How Starling is Revolutionizing Professional Development Through Community and Learning

Learn how Starling have honed their understanding of what effective learning and community building entail.

Disco’s Customer Stories highlights the world-changing impact customers are making with their respective communities.

"Changing the way we work" is not just a slogan for Starling, it's their mission. Founded by Rachel Koblic and Jeff Sironi, two professionals with a rich history of collaboration, Starling is a testament to their shared vision of transforming workplace culture.

With over eight years of working together in various companies, including an Ed tech firm and a learning community for revenue professionals, they have honed their understanding of what effective learning and community building entail.

A journey from shared experiences to a shared vision

The inception of Starling was rooted in Rachel and Jeff's shared experiences and deep conversations about the need for improvement in workplace learning. They recognized that the true challenge in starting their venture was not the fear of business failure, but the potential loss of valuable relationships. This realization profoundly shaped Starling's philosophy, placing a strong emphasis on the importance of connections and community in the professional world. Their approach goes beyond the traditional boundaries of professional development, focusing on fostering a supportive and interconnected community where learning is a shared journey.

"Our journey taught us that connections and community are as crucial as the learning itself. We wanted to create a space where these elements are not just parallel tracks but intertwined paths."

Starling's unique approach to courses and community for the modern professional

Starling's business model is a thoughtful blend of innovation and simplicity. It offers two primary products that cater to the modern professional's needs: a subscription-based community and a comprehensive series of courses. The community platform, hosted on Disco, is a dynamic space that facilitates meaningful discussions, networking opportunities, and a variety of events. The courses, collectively known as "The Starling Way," are designed to cover essential leadership skills such as self-awareness, cognitive processes, interpersonal interactions, and a deep understanding of business structures. This unique combination of community and learning is tailored to empower professionals in their journey towards leadership and personal growth.

Designing the learning experience for flexibility and depth

Understanding the diverse needs of mid-level professionals, Starling offers a range of courses that vary from intensive, cohort-based experiences to self-paced micro-learnings. This flexibility is a cornerstone of Starling's philosophy, allowing members to choose their learning path according to their individual needs and schedules. Whether it's engaging in a deep, transformative learning experience or accessing quick resources for immediate challenges, Starling ensures that every member has the tools they need to succeed in their professional journey.

"We've always been focused on how we could tailor the learning experience to meet the diverse needs of our members. That's why we've adopted a flexible approach, offering both intensive, cohort-based courses and self-paced micro-learnings. This way, we cater to those seeking a deep, immersive experience as well as those needing quick, targeted learning solutions. It's about providing depth and flexibility in a way that empowers our members to take control of their learning journey." - Jeff Sironi

Starling’s approach to community engagement

At the core of Starling's innovative approach lies its vibrant and interactive community, designed to be much more than a backdrop for learning. This community serves as a dynamic hub for daily discussions, where members engage in meaningful conversations that range from industry trends to personal growth strategies. Jeff passionately describes it: "Our community is the heartbeat of Starling. It's where learning comes to life through real-world application and shared experiences."

The platform hosts a variety of events, curated to address topics that resonate with today's professionals. These events include insightful sessions on managing anxiety in the workplace, a topic increasingly relevant in today's fast-paced work environment. Additionally, Starling organizes workshops specifically tailored for job seekers, providing them with valuable resources, networking opportunities, and practical advice to navigate their career paths effectively.

One of the most innovative aspects of Starling's community engagement is the Community Challenge initiative. This unique program invites members to collaborate on developing practical solutions to common workplace issues. These challenges are designed not only to stimulate intellectual engagement and problem-solving skills but also to foster a sense of camaraderie and collective purpose among members. Through these challenges, members can apply their learning in real-time, test their ideas in a supportive environment, and gain insights from diverse perspectives within the community.

Jeff elaborates on the significance of these interactions, "In our community, every discussion, event, or challenge is an opportunity for members to connect, learn, and grow together. We've seen incredible ideas and solutions emerge from these collaborative efforts, reinforcing our belief that the most impactful learning happens in a shared space."

