere in the world and ask questions live. Topics were focused on our community and we had topics like Ask a Producer, Ask a Writer, Ask a Casting Director, Ask an Oscar-Nominated Actress, Ask a Non-Scripted Team, Ask a Director of Photography, etc. – Susan Johnston, New Media Film Festival®

Hosting Online Gaming Sessions

It should go without saying that we in the esports industry love video gaming, and many of us spent years playing at the competitive level. Creating teamwide servers to game together, or even to game against competitors, can help build camaraderie and even facilitates networking and collaboration between teams. Don’t overlook online gaming to bring people together. – Tyler Gallagher, Team 33

Connecting People to Plants

At Personal Plants, we work on building connections between people and plants. During the pandemic, many people discovered or re-discovered the joy of nurturing plants, and seven out of 10 millennials consider themselves “plant parents.” These connections are important as human interaction is limited, and the benefits of plants are profound. – Amanda Reiman, Personal Plants

Offering Escapism Through Stories

My company is about allowing people to immerse themselves in worlds that represent others like them through stories. Stories offer an opportunity for you to escape into a different world. It is hard to stay engaged if you cannot identify with the characters or their experiences. My company does this by helping you build connections with characters, themes and settings that you can identify with. – Reenita Malhotra Hora, Chapter by Episode Productions

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Implementing Virtual Activities with Other Organizations

Although we’re breaking into the crypto and vegan/plant-based markets, our initial niche was cannabis. Following pandemic shutdowns in 2020, we quickly pivoted to using Gatheround to bring the cannabis industry together. Over a year and half later, we’ve continued the tradition. Partnering with other organizations has helped facilitate connections that likely wouldn’t have happened in person. – Evan Nison, NisonCo

Designing the Artist Networking Symposium

My industry is music all day. During the pandemic, it was hard for artists, producers, videographers and more to connect and leverage their brands with one another. We created the Artist Networking Symposium where creators from all corners of the space could come together and build connections to further themselves and others. This brought a great sense of community to our state. – Logan Forbes, Untitledexport MGMT

Encouraging Donations

Our companies have always been community-driven and great at adapting to change. We have gathered lots of donations, from water to masks, clothing and food to donate to those who are in need. We encourage people to drop more items off as well as pick up what they need. Anything to help the community mend, we want to be on the front lines. – Chris Martin, Hempful Farms

Creating Safe Gatherings

Our business is built on the entire concept of bringing people together. We are focused on safely bringing people back together in person for special occasions or to simply celebrate life with family and friends. We create the environments in a way that our clients can feel comfortable starting to gather again. – Brooksie Hughes, BAH Productions Inc.

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