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Meet Damian Madray of The Glint

Today we’d like to introduce you to Damian Madray.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m an immigrant from Guyana, a small country on the north coast of South America, right above Brazil. My mom is a single parent, and I grew up in various household because my mom was busy at working so as to provide.

I spent a lot of time with my grandparents’ farm helping with chores. I herded cattle, picked up and fetched coconuts, ran through rice fields, slept in fruit trees during summer and for the rest of the year, I’d go to school in the city. I never knew what I wanted to do so I explored Sociology, Psychology, Law, and English through GCE ‘A’ Levels. I learned pretty quickly that I suck at all of these things.

In retrospect, I really should have paid attention. Back then, I would have sworn my life that I’d never sound like my mom. After failing at all these things, I spent an entire year doing nothing but geeking out on my computer. I must say, my mom was pretty awesome for allowing me to do that.

During that time I discovered design. I started designing forum signatures, banners and eventually designing websites. The next thing I know, this interest and hobby could possibly pay me, so I went to school for it in Toronto. Fast forward ten years, I’m a product designer who specializes in product development, strategy, UI/UX and visual design.

I’ve started my own startups, went through accelerator programs, failed, then worked for a startup innovation company called Neo and then DXLabs, a foresight innovation company. I did design for Toyota to Singularity University.

All while doing this, I developed a new hobby – designing gatherings. I wanted to experiment with different ways of bringing people together to connect in deeply authentic ways. I wanted to bring people into spaces that would command a new way of being – present, vulnerable, authentic as examples.

In doing so, I started TheGlint. It actually led the revival of communes movement. Our approach to TheGlint gave everyone this idea of naming their houses, defining values, giving it a purpose and being a hub of creativity. We inspired spaces like these in Mexico and Europe. It was kinda dope realizing this a years after shutting it down. Today, The Glint still exists, and to me, it’s an entity that I have a relationship with, one that I respect.

I make decisions on what to do with it based on my respect of its story and the impact it has had on my life. I would really encourage anyone to allow themselves to have such a relationship. It’s because of TheGlint that today I’m an ontological experience designer and what that means is that I design social experiences that engage participants in new ways of being with each other and themselves.

This part of my life, I’m in transition moving from a product designer to this idea of designing spaces for people to connect – an experiential designer.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It depends on how you look at smooth. I’d say that it has gone relatively smooth because without all those bumps I wouldn’t be where I needed to be. I believe much of my struggles is with me understanding myself. I feel we live in a society that doesn’t really allow us the space to look at ourselves, to explore the inner workings. I’ve been fortunate to be able to allow myself that space so I can look at myself and who I am. That, to me, is the real road. I don’t know what it leads to but that’s the road I’m on, and it’s definitely not smooth.

You can learn stuff about yourself you just don’t like. I’ve learned about my story of loneliness. I’ve seen on this road how my neglected childhood trauma causes me to live into this story and the thing most devastated by this are my relationships. It’s not just relationships though; it’s permeated into work as well, limiting my potential and impact on this world. These are serious challenges imposed by myself and my own limiting beliefs, and so the obstacle is me, the challenge is reprogramming myself with new beliefs that I’m enough. I’m in abundance. I’m loved. I’m not alone.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Glint story. Tell us more about the business.
I’m a generalist. I believe the world we’re moving into requires generalists because to be creative in this world will require varied perspectives. We’ll need to be that way so we can weave the abundance of information into context and to me, that’s best delivered in the form of experiences.

I’m an ontological designer, I design spaces and gatherings that commands people into new ways of being such as vulnerable, presence, active listener, empathy and so on. I’m known for using these spaces that introduces people up to communities of shared interest and values. I do this because as we move forward, communities will become the backbone of our civilization.

We’ll return to the concept of villages through the lens of global. Communities won’t require us to stay. It’ll allow us to traverse amongst them practicing new ways of being in relationship to each other, ourselves and the planet. This will lead to the expansion of our consciousness in profound ways we cannot imagine today.

I’m very interested in creating these types of communities through social experiences and using technology to implement and compliment. In short, I design the dopest parties.

I founded two companies that are two sides of the same coin. One is called Presence, a platform that allows creators of experiences, gatherings and intentional communities to be supported, financially, by members of their community. The other is called The Glint, a collective of nearly 300 creators with the mandate to create experiences that transform and connect.

Together, these two projects have created and funded hundreds of experiences that have moved thousands of guests into moments of magic and connection. And we take magic and connection quite seriously because, for us, a gathering has a deeply profound purpose of providing humans with the most fundamental need in our day and time – human connection.

The Glint collaborates with brands, communities, and organizations to create experiences that connect and engages in authentic and meaningful ways. We use art to break down barriers and give permission for guests to have meaningful conversations, express authentically and celebrate the moments of being in each other’s presence.

We’ve been designing these types of gatherings and experiences for nearly a decade and always seeking new opportunities to explore new ways of connecting. If you’re a creator of a live experience that aims to connect in authentic ways. Presence exists to help you make it sustainable so you can bring more of that beautiful expression for the world to enjoy.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
The one luck I’ve had in my life is having the persistent, strong and brave mother that I have. It’s been one that has created possibilities for me in life and business. And as you can imagine, mother’s do what they do – get an education, don’t be rude, be brave, be strong, study hard and so so much more.

My mom wasn’t always there, but we both understood its necessity – a single parent, developing country, little opportunities. We had to, quite literally, define our own luck.

My mom is the good luck I have because everything else was cultivated, commanded and made reality either by her will or my own. Now certainly the universe smiled on both of us from time to time, but there’s an old saying, “God helps those who help themselves.”

If you don’t show up for yourself, it makes it quite difficult for the universe (god) to show up for you. Luck is an illusion that disempowers us, so I don’t ever expect to be lucky. I rely on my discipline and surrender to make my reality.

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Image Credit:
Maverick Inman, Kristina Bakrevski, Lizzie Gunst

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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