Held at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, the WeWork Creator Awards Global Finals brought together WeWork’s global network for a night of awards and distinguished guests.
WeWork, an office space management service founded in 2010, has managed to mound up quite a bit of money over the course of eight years in existence. With hundreds of offices across the globe, WeWork’s concept extended from the usual framework of providing space to work to providing space to interact and collaborate on all levels – from enterprise to single-person desks in a common area. Tenants are subject to co-founder Miguel McKelvey’s trendy sense of design but wholly practical and all-inclusive experience- that means office supplies and coffee- a big deal.
WeWork’s capitalizing on its power of being community-builder: they’ve stepped into the territories of housing (WeLive), early schooling (WeGrow) and now… investment (in some interpretation).
It’s unclear whether The WeWork Creative Awards are an investment in companies on behalf of WeWork or if it’s a charitable gift. But no matter, several companies have found themselves enjoying a flood of cash- in the range of $180,000 to $1,000,000. The $1 million prizes went to J. Kevin White of Global Vision 20/20, whose non-profit concept provides prescription eyewear to underdeveloped nations, and Samantha Snabes of re:3D who produces accessible 3D printers that use recycled materials. The lower end (though still sizable) went to BunkerLabs, which is involved in securing veterans tech jobs.
The night was packed full of entertainment- A surprise performance by DRAM, who went on following Soren Bryce and prior to Macklemore’s explosive headlining act. Right? Like how did WeWork track down these guys for this? Oh, and guests were mostly currently working in WeWorks around the city. The Awards also featured Co-Hosts Justin Baldoni, star of The CW’s Jane the Virgin and Adi Neumann, former supermodel; judges Adam Neumann, Co-founder and CEO of WeWork; Tim Ferriss, entrepreneur and author of The 4-Hour Workweek; Joy Mangano, HSN, inventor and entrepreneur, Lisa Price, President and Founder of Carol’s Daughter; Tamara Steffens, GM of Business Development at Microsoft. In total, it was just over $4 million in money given to these organizations working to make the world a better place.
We spoke with icon LeVar Burton (Roots, Reading Rainbow) about his organization, LeVar Burton Kids, which is working to build a space in the future for reading to happen. Burton spoke on his influences, specifically Sidney Poitier: “He was first black man I was exposed to who walked with a sense of self, a sense of grace, and elegance- and that I aspired to”. Mr. Poitier was the first African American to win an Academy Award. For Levar, it’s about global knowledge, the ability to critically think, and be compassionate.