Host, Tony Bacigalupo, talked to Ashley Proctor about her different roles in coworking.
How Ashley Came to Cowork
Ashley became accustomed to coworking while at Ontario College of Art and Design. While at school, she and some others would often go to each other’s houses to work on their individual projects separately but in each other’s company. She realized that while she was attending school there was great, supportive community around her with people that had similar interests and views. It is important to maintain a similar support system upon entering the workforce.
Ashley fell into coworking very naturally. Having a sense of community and building a sort of comradery was very important to her. In every coworking space, it is the people that keep you there. What you put in is what your get out of coworking. You cannot expect to find a culture of community if you do not make an effort to engage with the people in a space.
Advice on How to Build Community
The best way to facilitate human interaction in just by caring about the individuals in your space. Learn their names and interests and participate in their projects. These interactions provide instant feedback, both verbal and implied, on the needs of the community whether it be the design, events, amenities, etc. It is important to treat members as the driving force that inspires what you do with your space.
A lot of people tend to think about what is most helpful for themselves personally. However, what is most helpful to you is not necessarily what is most helpful to your members. You want to create an environment that is flexible for them so that they can take it and make it into what they need.
The main focus of Ashley’s spaces is that the members within it are diverse. In fact, she used her background as both an artist and entrepreneur to facilitate a crossover between the industries. With the two working under the same roof, they provide a balance and awareness for skills they have that would otherwise go unnoticed.