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Community Building

Thursday, April 21 

9AM - 4:30PM  | Common House


A bootcamp for aspiring community builders on how to connect communities, sharpen storytelling, and create projects with vision and purpose.


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Tom Tom workshops are an annual highlight to the Festival—an opportunity for community members to learn from each other, while building connections that will continue to grow. These workshops are led by Charlottesville locals, many of whom are working on national or even global playing fields, but whose expertise is of immediate use to our local community. This day-long workshop series will focus on the theme of “Community Building” and examine how different leaders in Charlottesville are doing just that.


Tickets are “pay-what-you-can” with a suggested donation of $40 for the day of programs. All attendees will have access to the Common House social club for drinks, meals, and coworking, and will receive a “day-pass” for a future visit. 

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Workshop Schedule & Speakers 

9:00 AM - Coffee Hour

10:00 AM - Workshops #1, #2

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“Future Community: Creating hybrid experiences for in-person and digital connections” 

Especially relevant as we emerge post-Covid, many community builders are finding a balance of connecting and learning in the digital and in-person worlds. This workshop will utilize Marie’s experience from hospitality and events, alongside what she and a team have been building in the online space of AltMBA and Akimbo, for you to create a framework for your own communities. 


Marie Schacht is the Chief Learning Officer at Akimbo, which was founded in 2015 by Seth Godin. Akimbo's workshops have transformed the lives of 25,000+ people in more than 70 countries around the world. You’ll see Marie focusing her energy on caring for Akimbo's culture and mission. She brings her curiosity, resilience, determination and patience in how she shows up–step by step leading change and making a ruckus.


“Effective Leadership: Walking the Tightrope of Armor vs Authenticity”

It can feel a lot safer to armor up and play the leadership role you think people expect of you than to be your authentic self. Yet, effective leadership demands authenticity. How do we let the armor go without risk of losing it all? This workshop will explore how to stay empowered to authentically lead and be true to your values despite what others may think.

Spencer Snakard is an Executive Coach for visionary leaders. She helps them break through upper limits and reach their next level of impact so they can turn their mission into a world-changing movement … without life-sucking consequences! With 25 years of experience, her transformative programs cause profound shifts in participants' lives by getting to the heart of what drives us, what holds us back, and what it takes to be truly fulfilled.

11:00 AM - Workshops #3, #4

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“Changing Minds: Insights from the emerging psychedelic therapy movement”
Our understandings of trauma -- both individual and community -- are evolving. On the vanguard of the healing research is an emerging field of psychedelic therapy. This workshop imparts the story of building stakeholder communities -- especially veterans --- to advocate for the treatments they need, and ultimately explore new modalities of healing. 

Neil Markey is a former Special Ops Army Ranger, McKinsey consultant, and C-suite executive who burned out and turned to meditation and mindfulness. Neil is the cofounder and CEO of Beckley Retreats, a project of Beckley Waves, the venture studio started by Amanda Feilding, which is helping guide the emerging field of psychedelic treatment and community healing

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“The Envision Podcast - Uplifting communities of color - with Guests Martize Tolbert & Charlie Rogers”
The Envision Podcast has just completed its 40th profile of local black changemakers, who are helping process and worth through a complex history of Charlottesville. The podcast pays homage to the places and spaces that aren’t fully celebrated and taught, and how these stories contribute to our shared local story.

Price Thomas is the Director Of Marketing And Public Relations at United Way of Greater Charlottesville. Martize Tolbert is the Director of Client and Community Engagement at The Fountain Fund and Charlie Rogers is the CEO of Innovative Software Solutions and a key partner in the Venture Central project. 

12:00 PM - Lunch

1:30 PM - Workshops #5, #6

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“Courageous Conversations: How to build inclusive communities and workplaces.”
It all starts with conversation! Creating equitable and inclusive communities and workspaces extends beyond one project or meeting. Those who desire to create an environment that is inclusive for all must commit to ongoing conversations and dialogue to ensure accountability and consistency in their efforts. This workshop will highlight the importance of an inclusive community, how individuals and organizations can approach courageous conversations, and strategies for impactful dialogue. 

Tamara W. Dias is the Founder and Principal Consultant at TWD Coaching and Consulting and Executive Director of the African American Teaching Fellows. AATF recruits, supports, and, develop new teachers of color for the Charlottesville and Albemarle County school systems, helping address racially-based disparities and ensuring better outcomes.

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“The New Newsletter: The next wave of community-building is in your inbox.”
At this interactive session led by editorial guru and Charlottesville resident Rachel Baker, we’ll fine-tune ideas and exchange tips on how to use media’s hottest new format to create connection among new and existing communities. Bring your own newsletter concepts and leave armed with a strategy for executing them! 

Rachel Baker is a writer, editor, and media consultant. She’s the cofounder of The Spread, which each week weighs in on the best of women’s media in a post-newstand world, and the founder of The Bigger Picture, about family movies. Before moving to Charlottesville in 2018, Rachel was a features editor at Elle magazine and a senior editor at New York magazine.

2:30 PM - Workshop #7

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“Workshop: The Future is Local: How does CVille thrive in this Brave New World?”
Today, people are longing to be a part of a place that feels like home. During the pandemic, one fifth of Americans relocated, usually to the areas of their childhood homes. This shift was actually an extension of a decades-long trend away from urban density, to places and spaces that fostered real connection. This hands on workshop will explore topics from green space to history, hospitality to food, touching on all the cornerstones necessary to build a thriving, and connected hometown. Come be a part of Charlottesville’s future focus! 

Katherine Byrne is the Former Publisher of Fast Company and Chief Impact Officer of PopVenture and Lynn Casey is a Futurist and the CEO and Founder of  Shine Scout. Together they will explore how to build a bold and resilient future vision of Charlottesville that responds to the call for a new human-centered focus.

3:30 PM - Workshop #8

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“One Small Step: Connecting with others across political, religious and cultural divides”  

The One Small Step project is a storytelling medium that helps foster dialogue between disparate individuals and communities. This workshop is useful for anyone working in a professional or volunteer capacity who needs to connect with people from different political, religious, cultural, or socio-economic backgrounds. Takeaways include, How to craft a personal narrative; Community-building through conversation and active listening; and How to ask questions with curiosity instead of persuasion. 


Samyuktha Mahadevan is the Manager of the One Small Step Project at UVA’s Democracy Initiative. She has worked in the political/community organizing space for several years, and helps individuals and organizations hone the skill of storytelling.

4:30 PM - Happy hour on the Roof


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