In this week’s special edition of Hashtag Member Spotlight, we are excited to feature our Community Catalyst of the upcoming Hashtag Bakersfield, Megan Cardenas! Megan is an awesome person and we are stoked to have her on our team. Be sure to connect with her when Hashtag Bakersfield opens soon! Where are you from? Born and raised in Bakersfield! With stints in Fresno and Modesto How did you find Hashtag/ How did Hashtag find you? My path to Hashtag is kinda windy! But the short version is that I met the now Chief Operating Officer of Bitwise at a brewery when she walked in with my friend who also works for Bitwise. After months of back and forth about potential employment, I finally landed this gig as the Community Catalyst of Hashtag Bakersfield. How long have you been with Bitwise/ Hashtag? I was hired in March 2020. What has been your favorite thing about Hashtag so far? I haven’t had the chance to experience Hashtag at its best yet since our building hasn’t even opened due to the ongoing pandemic. But I absolutely love how enthusiastic the Bakersfield community is for our arrival! How has Hashtag contributed to your success? Well, without Hashtag, I wouldn’t have a job! What are you looking forward to when Hashtag reopens? Everything! I really miss being with people. And I’m excited to help individuals and small businesses grow, as well as ultimately make this city better! What’s one of your favorite Hashtag memories so far? Since I was hired during the pandemic, I haven’t had the honor of the FULL Hashtag experience. But I can say that I have absolutely loved talking with community organizations about why Hashtag and Bitwise exist! What would you want a prospective Hashtag Member to know? We exist to help you succeed! If you have a need, I want to know about it so that I can help meet it. What is something you’ve learned during shelter in place? I’ve learned to give myself grace! I have never lived through a time like this, and neither has anyone I know, so there is literally no framework for how to do it. I’ve found myself being super critical of how I spend my time and decreased productivity, which just contributes to feelings of depression that are already building. Giving myself permission to work differently, which sometimes means working less or letting myself just cry it out, have been necessary to maintaining good mental health. It’s helpful that this grace has been demonstrated by the tippy top members of my organization, which sets the example for all of us to extend grace towards ourselves!