On June 20, 2018, Sajid Islam interviewed Alisha Thornton, the Community Manager of 1528 Webster Street in Oakland, California.
Members have found the two founders to be very valuable resources. 1528 Webster Street houses a lot of start-ups looking to build their business. With the two founders on site, start-ups have been able to have conversations with them. Since they are on site, members can bounce ideas off of them and ask them what they think about their plans. Members like to be around positive energy and those who are successful because they can teach them what they have learned and how to make their business that much better. Who you surround yourself with makes a huge difference.
Prior to becoming the Community Manager of 1528 Webster Street, Alisha had experience with both management and consulting. So, when she heard about the joint, the position caught her attention right away. The idea of working directly with the owners was a great experience. She was excited to be a part of the start-up and grow her own network as well.
Alisha started out by the helping the space getting opened. Then, she went on to do more creative stuff with the community. She runs the social media and organizes events to keep the community together. The coworking stuff can come together on its own if done correctly.
It is a great place for startups and tech. The diverse area allows businesses to flourish. Additionally, the area has been growing recently. A lot of people have been moving in from San Francisco. Big companies are coming to the area and a lot of apartments and condos are coming up in downtown oakland. 1528 Webster Street is in the center of everything. It is in downtown Oakland, a great place to be as it is on the rise.
Members and Community
1528 Webster Street attracts a lot of startups and entrepreneurs. The space opened a few months ago and is currently accepting membership applications. They are in no rush to move forward. Instead, the focus is on cultivating a strong community that will eventually grow on its own.
Most members come to them by referral or word of mouth. 1528 Webster Street emphasizes the networking aspect of coworking in their space and how they can grow it. They offer the quality of relationships versus quantity.
Alisha’s Tips on Being an Effective Community Manager
- Be a people person.
- It is important to just be a good person that wants to make members happy.
- Remember that members pay the bills.
- They should feel taken care of and like there is some asset to being a part of the space.
- Always have a solution and be proactive.
- Reach out to members, follow-up with them, and check in from time to time.
- Be adaptable.
- Coworking is new and kind of in the grey-area so there is constant change happening. Whatever is not working has to be altered until it does.
- Be a welcoming person and get members excited about being part of the community.
Challenges and Advice
Alisha notes just how important internet is. Anytime you are managing a coworking space, your priority should be high speed internet that never goes down. Alisha recommends having two internet services. That way, if one goes down, it automatically routes to the next one and members have no idea there was even a problem.
Watch the full interview here.