personal-profiles

3 Nonprofit Friends Join Forces to Shine

Working late into the night at the same nonprofit organization, Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi soon became close friends, making happy hour plans and confiding in each other about matters that others might find delicate or overly personal—from credit scores, to how to ask for a raise, to the struggle with “how to not suppress my personality, which I like,” says Hirabayashi, “but also be taken seriously and not be seen as bubbly and young.”

“We gave each other really tactical advice that also wasn’t cheesy, and it felt very empathetic,” says Lidey. “There wasn’t a voice like that out there at scale, and we definitely heard that from our friends, too.”

So when the DoSomething.org colleagues started talking about their own venture together, it’s no surprise that they thought back on the advice they had shared. What if they could offer that same service to other women? Career and life coaching with the same “accessibility and vulnerability” they had with each other?

3-nonprofit-friends-join-forces-to-shine2

“There’s nothing that comes at you directly in the morning that feels like a friend, that sounds like the way your friends talk about, just, the real shit,” says Hirabayashi.

In August 2015, everything finally clicked.

“What about using what we’re good at, what we’ve done for the past four years at DoSomething, which is really focusing on text messaging?” recalls Lidey. “What about a daily text?”

3-nonprofit-friends-join-forces-to-shine3

Their brand would target millennial women, like themselves, but could benefit anybody looking for a little guidance and positivity in their day-to-day life. Known as Shine, it sends users a motivational quote or GIF to their phone every morning at 8:30 AM and encourages them to set goals for the week. There’s also an advice section on the website with articles designed to help further boost users’ confidence.

And they’re reaching beyond their initial target audience. To date, the team has exchanged over 7 million messages with users. Shine’s users are about 70 percent female, and 88 percent are 35 and under.

In April, a good friend, Jonathan Uy, from DoSomething.org, joined the co-founders. The former mobile technical lead at DoSomething.org is now Shine’s chief technology officer.

“These past four months have been the most productive four months I’ve ever had,” says Uy. “It’s cool that I really do get to have a hand in all these things. It’s a feeling that I haven’t had before, where you just sort of directly and concretely see how much of an impact you have on the company that you’re working in. Every single thing that we do has just a weight to it. It’s a really nice feeling. Like the things that you’re doing are significant.”

Based out of Brooklyn’s WeWork Dumbo Heights, the Shine trio laughs wildly when they’re together, and for a company just over a year old, they make starting a business look effortless.

3-nonprofit-friends-join-forces-to-shine4

“I think it helps that we’re friends and we’re obsessed with each other,” says Lidey. “We also have a genuine respect for each other and respect for each other’s niche areas. And we also share a lot of areas—there’s a lot of great foundation to work off of that we’ve built over the past four years, like not even meaning to necessarily.”

Hirabayashi agrees, adding that on “Self-Care Saturdays”—a rare day to recharge—“ I love biking. And I love wine. And I love hanging out with Marah and Uy.”

Photos: Lauren Kallen

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestGoogle+
how-to-guides

Music Legend Shep Gordon: ‘Don’t Stress Out If the Cannon Doesn’t Work’

The legendary music industry insider Shep Gordon has been described as a “one-man history of cool.” The minute you meet him, you realize that they weren’t talking about the velvet rope kind of cool, where only a select few are allowed to enter. He’s the kind of chill guy who’s incredibly generous with his time.

Music manager Seth Kallen found this out when he nervously asked Gordon to meet him for a cup of coffee when he and his wife were visiting Hawaii. Gordon’s two-word reply? “Aloha. Sure.”

music-legend-shep-gordon-dont-stress-out-if-the-cannon-doesnt-work7

That eventually led to an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner at Gordon’s house in Maui. The two have remained close to this day, so it makes sense that Kallen, founder of the artist management company This Fiction, would interview Gordon for the release of his memoir They Call Me Supermensch. They chatted a little about the book, and a lot about Gordon’s life, at a stand-room-only event at WeWork Times Square.

Working as manager, agent, and producer for some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry—think Blondie, Alice Cooper, and Teddy Pendergrass—Gordon acknowledges that the music business is just that: a business. But he disagrees that it has to be a cutthroat environment.

music-legend-shep-gordon-dont-stress-out-if-the-cannon-doesnt-work3

Gordon had several pieces of advice for those starting out in the music business—or any business, really.

Don’t stress out if the cannon doesn’t work. One of Gordon’s earliest publicity stunts was shooting rocker Alice Cooper out of a cannon. Cooper was supposed to slip out through a trapdoor, have a dummy propelled through the air, and appear unscathed on the other side of the stage. The dummy only made it about a foot, ruining the trick. Gordon had to resort to plan B, then plan C. “So the cannon worked, the cannon didn’t work—it doesn’t matter,” says Gordon. “I was a young man who didn’t know what he was doing. I hadn’t thought through all the consequences. You live and learn.”

