Catalyst Interview Series: Ben Graybar
Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI): How did you get involved with KCCI?
Ben Graybar (BG): I applied to become a Community Catalyst in 2009 because I wanted to make a difference. I knew that working with KCCI would allow me to work alongside others to create sustainable change here in Tallahassee.
KCCI: How did your work with KCCI influence your professional life?
BG: My team’s project, Tallahassee Business Resources, continues to influence my professional life even seven years since we began. I continue to load content on our website and I’m currently working on a business mentor matching component to the site. Working with KCCI also taught me a lot about teamwork, which is something that I’ve been able to carry over into other aspects of my life.
KCCI: Tell me a little more about Tallahassee Business Resources.
BG: Our team wanted to create a free, community resource in the form of a website for business owners in Tallahassee. The website is designed to help those who are looking to start their own business, or grow their existing business, by connecting them to the right resources that will allow them to succeed. These resources include financial assistance, business consulting and other educational materials. There is also a business mentor matching program that I am currently working on, which encourages established business owners in the area to advise new business owners. It was our hope that this project would encourage and foster entrepreneurship in the Tallahassee area.
KCCI: What did you learn from this project?
BG: I learned that the path to creating change in a community is not a straight one; a team effort often requires zigzagging to reach the desired goal. A second lesson is that many hands make for light work, unless they are pulling in different directions. But oftentimes those who are resisting and pulling in opposite directions get worn out after a while.
KCCI: How can small and startup businesses benefit from Tallahassee Business Resources?
BG: We link business owners to privately owned resources in the area and cross-refer with BigBendBiz.com, which references public resources. Between the two, business owners are able to find everything they need to aid their success in one location. Our goals are to make starting and growing a business in Tallahassee a little easier by compiling business resources and making them easier to find.
KCCI: What are some of your favorite spots in the city?
BG: My couch, Gold’s Gym, the F3 field, my desk, Doak Campbell Stadium, and the tee box.
KCCI: Who should consider becoming a KCCI Community Catalyst?
BG: Anyone who has a desire to make a positive impact on the community should consider this opportunity.