Discover Coworking previously sat with Brandon Napoli of Sacred Space Coworking who shared a unique story about how he started a space within his church. Joanna Cabalquinto interviewed him once again to get more details on his journey.
Working in a Church
Brandon was able to start a coworking space within his church because he was aware of an underutilized space in the community that was aesthetically different from a typical office space. The values of the community was key in starting his space.
The founding members of Sacred Space were those who were already attending church there. They knew the space and already had built trust with Brandon. After getting a solid foundation of members, he quickly went out to meetup organizers to find those he felt would work well with their values. These tended to be the underserved workforce. Brandon did not want to compete with the WeWork type of offices. So, he approached social entrepreneurs, women, artists, and the youth.
It was important for Brandon to create an invitation that allowed diverse people to feel welcomed as they are. Despite being in a church, there was no more conformity beyond the values that Sacred Space made explicit. Change within a community will always create a certain level of resentment if conversations are not maintained right. The language that is used to communicate is important in facilitating an understanding.
Brandon is looking to hire a community manager figure in the near future. Originally, people who used the space had the responsibility of maintaining it. His hope was to build a collective leadership system where people are not relying on one person to do everything. However, he found that the ball can get dropped more often this way.
Going forward with the hiring process, Brandon will give preferential treatment to interns than an outside hire. The interns are people who are already coming in and using the space so they already understand its values and how it runs.