I’m almost decompressed from a week in Denver, where the Women Who Cowork retreat, a workshop I taught on content and leadership, and GCUC USA all lit me up.
Rather than recapping the week’s events, or sharing big picture takeaways, I decided to create a more personal list of my experience this year. Here are my top 10 moments from GCUC 2019.
10. Chance Encounters and Connections
I had a new experience this year at GCUC: people who follow my writing or listen to the Coworking Out Loud Podcast introduced themselves to tell me that they’re inspired by what I’m doing. Some even wanted to get a photo with me. Crazy (but super fun) times! Those interactions will keep me stoked for quite a while. They’ll also keep me digging deeper to keep things real.
9. Vitamin N
Philip Vanhoutte, co-author of the Smarter Working Manifesto reminded us about the importance of getting nature time (Vitamin N) every single day. Phillip has a magnetic personality, style and poise that made me sit up and pay attention.
8. Do You Co?
Coworking superhero Iris Kavanagh described someone by saying, “She knows how to co.” Iris uses “co” as a verb—as a way of being in the world. I’ve heard her say it before, but it particularly struck me during this trip.
7. Auntie Cat Time
I met my friend and Cohere Coworking founder Angel Kwiatkowski’s new baby and mom. My Auntie Cat-ness was beaming to connect with one of the littlest members of our coworking family.
6. Coworking Data is in Good Hands
Steve King from Emergent Research, Carsten Foertsch from Deskmag, and James Rankin from The Instant Group had a roundtable discussion where they nerded out on coworking data. We, as an industry, need more data collection, more studies and more insights. I’m glad to have these guys at the helm.
5. GCUC Diversity
The GCUC crowd is getting more diverse. Slowly…but it’s happening. I connected with people from Nigeria, Cuba, Puerto Rico and more. I’d love to see accessible coworking around the world. I’d also love to have storytellers and community builders from all the different communities gather at GCUC to problem-solve, connect, and further the coworking movement. I’m pleased to see this starting to happen.
Related: The GCUC Pride rainbow t-shirt was a nice nod to diverse, inclusive communities. The team planted a flag (pun intended) about the coworking movement’s celebration of diversity, inclusion, and being who you are. After an unfortunate experience with homophobia in the movement last year, it was a small, but powerful gesture.
4. Getting Real About What Matters Most
GCUC producer Liz Elam got real about the potential of community to save lives, and the importance of prioritizing connection and mental wellness in our workspaces. It was brave and inspiring. When people get real about tough topics it transforms moments and lives. Our vulnerability is our strength—it’s what connects us. When we’re brave enough to be who we are, we create space for magical things to happen.
3. Women to Watch
A peak moment of the week was watching The Riveter founder, Amy Nelson, who (deservedly) gets a ton of press and attention, listen intently to my homegirls Angel Kwiatkowski, Ashley Proctor from Creative Blueprint, and Iris Kavanagh drop all kinds of knowledge gleaned from their 30+ years of collective coworking experience. It was moving, thought-provoking and, at times, hilarious.
2. Coworking Alliances are Alive and Well
The GCUC unconference session on alliances was fantastic. I’m pleased to find that the collaboration-over-competition model is alive and well in coworking. If you’re not in an alliance, join one! If you don’t have one in your area, start one! At last count, three new alliances were formed at this GCUC. One of the legacy alliances, Denver Coworks, raised the bar for everyone with their gorgeous Coworking Passport. If you’re interested in learning more, hit up Craig Baute from Creative Density.
1. Women Who Cowork has Arrived
The Women Who Cowork mansion, where I spent the week living in community with a bunch of amazing women, was an absolute dream. It’s hard to put into words just how wonderful the experience was. I had soul time with some of my soul sisters; I deepened connections with people who are now treasured friends; I met movement newbies who blew me away with their insights and awesomeness; we ate great food together; we dug into business challenges together; we laughed our asses off; we walked and rideshared all around Denver together; we stayed up late; we got up early; we may have even shed a few tears.
It was magical. As my girl Dana Berggren from The Coop said, “I’ll never stay anywhere else.” I agree wholeheartedly. Between the retreats, the online community, the beautiful vision to transform how we work and connect, and this new cohousing experience, Women Who Cowork—led by Laura Shook Guzman and Iris Kavanagh—is poised to make a real impact on the coworking movement. I’m thrilled to be an ally and collaborator.
Bonus Moments: Friendship Rules
One evening I found myself chatting with Allwork.space writer and editor Ceci Amador on a Denver rooftop, surrounded by a gorgeous sky and people playing a rousing game of cornhole. As a writer and content creator, I’ve worked with Ceci for years, but we rarely get to see each other in real life. What a pleasure to be able to chat at length with her about writing, editing, our families, book projects and coworking.
Prior to that, I had a fantastic chat with coworking insider Jessica Knapp about her native New Zealand, the stories of coworking, and where this is all going.
The following morning I talked about coworking in churches and sacred resistance with Daryn DeZengotita from Table Coworking and one of her Denver-based spiritual community-building friends.
All-in-all, there were more brilliant chats and connections than I can list here. This is what GCUC does best: create space for the coworking movement to continue to grow and co.
Community. Is. Everything.
What were your top GCUC moments? Leave a comment below or email me.
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