44 minutes | Apr 6, 2021

Building Business and Community with Eric Williams

“I try and use this space for good. And hopefully not just for me, but to inspire other folks to do something similar. This could be a restaurant, but it could be something else also. How do we use our spaces to help other people?” - Eric WilliamsEric Williams started his adult life by studying finance in the classroom and selling products on the streets of Chicago. Over many years he built his business into the Silver Room, which operates not only as a store but as a community—supporting the neighborhood, hosting artists, and putting on an annual block party attended by tens of thousands of people.This week on Find Your Fierce & Loving, Eric shares the lessons that helped him weather the extraordinary challenges brought by the last year. Listen in to hear his remarkable insights on the importance of maintaining a positive mindset, nurturing the next generation to be compassionate and curious, and why sunglasses are the great equalizer for all people.(05:56) - Career beginnings(11:43) - Radicalism(15:41) - Impact of COVID(19:59) - Parenting(25:09) - Positive mindset(31:26) - Block party & building communityEric Williams is the founder and creative director of The Silver Room, a retail space, community events hub, and art gallery.  As a social entrepreneur, Williams successfully addresses the historic disenfranchisement in communities of color over the past 20 years by providing space, mentorship, and programming that responds to his core constituents’ needs. In 2018, Downtown Hyde Park dedicated its inaugural Economic Impact Award to the Sound System Block Party, and in 2019 the event brought over 100 musical artists, 100+ small business owners, and more 50,000 celebrants to the neighborhood, generating an estimated $2.3 million dollars in economic impact for the Southside of Chicago in one day.In 2019, Eric Williams established The Silver Room Foundation. This foundation exists to further the reach, promotion, and education of artists and creative entrepreneurs, and to strengthen, leverage, and lend structure to the efforts of the social impact placemaking work catalyzed by Mr. Williams over the past 25 years. The Silver Room Foundation mission is to create intentional art-centered experiences, spaces, events, and programming to increase the health, wellness, equity, and economic prosperity outcomes for communities of color on Chicago’s south and west sides. Williams holds a degree in finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago and was a 2017-2018 Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.Do you want to unleash your inherent love and goodness, liberate yourself, and free humanity from the oppressive systems and structures we have created? We are here to support you in finding your fierce and loving life. Join us in Our Circle, a vibrant membership community rich in opportunities for engagement and transformation. Find out more at lolawright.com/our-circle.You can follow Lola Wright, on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and learn more about my work at lolawright.com.Chicago born and built, Lola grew up in wealth and privilege, yet always sensed something was missing. She sought out aliveness and freedom in music, immersing herself in the hip hop and house music scenes of 90s Chicago. After finding herself on her own at 23, as the mother of two young children, she became determined to create a new experience.Lola is an ordained minister with a gift for weaving together the mystical and material, she served for many years as the CEO of Bodhi Center, an organization committed to personal transformation, collective awakening, conscious activism, and community-building.This podcast is produced by Quinn Rose with theme music by independent producer Trey Royal.If you'd like to receive new episodes as they're published, please subscribe to Find Your Fierce & Loving in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts. Your reviews help others find the show.
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