International Women’s Day: 10 Interviews With Leading Female Entrepreneurs

The Founders of Women Who Cowork said it: “The coworking and flexible workspace industry has been pioneered and shaped, in large part, by women”
  • The flexible workspace industry wouldn’t be where it is today without the vision, drive and laser focus of leading ladies.
  • In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting the work of women who have powered the global flexible workspace industry.
  • One thing is certain: women mean business.

The flexible workspace industry is a global powerhouse of inspirational leaders and innovative thinkers. Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, and at Allwork.Space we believe it’s the perfect opportunity to honour our industry’s wonder women.

The flexible workspace industry wouldn’t be where it is today without the vision, drive and laser focus of leading ladies like Kathlene Buchanan of Metro Offices, Jennifer Brooke from the BCA, Gabriela Hersham of Huckletree, Mee Kim of CEO Suite, Liz Elam and Ashley Proctor from GCUC, the GWA’s Jamie Russo, and thousands more like them.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, here are 10 interviews with businesswomen who are powering the global coworking and business centre industry.

Iris Kavanagh and Laura Shook Guzman – Founders of Women Who Cowork

Women Who Cowork was founded by Iris Kavanagh and Laura Shook Guzman in 2017, in order to bring visibility to the women powering the coworking movement, and support female founders in creating successful, sustainable coworking spaces.

Felena Hanson – Hera Hub

“We are not women-only. We are female focused, and there is a difference,” says Hera Hub’s Felena Hanson. “It’s not about shutting certain people out.” Hera Hub empowers women to connect with like-minded people in an environment that’s safe and supportive.

Marlene Mejia Weiss – The INC. (formerly Women’s Business Incubator)

In Seattle, Washington, the INC.’s Marlene Mejia Weiss discusses coworking in underutilized spaces and the growing need for affordable, flexible childcare in the workplace.

Ana Moreira – Casa Feminaria, Brazil

In Brazil, Ana Moreira is building a supportive and empowering coworking space for female entrepreneurs: “I want Feminaria to be the place where women and girls can look up to fellow women as role models.”

Liz Elam – GCUC, Link Coworking

As the executive producer of the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC) and founder of Link Coworking, Liz Elam travels the world learning about coworking and the evolution of the industry. Here, she dips into the coworking megatrends of 2018 and what the industry can expect in the near future.

Debra Larsen – TechSpace

Debra Larsen is the original founder of TechSpace, one of the first modern-day ‘coworking’ spaces. Here, she discusses her journey from a successful commercial real estate broker in New York City to launching a tech-focused workspace in 1997.

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Laura Kozelouzek – Quest Workspaces

In 2010, Laura Kozelouzek launched Quest Workspaces. Today, with 9 locations in her portfolio, she discusses her reasons for partnering with the Van Wagner Group to launch Quest’s newest location, and why it’s shaping up to be an exciting path for future expansion.

Rebecca Brian Pan – Covo, San Francisco and St. Louis

Covo CEO Rebecca Brian Pan, who was co-founder and former COO of NextSpace, talks about her vision to make coworking more accessible and to include the public through hourly coworking, allowing more people to utilize the space with no commitment whatsoever.

Joy Stephan – 20Chairs

Joy Stephan, founder of 20Chairs and an expert in workplace strategy and organizational development, discusses how operators can leverage the onboarding experience to build a profitable center and a thriving community.

Angel Kwiatkowski – Cohere

Angel Kwiatkowski, founder of Cohere Coworking and author of the Ultimate Coworking Launch Workbook, shares her best tips for creating a cozy and welcoming workplace.

Bonus Read

Women-only or women-focused coworking spaces are on the rise. One of the most prominent is The Wing in New York, exclusively for women, which was founded by Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan in 2016.

Spaces like The Wing, Hera Hub, New Women Space, and SheWorks Collective have been praised for creating supportive spaces in which female founders can build community together and connect with like-minded people. But they’re not for every woman.

Gemma Church, an author at Allwork.Space, penned this article for Huckletree in London: ‘Do Female Founders Actually Want to Work in Women-Only Workspaces?’ It’s an insightful read that challenges the under-representation of female-founded companies, and questions why so many female-centric workspaces tend to focus on aesthetics of the space.

“Soft furnishings and female-targeted facilities such as a beauty room and free blow drys sound appealing. Understanding and tailoring your space to your target audience is just good business sense,” says Gemma. “But let’s not patronise female founders by claiming a fluffy kitten will win them over when choosing a space. Women mean business.”

Read the article in full here
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