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Quorum Memories from the Community

A few weeks ago we celebrated the 10th Anniversary of Quorum with a Thank You to you, our community, for all the support over the years and for helping to shape it into the resource it is today. In this post we’ll hear from several folks in the community who have intersected with Quorum over the last decade. Take a stroll down memory lane and read their memories and perspectives on Quorum’s evolution.

Liz Brown headshot

Liz Brown, CEO & Co-Founder, Fawns Leap

"Some of my first experiences with Quorum included Meetups and conferences. It has been really neat to see the space evolve into what it is today. Prior to the pandemic, working from Quorum had become an integral part of my day because it's such a flexible environment. For anyone who hasn't experienced this space, it's truly one of the best places to network, focus, and learn about what's happening in the rest of Philly's innovation ecosystem."

Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Campbell, Founder & President, Brandyn Campbell Communications

"Lunchtime Lessons provided a welcoming space to provide a bite-sized lesson on antiracism and how it relates to all businesses. The community was open and attentive. I look forward to more opportunities to connect with this innovative, forward-looking space and audience."

Eamon Gallagher

Eamon Gallagher, Director, Strategic Innovation and Startup Acceleration, University City Science Center

"After a first career, I went back to law school at Drexel with the idea that I would work with entrepreneurs and growing companies. It did not take long for me to realize that most of the activity that I wanted to participate in was just up the street at Quorum -- whether it was Philly Tech Meetup, Coffee & Capital, Lunch for Hungry Minds, or some additional caffeine and non-law school faces, Quorum was the place to be. It helped foster and fed many early relationships with startup entrepreneurs, investors, and gave me a safe space to ask questions. Those relationships grew so that, when friends and I were starting Philly New Tech Meetup in 2013, there was only one logical place to host it -- Quorum. And those relationships led, years later, to my current job where I'm still benefiting each day from Quorum's community, even if it has (temporarily) moved to Zoom."

Jabari Jones

Jabari Jones, President, West Philadelphia Corridor Collaborative

“I applauded the Science Center for their partnership with the Black and Brown Founders Project. The conference was refreshing; to see the space being used to tackle problems in diversity, equity and inclusion in the startup space.”

Kirwe Lo

Kirwei Lo, Principal, K L Consulting

"As someone who primarily worked for home, it was nice having a free space that I felt welcome to use as a professional meeting spot for meetings with potential clients, focus group interviews, etc. Using the drop-in lounge was a nice change of scenery from working from home (which I never realized how important it was until last year). Even within the lounge, rotating from the tables to the couch to a chair also kept things different and interesting. I also liked the ways the team tried to engage the people in the space so we'd interact. Specifically, I remember the mini pumpkin decorating for Halloween. Thursdays at Quorum became a routine - grab a sandwich from Schmear and a coffee from Elixr, work for the day, and then attend Venture Cafe. From a programming perspective, I've attended some of the virtual events in the last year, and it never felt like I was missing out not being in person. I had people connect (on LinkedIn) with me after the presentation, so I didn't miss out on the networking portion. And also, the content itself has been great; for instance, I attended the program about Saxby's B-Corp certification."

Satya Shahade

Shahade, Founder & CEO of Hootboard

"Back in 2013, Ryan Draving and I planned to meet to exchange notes on how we were doing. Ryan said, let's meet at Quorum. Alright, I said. I looked up Quorum and went in. It was an amazing quiet office-like space with garages on the 8th floor of a building. Ryan and I had a great meeting. We drew our ideas on the large whiteboard, gave each other advice, and before you know it, we were an hour and a half in. Time to leave. I started saying my goodbyes and then I remembered. One last thing, I said. How much do you pay for this space? It seems cool. And Ryan looked at me like I was crazy. It's free for entrepreneurs, he said! What do you mean it's free? Nothing is free; I retorted. No really. You just come in, you signup & start working. From that point forward, Hootboard became a regular at Quorum."

Travis Sheridan

Travis Sheridan, Chief Community Officer,
Wexford Science + Technology

"Forgive the obvious science pun, but the DNA of Quorum is embedded with bringing people together to learn and connect. When that is part of a space’s DNA, it means the connections are often authentic. That is what I appreciate most about Quorum; the authenticity. It was at an event in the “old” Quorum that I was first introduced to the Science Center, and it was at an event in the “new” Quorum that I concluded my tenure as president of the Venture Café Global Institute. I can’t think of a better way to bookend my role at Venture Café than by connecting with other innovators within Quorum. Interestingly, my current role as Chief Community Officer at Wexford Science + Technology affords me the opportunity to reimagine spaces in other markets, and Quorum always comes to mind as best-in-class. Not only is Quorum a positive influence in the Philadelphia market, but it is a model for similar spaces all over the US."

Ellen Weber

Ellen Weber, Executive Director, Robin Hood Ventures

"I came to the Science Center in 2010 after moving into the city. I needed a place to work outside my house, and I wanted to be around the energy and vitality of entrepreneurs. I began working in what was called the Global Soft Landing space, and in the first year, it was fairly quiet. Shortly after that, DreamIt moved out of the 7th floor, and entrepreneurs began “squatting”. People camped out in the open space, and I found myself walking around more and more meeting new entrepreneurs. One entrepreneur rode up in the elevator with me, and gave me his pitch, not knowing I was an investor. When he was done, someone poked him in the ribs and said – did you know she’s an investor. The entrepreneur said – that’s my first elevator pitch! And we all laughed. And that’s where I found my community. Quorum grew over time, the space filled, and I could get more business done just walking around the hall than I had ever been able to do before. Loved being able to walk about 20 steps to get to some of the best networking sessions ever!"

Chris Wink,

Chris Wink, CEO,

"Over a decade, Quorum has proved itself both an effective space and a lasting community. I have hosted and attended and accidentally walked into dozens upon dozens of events and gatherings that have taken place in Quorum. The very first meetup ever held took place in what later became Quorum, and the Quorum team from Kristen Fitch and Jeanne Mell and Liz Pretz helped us bring thousands of others together there over the last decade. It's a major contributor to why has tracked so closely how this region's economy has changed over time. Spaces, then, are important tools for communities. They aren't necessary, exactly — consider all the communities you are a part of that no longer or perhaps ever had a physical component — though they can serve lots of helpful ends. Spaces, like communities, can be designed thoughtfully and engineered carefully but the difference comes in how they come together. With a little bit of money, anybody can make a space. Communities come together because of people and passion and shared humanity. Quorum has existed in some very lovely spaces but what matters more over the last decade has been the people who have come together there. Communities have to give more than they take from their members, and the people who have made Quorum what it is have done just that."