Hoopfest Gains Valuable Organizational Tools

Teams are not made from workshops, they are forged from overcoming adversity and achieving goals… this is only one of the many insights we learned from Jason Swain.

Jason Swain, the 2016 Agora Award winner for small business in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, is providing Hoopfest with the tools to capitalize on human potential.

Swain comes to Spokane by way of Indiana—a state that knows a thing or two about basketball. “It’s an obsession,” as Swain describes it, “it is rare to find a house without a basketball goal in the driveway in Indiana.”

He graduated from Indiana University and in 2004 he and his wife Katie Brattebo, a Spokane-native, moved to Spokane to start their family. They now have three children, one daughter (11) and twin boys (8). They take advantage of the seasons the Northwest provides with lake days in the summer and ski days on Mt. Spokane in the winter.

Swain is the founder of his company, Symbio, which helps organizations create workforce environments that optimize human potential. “When you get the culture of an organization right, peoples’ biology kicks in and they naturally begin to protect their fellow ‘tribe’ members and work collectively for the advancement and well-being of the group,” explains Swain.

Symbio’s mission is to create organizations where people can work the way they are meant to. “As social creatures, people yearn for a sense of belonging and common purpose. We are biologically wired to form groups built on shared beliefs, to protect one another and collaborate to accomplish shared goals. It’s the very reason we have survived as a species! Humans are not the biggest, fastest, strongest creatures on the planet. Our innate ability to collaborate is what has enabled us to survive and thrive in the world.”

His dedication to this study of 17+ years has led him to work with national brands like Procter & Gamble, American Express, Ford Motor Company and Samuel Adams Brewery. Since starting his own firm in Spokane in 2009, he has worked with local and regional organizations like Avista, Coffman Engineers, Inland Imaging, Northern Quest Resort & Casino, Numerica Credit Union, Providence Sacred Heart, Second Harvest, University of Washington, Washington Trust Bank—and now Spokane Hoopfest.

Hoopfest is constantly looking to push and prod potential. So when it came time to revamp, we looked no further than Swain.

“From defining our ‘North Star’ to acknowledging our own individual social style to improving communication in the office; Jason has been able to identify both strengths and areas of improvement for our organization,” says executive director Matt Santangelo.

“My favorite part of working with Hoopfest is that I get a front row seat to how this community does this kind of thing,” says Swain, “working with the staff of Hoopfest, I get to see the epicenter of it all.”

“Ultimately, the work needs to be done by us,” explains Matt, “but without Jason’s coaching and ability to provide us a road map to improving our efficiencies, we may not have been able to identify where the work needs to be done.”

Like all of his great clients, Swain says he will learn just as much, most likely more from them as they do from him.

In a given month, Swain will see industries as diverse as health-care organizations, manufacturing plants, financial institutions, universities, small non-profits, government agencies, high-tech companies and architectural firms. “I feel like I’ve been given a ‘hall pass’ to roam around and learn all sorts of fascinating things about what other people are doing,” he says.

Swain’s message for any organization, as he believes, is that the main source of competitive advantage today is trust. “Sadly, rare is the organization that is truly trustworthy and can be counted on to never let you down. As sad as that is, it presents a wonderful opportunity for establishing and sustaining a competitive advantage,” describes Swain.

And the key to trust? Authenticity, he says.

“What I find most rewarding in my work is helping people wake-up to the value of their colleagues’ different strengths, perspectives and ways of working,” says Swain.

For Swain, Spokane is home and he’s here to stay. And for that, we thank him!

“In so many ways, Spokane exemplifies the very principles I teach for creating a community of people willing and able to pull together and accomplish amazing, world-class things.”

Here’s to Hoopfest in 2017, to our new partnership and to our community – CHEERS!


If you’re interested in learning more about Swain’s organization, be sure to check him out here:


1324 North Liberty Lake Road, Suite 322

Liberty Lake, WA 99019



Leave a Reply