Last week, we reported that the GWA had appointed Jamie Russo as new Executive Director
We reached out to Jamie to learn about her vision for GWA and what she has in store for the Association’s future.
Jamie’s expertise and forward-thinking attitude made her an ideal candidate for the position. It’s no surprise then that the full board approved her appointment.
“The search process was initiated a couple of months ago. The board hired a third party – Mark Newhall of Ideal Wave Solutions, to professionally facilitate the search process. Each member of the five-person search committee interviewed several high-potential candidates as part of the search process and then my appointment was approved by the full board. I was thrilled with their decision to select me – I am a strong match for the job requirements and I have a lot of energy and passion for the role.”
Dale Hersowitz, CEO of WUN Systems and member of GWA’s Board of Directors, commented on Jamie’s appointment:
“I have spent some time over the years with Jamie Russo and personally visited her Enerspace location in northern California. Jamie is extremely sharp and has a strong grasp on both the current and future outlook for shared spaces. I believe Jamie will be a great asset to the GWA organization and ensure a positive outlook for GWA’s future.”
On this note of a positive outlook for GWA’s future, here’s how Jamie plans to steer GWA in the right direction.
Where would you like to see GWA go?
I would like to position GWA as the platform for the conversation around workplace. It is a very natural fit and there has never been a more exciting time in the industry with demand growing from several sources – mobile corporate workers, freelancers, small business owners embracing the shared economy and the proliferation of startups. The demand is coming in terms of the quantity of people but also their expectations for what they want out of a workplace. My goal is to provide the resources and support to keep the GWA membership current, competitive and connected so that they are well-prepared to harness the industry opportunities.
Another goal is to broaden the membership base to reflect the shift in workspace providers. Shared workspace is being provided by office space providers, coworking spaces, hotels, universities, airports, coffee shop hybrids, commercial buildings and more. I want to engage this broader constituency of space providers, service providers, real estate professionals, workplace strategies designers, etc., in conversation, network and learning. As a connected group, we can make a significant impact.
What will be your first step as GWA’s new Executive Director?
My first step is to reach out to each GWA member to do market research to understand opportunities, pain points and collect ideas and feedback. I love to remember that “You don’t know what you don’t know,” and in order to successfully run an association that exists to serve a membership, I want to get to know the membership really well and understand what they want/need to grow their businesses and find purpose and meaning in their careers.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge you’ll have to overcome?
People are busy and there’s so much information and opportunity competing for people’s time. The traditional association struggles to be relevant. There are a number of initiatives on my list to do to make sure the association is relevant and sustainable. I’m looking at ways to increase membership benefits, create a content marketing engine and develop programming that is so relevant for members (current and new) that they make time to read our content, attend our webinars and conferences and engage with the community online.
How do you feel about your new position?
I feel very fortunate that since getting into this industry, I’ve worked hard and followed my passion and trusted that the right opportunities will follow. This role is an example of the right opportunity. There’s a lot to be done but it doesn’t feel like work. It’s totally aligned with the impact I want to make and the people I with whom I want to surround myself.
If you’d like to see some of Jamie’s work and how she’s embraced technology and trends, we strongly encourage you to check out her coworking space as well as her podcasts. Here’s one on coworking trends and how-tos.
We wish Jamie the best of luck and are eager to see how her plans evolve.