An island of networks

· Social Capital Research

Good evening (Buono Sera) from Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean. I am staying in the capital city, Cagliari, surrounded by beautiful agriculture and buildings that date B.C. After arriving in the morning, I traveled to Mercato San Benedetto, an indoor market located in the city. This was the best place to experience a piece of Sardinia (the people, food, culture) since I was only here for the day. Also, I wanted to visit a Sardex company and ask questions about their membership, benefits and challenges. After purchasing fruit and salivating at cheese wedges (I LOVE cheese), I made my way to Profumi Di Sicilia, a pastry and food place that “brings a bit of Sicilia to Sardinia”. As the newest member in Sardex, they were recently featured on the company’s LinkedIn page. I enjoyed my conversation with the owner, Melania, who said the network has allowed them to purchase/exchange goods from members (see picture of t-shirts). However, the marketplace closes at 2pm so they do not attract a lot of customers. But she enjoys the network events and meeting other members.

In the afternoon, I was the guest of Alice Soru at Open Campus. A contact in my network led to an introduction via email. Alice is a manager at Open Campus, which is a Coworking space company with about 87 members. In the U.S. a similar company is called WeWork and in Columbia, SC there is SOCO. The campus grounds of Open Campus are beautiful, located off the lagoon, making me wish I could duplicate this space in my office. Her partner, Stefano Casu joined us for the discussion about Open Campus and how it provides a community for individuals to network, sharing services and knowledge. Alice arranged for Guiseppe Littre, one of the founders of Sardex to join us for a discussion about networking, creating community and sustainability in both companies. Over the last 5 years, Sardex has expanded to 12 circuits and over 4000 companies. Although the companies have different focuses with their members, both emphasized having staff who are dedicated to members services and hosting events. A quick look at the social media for Open Campus showcases training sessions, programs and network opportunities for members to meet each other. Sardex will host aperivito (aka Happy Hour) for members to network and employs 30 individuals dedicated to membership services. Both companies have conducted some type of member survey and are willing to share data. More importantly, they are willing to consider my survey to distribute to members. I have wanted to meet with Sardex for awhile and was fortunate to have them arrange visits to businesses in the Rome circuit last summer when I taught my class.

After a rough start to my travels this morning, I was blessed with a fruitful and honest chat with Alice, Guiseppe and Stefano. The coworking space is new to Sardinia and it’s always rewarding to meet another woman like Alice, who is a leader in her administrative role.

Enjoy our group pictures and the food! I must admit that jet lag has been rough so I am looking forward to resting for a few days at my next location (Napoli). Then I am going to spend the next few days writing and getting rest/sleep.   

The selfie!
Official photo
San Benedetto Market
Shirts purchased from another Sardex member
Sardex member
Makes you Hungry!