CLASS OF 2018
Christian Baum, Class of 2018, is a Pleasant Disruptor, serial entrepreneur and designer. He is the co-founder or “Design Yeti” for Giv Local (a new local company that processes credits cards, but with a purpose, in which we donate 20% of each company’s processing revenue to a local nonprofit of their choosing), in addition to being the co-founder or COO of the co.space, a large home in downtown state college for changemakers. Baum also runs his own design company, where he creates illustrations, graphic design and user experiences for companies like Boar’s Head, Maersk, Johnson & Johnson, and many others.
How did you find out about Leadership Centre County?
I’ve always heard rumors about LCC as a great local resource and assumed that kind of thing wasn’t for me. I’m pretty protective of my time in addition to being a fairly private person (sort of unusual for doing a lot of community building initiatives) but didn’t want to spend more time around groups of people. But, after some convincing from local friends and mentors such as Georgia Abbey and Michael Black. I jumped in and I’m so thankful I did!
How would you describe your experience going through the program?
Refreshing. Both in the sense of new people as well as in the content. I’m naturally a connector but didn’t realize how insular I was in those connections. Getting to meet and befriend people from so many different areas in the community was refreshing to spend time with people I typically wouldn’t. Content-wise, the ability to deep-dive into so many silos of the community was an absolute blast, and of course, come to a natural realization of how much more intertwined they all were and where I could further plug into it.
What is the greatest lesson you have taken from being part of the LEADERSHIP family?
Never assume you know the full picture. (Not that I did this before), but I felt like I was always getting closer and closer. And going through LCC made me realize I only knew a fraction of a fraction, especially in the areas I already had expertise. Respecting each person’s role in the community… is another key lesson learned. Every industry and job has such fascinating importance and challenges associated with it. Respecting each and every person in our region, knowing we all have a role that helps to make our “home” special, is truly rewarding.
Is there any advice you would give to someone unsure of participating in the program?
#NIKE, just do it. I think the better question is why wouldn’t you? It’s one day a month with a few emails and side conversations (all of which are fun). It’s a low-barrier investment that pays off forever. The sooner you do it, the quicker the return. You meet new people, get pushed outside your comfort zone, see new places, eat and drink in dynamic new venues and you’re improving yourself as a person.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Usually, I just start another project or company. I’ll often times find a way to travel and explore new places via work or a friend, ideally overseas, but even locally you’ll always find new and amazing places. I must admit, I love playing Zelda on the Nintendo Switch, I’ll never pass up some good beers, cheeses, and charcuterie! My best answer to this question is probably that I’ll just find a way to explore something I’m curious about!