WHAT IS A Community animator?
Our Community Animators (CA) used to be known as DECAs (Desk Exchange Community Animator), but we thought that this was a more accurate name to reflect our secret sauce!
CAs welcome people as they arrive and are the first faces people see when they arrive at a CSI location. They foster a welcoming culture and they set the tone for the rest of their experience. They work with our members to help build and create connection and collaboration.
You exchange your time as a CA for unlimited access to CSI’s coworking locations and full access to membership resources – a $500+ value! You are a connector of ideas and people, helping to build and foster an incredible community – you are the heart of the CSI community.
The commitment: Exchange 7 hours on a dedicated day, once per week, for a 6 and a half month term.
The benefit: Free CSI membership, including unlimited hot desking and 10 meeting room hours, and inclusion to a vibrant, innovative community. You’ll also have access to training, development, networking and events.
CAs have the opportunity to develop and experience community engagement efforts, develop and contribute skills, and deepen their connections with their cohort and the CSI community, all while learning the behind-the-scenes magic of almost two decades of social innovation and the art of animation.
WHY BECOME A Community Animator?
No pressure, but CAs are the glue that keeps the CSI community together and the glitter that makes it sparkle. This program is perfect for anyone wanting to learn about social innovation by immersing themselves in it. CSI is a network of networks with over 2,500 members. On any given day, you could meet someone who will change your life. Some CAs have gone on to start their own companies. Others have joined organizations working out of CSI. Some have found their next big opportunity and create their own network. A handful have even become full-time CSI staff. CAs have used their experience as Animators to support their goals. Where will your CAP experience lead you?
WHO BECOMES A Community Animator?
CAs are diverse in every way. They have varied backgrounds including race, ethnicity, gender and gender identity, age, socio-economic status, national origin, sexual orientation, ability, and religion. But they all have excellent customer service, radical hospitality, organization, communications, and problem solving skills. And perhaps most importantly, a commitment to approaching tasks and projects with sincerity, care, fun, and goodwill.
The short answer:
Provide exceptional customer service while efficiently and gracefully handling whatever comes their way. Community Animators keep the space flowing and welcoming, engaging with our members and building community.
The long answer:
The Welcome Desk & Common Spaces– Welcome every visitor to CSI with enthusiasm and energy, and help them navigate the CSI Ecosystem. Handle phone and in person inquiries. Manage and support meeting room bookings. Key member services include stocking & maintaining kitchens and printers with inventory supplies, supporting meeting room bookers, and processing mail!
Be a Host – Be CSI’s number one fan. As CSI’s ambassadors, you’ll also help members and visitors navigate the spaces and take visitors on mini-tours of the space while getting to know our incredible community. Prepare meeting rooms and ensure the space is flowing for our Members. Organize, build, and participate in community events and community animation with your fellow CAP team. Ensure all our services are offered in an appropriate and culturally competent manner to a socioeconomically diverse range of communities.
Be a Part of Animating the Community – Working with team members and staff to find opportunities to foster connection and engagement with our incredible members and animators changing the world.
Clean and Tidy – What more is there to say? Everyone chips in to clean up after themselves, but it’s our CAs who maintain a spotless space. At CSI we have a culture of care and this is a core operational duty that ensures everyone’s experience at CSI is awesome and the community is able to flow and continue to make change. That means getting your hands dirty and ready for anything!
Increase Efficiency of Operations and Systems – Suggest new work practices and processes to improve CSI’s flow and facilitate our daily mission. It’s not always about what we do, but how we do it! Join in on projects in the space to make CSI an even better home for our members.
Offer IT Support – Support members using our photocopiers, printers, audio visual equipment, phones, and teleconferencing equipment.
Other duties as suggested – We always want to hear what ideas CAs have about how to support our incredible community, operations, member services, and dynamic spaces.
Community Animators support CSI Members by working with staff teams at one of two locations.
CSI Annex (720 Bathurst Street) and CSI Spadina (192 Spadina Avenue) are coworking spaces for the innovators, social entrepreneurs, changemakers who are co-creating the Next Economy.
CSI Annex has a fully accessible ground floor.
CSI Spadina is built to accessibility standards, except that the elevator is limited by 30-inch doors.
“It’s actually difficult to articulate the full extent of what I got out of finding CSI through the DECA program, but in the 10 years I’ve lived in Toronto, being in the DECA program was the first time I felt connected to a community. I made connections with people who were up to great things that I ordinarily wouldn’t have the opportunity to connect with, I made amazing friends that I still see regularly, and being part of the co-working space gave me a sense of grounding and belonging during a tough transition phase in my career. I can honestly say that being part of CSI changed the trajectory of my life and made me a much happier and more fulfilled human.” – Kale Ridsdale
“MY DECA time at CSI has done a lot for my network, my business and my wallet! I’ve made some pretty awesome connections, hired people, and have been hired as well! I’ve met people who are experts in their industry and were able to help me grow my biz. For example: another DECA named Anabelle sat me down and interviewed me about Embodying the Sexual Being Within. This mini series film did wonders for the marketing in my biz! Gillian — a member in the community and the CEO of Birthmark — offered my partner and I the honour of joining their Board of Directors. It’s a new field for us, and we are super excited to explore this part of our business skill sets. What ever you take in life, you must give back, this is the flow of nature. My DECA role is where I live that out. Making people smile with silly, and effective, antics. You may not understand this part unless you’ve seen it! They don’t call me Queen Animator for nothing!” – Maria Espinosa
“I become a DECA in 2017. It was the best decision I made. Being a DECA means you are fully immersed in the community, I was committed to spending more time in the space. This led me to co-founding the Changemakers Mastermind group with fellow CSI members. Our mighty group has been meeting twice a month for nearly two years in a CSI meeting room. We have the opportunity to discuss challenges and successes we have had in our business. It has been instrumental in helping us all to move our businesses forward.” – Charmaine Bryan
“I’d been struggling to find some traction and build momentum for a while, alone at my dining room table. I knew what I was lacking was the inspiration, possibility and opportunity that can come from being part of a working community. Joining the DECA program at CSI has been one of the best personal and professional decisions I’ve made. I enjoy coming in for my DECA shifts each Monday, and am grateful for the opportunity to help this space and community flow. Inspiration, focus and opportunities are best found when working in a community of good people. I’m now starting to find traction and build momentum toward a new life. It’s a valuable, innovative resource to say the least.” – Thom Finlayson
“I moved to Toronto the night before I started the DECA program, and I owe so much to that experience. It allowed me to connect to an incredibly supportive and inspiring community in the city. As a naturally introverted person, it was the gentle push I needed to quickly and easily meet a wide array of CSI members who would recognize me due to my role in the space. Beyond personal gain, CSI helped me achieve my professional goals. Everyone who participated in the first season of my Connexion project — cast and crew — I met through the community. It was a moving experience to screen the first season six months later at CSI Spadina to an audience of CSI members and friends. It is an ongoing pleasure to be a part of this community.” – Anabelle Budd
“Becoming a DECA was the best way to integrate into the amazing CSI community and get to know so many people here. As a DECA I made many friendships and got connections in the community that helped me to move forwards with my business. I highly recommend this opportunity to make friendships, long-lasting connections, and as an entrance to such a great collaborative community working to make a difference in this world” – Katt Grant