What is your job title?
- Founder & President of The Shift
- Co-Founder of Second Shift
Freelance Writer covering topics such as: coworking, the truth behind the entrepreneur lifestyle, tech/startups/innovation in Chicago, and my personal favorite: traveling
Can you tell us a little about what you do?
I create “coworking” workspaces that accelerate productivity, invite conversations amongst members, and spark opportunities for collaboration. In addition to managing our shared workspace environment, I coordinate engaging events that further inspire our members to meet and learn from each other such as Member Lunches, and our much-loved Member Show & Tell, in addition to professional development classes and workshops that are open to the general public.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of coworking, its a recent and popular trend that was born out of the sharing economy. The same way Uber is for sharing cars, and Airbnb is for sharing houses, coworking is for sharing offices and creative spaces.
What was your very 1st job?
My first job was in a video rental store (yep, back when people would still rent videos!)
My first entrepreneurial job was photography and I shot black and white portraits for friends and families, and developed the photos myself in a darkroom (when people would still develop photos manually!)
How did you get started in the industry?
About 3.5 years ago I walked into my first coworking space (unaware of what it was) to attend an event, and while walking through the open workspace area I literally stopped in my tracks because I could feel a unique energy in the room. As I looked around, I noticed people in t-shirts alongside people in suits, some working in groups and others working independently. People of all ages gathered around whiteboards having brainstorming sessions, and other people gathered around monitors excitedly testing out software. There was a positive buzz in the air, and it was the complete opposite feeling of the traditional office with grey walls, cubicles, and people who looked miserable.
Tell us about some cool perks that come with your coworking memberships?
The ability to have networking opportunities occur daily, naturally, and in a comfortable setting, with a diverse group of local professionals. No more having to attend awkward networking events where they give you a name tag, funnel you into a large room, and then expect you to start making friends instantly.
When you’re a member, The Shift is your free PR company! We post about our members all the time on social media, in our newsletter, send referrals their way, and introduce them to other members, as part of our stated mission to “support, promote, and connect our members”
Whose a girl boss that you really admire and why?
Although I have my favorite “celebrity” girl bosses such as Sheryl Sandberg and Melinda Gates, I admire every single Girl Boss that has taken the risk to become an entrepreneur because it is the one of the hardest things you can do in life. Especially if you go from having a salary/health benefits/job security to abandoning it all because you’re passionate about something and want to create something that people will enjoy or can solve a problem. Being a Girl Boss can be lonely, scary, and stressful, and I admire every single woman who has done it (or is planning to do it) because they inspire other women to do the same, and can be a support system to other women along the way.
What’s your go to outfit when you want to look like a boss?
In the entrepreneur world, power suits are not the look (Ex: Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodie + jeans style. Not that I agree with his extreme-casual style though!)
The best part of being an entrepreneur is that YOU are your own boss, and you don’t need to overdress, or be worried about impressing your superiors in order to earn that c-suite office one day.
So my Girl Boss look is a city-chic look: a black blouse with dark wash skinny jeans, and a pair of Nike high tops for fun and flair, or ankle boots instead of stilettos.
What do you LOVE about your job?
That I am surrounded by a variety of entrepreneurs, freelancers, creatives, consultants, and remote workers who enjoy being around other people (instead of being alone and working from home), and the ability to turn to each other throughout the day to talk about what we’re working on, ask for feedback, or just take a quick break to laugh or share stories.
Can you give any advice or tips to individuals who are trying to enter your field?
If you’re interested in the coworking industry - the easiest is to become a member at a coworking space! But if you work for a company that has an office now and can’t work remote, start going to events held at coworking spaces (many of which are held after work). Or, if you have a project that you’re working on outside of work (aka the “side hustle”) you can start your own Coworking Meetup at a local cafe, and invite people to come and work alongside you. It will help with your productivity and accountability, and you’ll be able to bounce ideas off each other.
If you want to start your own space, I’m a coworking space & community building consultant, so I can certainly help you too!