Unsung Hero Spotlight: Jordan Walbesser

To you, what is an Ecosystem Builder?

An Ecosystem Builder is a community switchboard and a triage nurse all in one. They create a sustainable network through active listening to identify the problem followed by determining who best in the community can help solve the problem. They uplift the entire community through education (experiential and classical) that allows the community to effectively communicate with each other and the external world.

What motivates you as an ecosystem builder?

It’s in my nature. I like to help people. I know that we have world-class talent and ideas here in Buffalo and I want to enable to community to reach for their dreams and aspirations.

What is the most successful/impactful program/event/thing you do/have done in your ecosystem?

I’m not sure I’ll know until 5-7 years from now. Those are the types of programs that I like – the ones that plant seeds and create connections.

I delivered many presentations, seminars, and lectures for startup companies on corporate and IP legal issues. Many of the attendees have gone on to start successful companies and I have been lucky enough to help shepherd the on their way.

What is the biggest challenge you face as an Ecosystem Builder?

Time and resources. Connecting, chasing leads, and educating is very time consuming and not immediately scalable. Managing my time and making sure that my contributions have impact is the biggest challenge. It’s challenging because it can be difficult to determine when a conversation, meeting, or simple advice can make a sharp impact on an entrepreneur. And just as hard to tell when a line of conversation might be fruitless.

What is your biggest frustration as an ecosystem builder?

My biggest frustration is confronting “old-school” risk-averse or short-term thinking about entrepreneurship and ecosystem formation. It’s difficult to convince people that it’s ok to take chances and that you can receive much more by giving and expecting nothing in return. In some ways, the frustration is convincing people to think long-term success instead of short-term gains.

What ecosystem building skill/knowledge do you want to gain?

I would love to know more about how to create a repository for common language and forms. Like a local wikipedia for startup communities containing basic documents, information, contacts, etc.

What are the most important things that need to happen to advance the field of ecosystem building?

The recognition that ecosystem building is a process that can be defined, studied, and improved upon. And most importantly, replicated.

What others are saying about Jordan

If storytelling is a powerful way to build a strong community and an effective way to engage external audiences, then developing a shared language is critical to the effectiveness of those stories.

Jordan is an exceptional Ecosystem Builder because he works tirelessly behind the scenes to teach our community how to speak in that shared language. He spends countless hours educating entrepreneurs on intensely complex topics, such as intellectual property and corporate law.

During the day, Jordan is in-house counsel at Mattel, a multi-billion dollar, publicly-traded, IP-driven, consumer products company. He works on highly-sophisticated international strategic partnerships. Previously, Jordan worked closely with the startup community as an IP and corporate attorney in Buffalo’s biggest private law firm. Many of Buffalo’s greatest startup success stories have one thing in common – Jordan’s counsel and guidance during their formative stages.

Today, Jordan encourages and strengthens the Shared Vision of the Buffalo startup community through a variety of initiatives and one-on-one meetings, each time working selflessly to help entrepreneurs communicate and share their stories effectively.

Jordan recently launched an IP component to the University at Buffalo’s Entrepreneurship Law Clinic. Not only does he work with emerging companies to define and execute their IP strategies, but he also educates the founders and the student-lawyers working in the clinic. Through his efforts, the next crop of entrepreneurs and their attorneys will have a shared language and understanding of the unique goals, circumstances, and problems that a startup faces.

In addition to being an adjunct at the Entrepreneurship Law Clinic, Jordan volunteers to lecture to undergraduate students in Buffalo. In the past five years, Jordan has lectured on Engineering Ethics, Engineering Professionalism, Entrepreneurship, Design Processes and Methods, and E-Commerce Systems and Technologies. He is often called upon – and responds, graciously – to speak at innovation and entrepreneurial seminars for groups such as IEEE and Blackstone Launchpad.

Although Jordan’s efforts have not gone unnoticed (he was recently named in the Ten Most Innovative Alumni from the University at Buffalo Law School), he continues to find new ways to build that Shared Vision for the Buffalo Startup Community. In the past few years, he led legal education initiatives for Techstars’ Startup Week Buffalo and is currently helping community non-profits launch their own weekend hackathons to engage and assist underserved and differently-abled members of the community.

For more information, Jordan’s CV can be found here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1e4Kk-TD07xYwov5u9nKaj8hJQRG1MAOO

For this and many more reasons, I hope that you would consider highlighting Jordan as an Unsung Ecosystem Builder.

 

Anika Horn

Anika Horn is an ecosystem builder for social change, social enterprise advisor and storyteller. She is on a mission to equip ecosystem builders with the insights, resources and community to lead fulfilling lives and purpose-driven careers. Learn more about her work at SocialVenturers.com and AnikaHorn.com.

Ecosystem Builder
Original Content

Help Grow the Field of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building

Join a collaborative effort to design, create, and validate the advancement of the entrepreneurship ecosystem building field of practice. A small, but growing number of people are turning to entrepreneurial ecosystem building as a strategy to build more inclusive and resilient economies. For years, the leading standard bearer in this nascent movement was the Kauffman […]

Read More
Ecosystem Building Leadership Project Launch
Featured Original Content Press Release

A National Project to Advance Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Building

Leaders Across Thirty Plus National Entrepreneurship Support Organizations Come Together to Advance the Field of Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Building An initiative has launched to advance the entrepreneurship ecosystem building field of practice, hosted by the International Business Innovation Associate (InBIA), with funding and support by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ecosystem Building Leadership Project (EBLP) […]

Read More
Cultivating a Practice of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Ecosystem Building Programs
Inclusion & Diversity Inclusive Field Insights from the Field Original Content

Cultivating a Practice of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Ecosystem Building Programs

Cultivating a culture and practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has become a core principle for entrepreneurial ecosystem builders. As part of the Insights from the Field campaign, I wanted to hear from other ecosystem builders in the field about their approaches to DEI, and hopefully identify specific techniques that they’ve incorporated in their […]

Read More