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BEAN Headquarters Blog

BEAN, Gone Glocal
At a BEAN event the other day, a BEAN noob asked me "What is BEAN anyway?" Yes, I have never heard that question before. :) Since I started BEAN in 2003, I have literally been asked this question thousands of times. In fact, this is one of the stock questions I am always asked about, along with "What does BEAN stand for?" (Answer: Nothing. It used to stand for "Business and Engineering Activists Network". We changed it since nobody can remember it.) and "How was BEAN started?" (Answer: Much longer answer....)

But, the "What is BEAN?" question is much more complicated and gets at the heart of what it is we are here to do. The flip answer is "We volunteer and drink beer." The ADHD elevator pitch is "BEAN is Rotary Club for busy & hip young professionals." The slightly more serious answer is "BEAN is a young professional group that helps people volunteer and socializes." But I almost get the chance to give the more long winded answer, which answers the real question people are asking "I am really busy. There are many groups, projects and events in this city. What makes BEAN different and why should I care, huh?" Fair enough.

BEAN is a glocal civic movement for young professionals of the 21st century. We follow the same civic engagement tradition as the likes of Rotary Club, Lions Club and other local civic groups. We are young, diverse, curious, successful, engaged and caring. We want to work hard, play hard and solve hard problems. We use all the latest communication tools like text, Facebook and Twitter AND we want to meet face-to-face to share our dreams, aspirations and the latest happenings. We want to meet more people like us AND we want meet more people completely different than us. We want to get to know our neighbors AND we want to connect with other young professionals on the other side of the globe.

Does that sound confusing and contradictory? I call that dynamic and engaged. More specifically, we live up to the values of Leadership, Friendship and Service, globally and locally.

Glocal Leadership

This means that BEAN finds leaders and builds leaders. We are passionate and full of great ideas. We are all working on our own side entrepreneurial projects. BEAN provides opportunities for people to meet other leaders, lead various charitable efforts that impacts our local communities (such as hands-on volunteer projects and scholarship) and global village (such as our annual Think Global Act Local campaign).

Glocal Friendship

Are your friends basically clones of you and are all only in one place? Unlikely. BEAN is the perfect place to meeting interesting and diverse people right in your own city. Additional, with nine chapters around the world (Seattle, Shanghai, San Francisco, Phoenix, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Seoul and Hong Kong) and growing, next time you travel for work or vacation, there is now an easy way for you to meet more amazing people and makes great life-long friends.

Glocal Service

Do you care about clean water in your neighborhood and in China? Do you want to help feed hungry people in your city and in Bangladesh? BEAN commits itself to various charitable and volunteering causes as a whole, yet at the same time, we offers a flexible framework so that busy young professionals can give back and make a difference without being forced to choose between different life priorities. You CAN have it all.

Now you know "What is BEAN?” go out and do something! :)

PS: Want to read more about what the impact of civic engagement? Check out "Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community" for an academic treatise that document the decline of civic society of last 30 years in the U.S. and what that has meant. For an uplifting look at how a vibrant civic culture makes cities better places to work, live and innovate, check out "The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life".

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