Moreover, Starling's community is constantly evolving, with new features and initiatives being introduced based on member feedback and emerging trends. This adaptability ensures that the community remains relevant, engaging, and aligned with the members' evolving needs.

In essence, Starling's community is not just a feature of the platform; it is its very essence. It's a place where members can not only expand their knowledge but also build lasting relationships, share experiences, and contribute to a growing network of professionals committed to mutual growth and success. As Jeff puts it, "Our community is where the magic of Starling truly happens."

Making professional development available and accessible to all

Starling's pricing strategy is designed to make professional development accessible. With an annual membership of $200 and courses priced at $200 each, with discounts for community members, Starling ensures that high-quality learning is within reach. "We believe that professional growth should be accessible to everyone. It's not just a corporate luxury but a fundamental tool for individual development. That's why we've structured our pricing to be inclusive and affordable," Jeff shares.

Organic growth and future aspirations

Starling's growth trajectory has been organic, primarily driven by social media and LinkedIn. Looking ahead, the founders plan to broaden their reach through thought leadership and content marketing, aiming to attract a diverse audience and further cement Starling's position as a leader in professional development.

"Our growth has been a natural progression, fueled by the genuine connections we've made on platforms like LinkedIn and through social media. Looking forward, we're excited to expand our reach. We plan to dive into thought leadership and content marketing, not just to grow our audience but to truly engage and inspire professionals. We see Starling not just as a platform but as a community leader, shaping the future of professional development." - Rachel Koblic

Why Starling chose Disco as their platform partner

When it came to selecting the right platform for Starling, the decision was pivotal. The founders needed a system that not only supported their innovative approach to professional development but also resonated with their core values. Disco emerged as the standout choice, impressing the team with its seamless integration of community and learning experiences, a feature that was crucial for Starling's vision.

Jeff elaborates on this decision, "What really drew us to Disco was how it integrated the learning and community aspects so seamlessly. It's rare to find a platform where these two crucial elements coexist so naturally and effectively." This integration was key in creating an environment where learning and community interaction were not just parallel tracks but intertwined paths, enhancing the overall experience for Starling's members.

The user experience offered by Disco was another significant factor in their choice. Rachel points out, "Disco's interface is not just about aesthetics, it's about creating an intuitive user experience. Our members find it easy to navigate, which enhances their learning and community engagement." This ease of use was essential for ensuring that members could fully engage with the content and each other, without the barriers often posed by more complex platforms.

Customization was also a critical aspect of their decision-making process. Jeff notes, "We chose Disco because it offered us the flexibility to customize our courses and community space. This level of customization allows us to create a unique experience that aligns with our vision and our members' needs." 

Lastly, the operational efficiency provided by Disco played a significant role. Rachel reflects on the impact of this choice, "With Disco, we've noticed a significant improvement in our operational efficiency. The platform's tools and features have streamlined our course creation and community management processes, allowing us to focus more on content and member engagement." This efficiency was essential for a lean operation like Starling, where resources needed to be optimized for the best possible member experience.

The decision to choose Disco was multifaceted, driven by the platform's ability to integrate learning and community seamlessly, its user-friendly interface, customization capabilities, and operational efficiency. "When we were evaluating different platforms, Disco stood out not just for its features but also for its mission and values. There was a clear alignment with what we wanted to achieve at Starling, making it an obvious choice for us,” shares Jeff.

Redefining work and leadership

Starling's ultimate vision is bold and transformative: to make continuous professional development as integral as a gym subscription, fostering a new generation of empathetic, well-rounded leaders. The platform aims to redefine the role of generalists in the workplace, advocating for a continuous learning journey that adapts and evolves with each professional's needs.

Starling is not just revolutionizing professional development, it's reimagining the way we think about work, leadership, and community. With its innovative approach and commitment to accessible, flexible learning, Starling is paving the way for a future where professional growth is continuous, community-driven, and deeply transformative.

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