Meet a Connector: Stephen in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
by Celeste Hamilton Dennis on May 19, 2014
Growing up in the small town of Brusly, Louisiana, just outside Baton Rouge, Stephen Hebert
felt like an oddball. The environmental issues that mattered to him
didn’t seem to matter to others. So he left eight years ago and was
surprised to discover like-minded tribes in other states.
“I spent a lot of my life thinking that no one else thought like I
did. So once I started to discover similar people, I became kind of
greedy,” he says.
Stephen is now back in Brusly and is all about reconnecting with the
community and finding more socially-minded people through the Idealist Network.
As an ideas guy, he’s even dreamed of something similar that would
match people’s needs to other people’s skills, and make it easy to get
“It was pretty much that first email I got from Ami,” he says. “I was like, ‘Oh! It’s here. Someone is building this network.’ ”
Stephen at a recent Team meeting. (photo courtesy Ashifa Sarkar Vasi)
Stephen’s learned a lot about working with people as a result of all
of the different roles he’s had over the years—from software developer
to gas station attendant to Americorps teacher in a jail to, currently,
restaurant manager. It’s in this last role that Stephen sees an
especially good opportunity to become more engaged with Brusly as the
owner is all about bringing the community together.
As part of the Baton Rouge Area Team, Stephen is hoping to share and learn with others who are as interested in connecting with their community as he is.
“Our local team is small, but we are pithy. It has been a great
experience in co-leadership, as each of us brings something unique to
the table that adds strength as well as perspective and balance,” he
Given his background in IT, Stephen is currently working on a wiki, blog, and map for the group.
He’s also been thinking about how to best categorize and make
accessible all the resources, local events, public spaces, and good
ideas happening in Baton Rouge for an inventory similar to the ones Brooklyn and San Diego created.
For Stephen, being a part of the Team also gives him the same
satisfaction teaching does—that is, giving people an understanding and
power they’ve never had before.
“The Connector role just seems so fundamental. You find out what’s
good and then share it with other people looking for it,” he says.
“That’s what I want to do. Empower others to get the things they want.”