Greg St. Fort

My day job is executive director of 100State, the largest co-working community in Wisconsin. The goal of 100State is to create an ecosystem that brings together people who are innovative, have an entrepreneurial mindset and are committed to social justice. It’s not just a place where you can get desk space and good wifi—it’s a place to grow personally and professionally, support your community and be part of something that’s bigger than yourself.

My most memorable caffeine was during my days as a college party promoter. I was working a nine-to-five job, going to college and running a business that put on parties at a club on Thursday nights. One very early Friday morning I decided that a 20 oz. coffee plus a Red Bull would be the perfect combination to get me through my workday. Let’s just say that I was wrong!

My current caffeine of choice is chai tea latte, though I’ll sometimes have coffee at work—hey, free coffee!

My favorite place for caffeine is Michaelangelo’s during the workweek and Starbucks when I’m back home in New York City. Madison is very different than New York when it comes to choosing local: people here are passionate about supporting businesses that started here and in New York it’s more about brand loyalty.

The person I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with is the rapper Nas. He sings about social justice, but in a way that’s fairly subliminal—you really have to listen to and analyze the lyrics to uncover his messages. I like things that have layers—that might seem simple on the surface but are actually quite complex when you look deeper. It would be interesting to sit down with him and consider how we perceive the connections between entertainment and social justice. We’re committed to some of the same issues but approaching them in different ways.

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine: Racism. So many of the issues that the world is dealing with occur because of our perceptions of how the world works. And, in too many cases, those perceptions outweigh reality. We’re shaped by such a wide variety of forces—education, government policies, the media. They’re all sending messages and driving how we perceive ourselves and others and we need to have a level of consciousness as we’re taking information in and processing it. If we can change perceptions and change expectations, perhaps we can start to incrementally drive improvements in this area.