Crono Talks with the D2 collective

Hey Croners! Welcome to our brand new column Crono Talks, a series of interviews with projects and people that have blown our minds. We aim to bring inspiration and give deserved credit to those working hard and with great ideas.

In this episode, we’ll have a chat with Erica Isotta Surace, co-founder of the D2 collective.

In the first half of this interview, we’ll get to know Erica and then her amazing community project, let’s get started!

Crono Talks ep.2: the D2 collective

Hi Erica, we like to start with a warm-up: describe yourself in 10 words!

Passionate connector, entrepreneur, and advocate for meaningful connections and community growth.

Now, can you give us a little overview of your career and projects?

When I was 24, I started my career in tech sales at LinkedIn, in their Dublin office. At the time I did not know much about the tech industry and how that experience would shape my life, personally and professionally.

I grew as a sales professional in both scaleups and big tech, like Salesforce and Miro, until I went full-time on the D2 collective. I started the D2 collective together with my best friend, Nastie Schoenmakers, to spark meaningful and genuine connections in the tech industry. 

The community is inspired by our time in Dublin, working for LinkedIn specifically. I am on a mission to make the [tech] world feel closer to the D2 collective, the fastest-growing community for professionals to make meaningful connections in the tech industry. My vision is to build bridges among people and opportunities, weaving a tapestry of connections that not only strengthen communities but also pave the way for collective growth and endless possibilities.

What are the bits of advice you'd give to young minds with lots of interests like you?

Luck alone is just a tale; you need to take action. Value is built over compound interest over time

I guess my advice is to jump into as many opportunities as you can as long as they align: I became the person who can do the things I do today because of what I did yesterday – my first failed business at 21 and the following one at 27, the life I built abroad every time I moved countries and uprooted myself only to leave again after a couple of years, and all the time I ventured outside my comfort zone.

How does it feel to be Co-Founder of the D2 Collective?

Co-founding the D2 collective is empowering and inspiring. It fuels a global community, creating avenues for meaningful connections and collective progress in the tech landscape. I do get goosebumps when I hear about the ripple effects of it: someone landing a new job, new-made friends going on a weekend away together and much more.

Inside the D2 collective

How would you describe the D2 Collective?

the D2 collective is a global value-based membership community for those working in the tech industry. Our mission is to make the tech world feel closer through meaningful connections, experiences and learning.

What's the story behind the project?

Nastie and I met in 2017 while starting our careers at LinkedIn in its Dublin HQ. At the time we didn’t know that this experience would entirely shape our lives both professionally and personally. 

In Dublin, we had the chance to progress in some of the fastest-growing companies worldwide, meet extremely talented people, and form lifelong connections that still last to this day. All of this happened in D2.

D2 is the neighbourhood in Dublin where most of the tech companies are located and was the starting point of our journey as professionals. Fast forward five years, and the tech industry has seen immense changes in the way we work and connect. 

While the tech industry has always been at the forefront of innovation and embracing change, adapting to the new way of working, hybrid and remote, has created a disconnection among the tech community and its professionals. So, the question arose: how can we continue to form new and foster existing professional and personal connections? That’s how our journey began in 2022 we have created a space where over 3000+ people can come together online via our community platform and offline: through meet-ups and workshops in our main hubs.

What are your favourite memories about the D2 and your future goals?

I love this question. Surprisingly, my favourite memory is not about a big moment (even if we had many of those, like having Job van der Voort, CEO at Remote speak at one of our events for example or when Microsoft’s company page on LinkedIn tagged us in a post for their 22M followers to read). 

It’s the grit behind building on what’s initially just an idea and committing to that vision at every turn. Most founders would know that pivoting is a natural part of it and I loved every pivot, every moment where we were like “oh, what if we did this differently” and those turns turned out incredibly well. It might be hard to believe but D2 today is different from the first idea we had of it in Spring 2022.

Why should professionals join the D2 Collective?

Professionals should join the D2 collective to enhance their lives in our socially disconnected society. Despite hyper-connectivity through technology, a loneliness pandemic persists. D2 fosters meaningful relationships, translating to a more fulfilling and connected life.

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