Cut the Comedy! Chicago’s Top Comedy Training Center to Double As Coworking Space

Cut the Comedy! Chicago’s Top Comedy Training Center to Double As Coworking Space

Last week, Coworkaholic announced a new partnership with The Second City and Deskpass.

Allwork spoke with Nicole Vasquez, Chief Community Officer at Deskpass, to learn more about the partnership between Chicago’s renowned Comedy Club and Training Center The Second City, the coworking pass app, and the consulting firm.

“I have to say that Mike LaRosa is the mastermind behind the project. He was our partnership guru; he has been working with The Second City for some time now. Mike helps people get their space up and running, and he’s been helping The Second City launch their new coworking program,” Vasquez said.

If you’re not familiar with The Second City, you might be familiar with some of the alum names that have reached celeb status as comedy A-listers: Tina Fey, Chris Farley, Bill Murray, and Keegan-Michael Key.

From Comedy Training Ground To Coworking Space…

…well, sort of.

Vasquez tells us that The Second City is not planning on becoming a full-blown coworking space. At least not for the time being. However, they do recognize that it’s a growing industry that drives and brings people together. “Their Training Center location boasts a big, open space; it has great light and ample room, so they saw the advantage of opening it up as a workplace.”

For The Second City, it’s a great way to bring Chicagoans into the space, without it having to be for a comedy show or class.

“The Second City is a staple in Chicago. It’s a famous place, it’s well-known which makes the opportunity to set foot into the space a pretty big deal. One of their goals is to invite people into their space to get a peek of what they are doing.”

Yet, Vasquez stresses the fact that opening up a successful workplace is not just about putting a bunch of tables and chairs together. “It has to be done right.”

Which is where Mike LaRosa comes in.  

“Mike is a coworking consultant. He has managed various coworking spaces, including my own. He accompanied The Second City through parts of the process to make sure they got some of the coworking basics right.”

The 10,000 square feet training center will offer various types of workstations, meeting rooms, and other amenities. However, the coworking space inside The Second City will only be available, at least initially, for Deskpass users, Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm.

Deskpass users will be able to access the space starting Monday, September 18th. The Second City will be paid by Deskpass each time someone visits the space.

The partnership, Vasquez tells us, was “one of those serendipitous things.”

“It was truly serendipitous,” La Rosa later added.  “Like several other projects I’ve worked on it originated with a connection at a coworking conference last fall, which led to an introduction earlier this year, and followed with a tour of the space.

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I  can’t, however, take full credit for the idea. COO D’Arcy Stuart’s wife runs her own marketing company and occasionally works in the Training Center space. It was over social drinks that she and I realized that while the Training Center is packed with students from 4pm-11pm the rest of the time it’s quiet, yet already fully staffed, with fast wifi.”

This is not so much a coworking space as it is a coworking initiative.” – Mike La Rosa

Coworking Partnerships 101

Closing a partnership with the likes of The Second City is no easy task. It requires dedication, commitment, and most important of all, a clear vision of what you and your potential partner want.

Vasquez shared a few basic tips on how to form strategic and successful partnerships. (For a more in-depth read on the topic, click here.)

“Coworking is still a concept that not many know about or understand in-depth about its various benefits. Anything that allows us, the coworking world, to be better known and understood is a great thing. Any time you step outside your traditional channels, you expand your horizons. In our case, Deskpass, The Second City, and Coworkaholic , we are all stepping outside our traditional media channels and opening up an unexplored world.”

  1. Partnerships need to be mutually beneficial: Before signing anything, you need to be clear what your objectives are and what the other party’s objectives are. Ask them what their overall goal is. There’s no point in forming a partnership if all of the parties’ goals won’t be met.
  2. Keep in mind there are various ways to partner with others: There are different types of partnerships. You can agree to do cross-promotional strategies, or you can decide to co-brand a project, or you can create a stand alone project.
  3. Set clear goals and elaborate a plan: Think of it as our differences are our strengths. What you might be great at doing, your partner might not be, and vice versa. Take for example our current partnership: Coworkaholic’s strength is getting a workplace up and running; Deskpass’s strength is driving people to amazing workplaces, and The Second City’s strongest suit is providing unique and memorable experiences.  The key here is to have clear responsibilities and expectations from the start, and for each party to act and deliver accordingly.

Closing off the call, Vasquez stated:

“Coworking in general is a collaborative industry. We are built on the belief that sharing is helpful and that sharing is the way to achieve more, rather than doing it all on your own.

“I truly believe in partnerships because it allows people to do more together, to get in front of new groups of people, to have new channels of communication.

“If you ask me, if you believe in collaboration and coworking, you should also believe in partnerships.”

Photo by Kane Reinholdtsen on Unsplash

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