Kristen Allen and Kim Madsen have known each other a long time. But connecting as entrepreneurs after Startup Boot Camp gave their relationship an entirely new dimension. By blending their entrepreneurial visions, they collaborated to create a unique team building workshop for a local company.
Madsen owns K. Madsen Consulting, a Willmar-based company that specializes in helping individuals and teams find their strengths and reach their potential. Allen is an artist and graphic designer who facilitates hands-on workshops in her funky gathering spot called greenwater garage + gallery.
After brainstorming at a Startup alumni event, Madsen and Allen ended up designing a corporate workshop for one of Madsen’s clients that combined two hours of a classroom setting with two hours of a collaborative art project. “I spent the first two hours helping them develop their personal ‘whys.’ Why do you get up in the morning? After we went around the room and shared that, we moved on to Kristen’s exercise, which was a very uplifting team building art project,” says Madsen
“For the art piece, I wanted something they could work on together, but each take a piece of at the end of the day as a reminder,” Allen explains. “I decided on a piece of wood with twelve sparrows, in part because of the biblical reference, that even a sparrow is important.” First he team worked on the larger art collage together, painting the sparrows and branches that connected them; and when it was done, each person took one sparrow to finish in a way that symbolized their personal ‘why.’Kristin Allen, greenwater garage + gallery
“They each have a sparrow hanging in their offices,” Madsen says. “When people stop by and ask about them, they get to explain their personal ‘why’ and what it means to them. I think the art project symbolized how they can still be themselves while being part of a larger organization. When I check back with this company, they say they’re now connecting with people they would not have connected with before.”
Connection was also the key for Madsen and Allen. “Workup is the place to find entrepreneurial workshops like Startup, which is an experience that connects you in a meaningful way. You create a strong bond with the people in your class, but also with other alumni who have been through it as well,” Allen says. “Because Kim and I had the common experience of Startup, we spoke the same language, which made our collaboration that much easier.”
Madsen agrees. “If I hadn’t come to Workup, I might have eventually reached out to Kristen,” she says. “But it was definitely being together at Workup and Startup events that facilitated us working together more quickly. Workup is like a library of people. I may not be able to help you, but I probably know someone else at Workup who can.”