What went down at TL Insider’s Fireside Chat with Nextdoor
As Toronto continues to establish itself as a hub for Canadian tech excellence, Toronto Life and Canadian Business Insider are connecting members with leaders in the industry by way of curated, informative events. On May 25, Insiders gathered at the Drake Hotel for an exclusive Fireside Chat with Sarah Friar, CEO of Nextdoor, the social networking platform that connects neighbours so they can share tips, trade items and build their communities.
In conversation with Laura Hensley, digital editor of Canadian Business, Friar spoke to the power of local action, why small businesses are the backbone of strong communities and the rising importance of neighbourhood connections. “Nextdoor is a place where you can go to connect to the neighbourhoods that matter to you,” said Friar. “There is tremendous power in connecting to your local community, and I’m proud to work at a company that holds true to that purpose.”
As the co-founder of Ladies Who Launch, a non-profit organization that celebrates and empowers women entrepreneurs, Friar also gave some personal examples of how Nextdoor is a tool to champion female-owned businesses in Toronto. “That’s when business owners can take their stories from online and generate real-life action,” she said. “It lends itself to the power of storytelling.”
With an influx of users joining the app during the pandemic, the discussion also addressed Nextdoor’s place as a source of gathering and sharing information in times of need. “Since Covid, as the ground under our feet shifted constantly, it was important that people who had trusted information could have a voice,” said Friar, who went on to speak about the ways Nextdoor was even used as a lifeline in Texas amidst the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. “While these are some of the incredible ways Nextdoor has connected neighbours for good, it’s also a space where folks can find help for small things, like lost keys or odd-job contacts.”
Over canapés and cocktails, members mingled throughout the night and joined the conversation during an open audience Q&A. “I can’t imagine I’d have access to so many intimate dialogues like this without being an Insider,” said one member. “I find myself learning something new every time I attend an event.”