Push forward, even if the see-through clothes fog up. And then there was the time Gordon hit on the brilliant idea of having Cooper get arrested for wearing see-through clothes. They fogged up immediately, making them not at all risqué. The cops wouldn’t go along with the publicity stunt. “Anyone who’s been in a creative field understands rejection,” says Gordon. “It’s a business of rejecting. It’s very rare that an artist isn’t rejected hundreds of times before being accepted. I try to really encourage my artists to embrace the rejection. Every rejection is a step closer to acceptance.”

music-legend-shep-gordon-dont-stress-out-if-the-cannon-doesnt-work4

Treat people kindly, even the jerks. “Being around his holiness the Dalai Lama, I saw how he’s always look at a person and sees the miracle first,” says Gordon. “You can’t change the jerks. You can’t let the jerks win. But you can feel sorry for them and illuminate them along the way.”

Gordon says he realized early on in his decades-long career that he “never really had to hurt anybody to make a living.”

“I stayed with clients for 20 or 30 years and never had a contract,” says Gordon. “The most selfish thing is to be good to everybody. It pays you back.”

Photos: Lauren Kallen

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestGoogle+
how-to-guides

Open for Business: 4 Entrepreneurs Transform Their Offices into Showrooms

Sali Christeson and Eleanor Turner have been eyeing a specific space at WeWork SOMA for months. Just off the building’s newly renovated lobby, it isn’t your typical work environment. But they don’t intend it to be typical.

Christeson and Turner, who together founded Argent, a San Francisco-based women’s workwear company, gave up their previous space at WeWork California St. to take advantage of this sunny space that’s clearly visible from the street. They’ll use it for their office, of course. But they also envision turning it into a makeshift showroom.

“We expect to get a lot of foot traffic,” says Christeson, “especially those who don’t normally get exposure to coworking spaces.”

The space will be open to the public, drawing in passersby by with cool window installations and racks holding the latest styles.

open-for-business-4-entrepreneurs-transform-their-offices-into-showrooms2

“We’ll be creative in the way we display things,” says Turner. “We love to be playful with the old concept of office space—maybe bring back the nostalgia from the old office environment like using cubicles.”

A growing number of WeWork members are utilizing their glass-walled offices as showrooms and bringing clients into a completely interactive and immersive retail experience.

Take the fashion and lifestyle brand Becken, which has a space in New York’s WeWork Meatpacking. Laura Siegel, president of the company, chose the third-floor office near the elevators because it has a high level of visibility. Through the glass walls, people can view her most recent clothing collections hanging on portable racks above sturdy wooden shelving units. They’re hoping to evoke a sense of accessibility and comfort, says Siegel.

“Our building is one of the smallest, which we like for its intimacy and warmth,” says Siegel. “People love to come by to touch and feel the collection. In fact, we’re hoping to expand into the space next to us so our collection is even more visible when you step off the elevator.”

open-for-business-4-entrepreneurs-transform-their-offices-into-showrooms3

Siegel doesn’t plan on stopping there. In the future, she wants to set up showrooms in other WeWork office spaces as she expands her line of clothing and network of business contacts.

Another WeWork member who proudly refashioned her office into a showroom is WeWork Williamsburg member Olivia White. She says her company, 41 Winks, uses its products—colorful, patterned throw blankets and other items—to jazz up the mood. Visitors often come in and touch the fabrics and even drape it over themselves.

“Working at our desk wrapped in our cozy blankets has definitely been a topic of conversation,” says White, the company’s CEO and creative director. “Some have purchased our blankets as a result of stopping by our office, and others have been inspired to bring their own from home to create a comfy home at the office.”

In years past, 41 Winks has utilized common areas in WeWork West Broadway as extensions of their showroom at holiday markets and trunk shows.

“Getting to witness potential customers feel the quality of our product and see the exact, vibrant colors in person was well worth it,” says White. “It’s certainly something we’re looking to do again.”

open-for-business-4-entrepreneurs-transform-their-offices-into-showrooms4

Other WeWork members intentionally give their space a welcoming atmosphere. Semihandmade, a Los Angeles-based custom furniture maker with WeWork offices in Brooklyn Heights, Times Square, and Grant Park, lets other members use their showroom space to relax and hold meetings when it’s not otherwise occupied.

“We’re making new and well-connected friends every day,” says John McDonald, CEO of Semihandmade, who expanded his business to WeWork Pasadena this summer. “Part of how we’re able to do that is by having our spaces feel more like a lounge than an office. We also keep them permanently unlocked for other members to relax in or use for meetings whenever we’re not there.”

McDonald says he plans to upgrade to a bigger space in Pasadena and move into WeWork spaces in San Francisco and Seattle by the end of the year.

open-for-business-4-entrepreneurs-transform-their-offices-into-showrooms5

With endless ways to transform an office into a showroom, WeWork’s members continue to find innovative ways to design their space.

“We want to look at ways we can make this pop-up office hybrid flexible and work in different types of spaces,” Christeson says. “We’re paying attention to see if any traffic will convert to WeWork memberships, which will add value to everyone who touches it.”

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestGoogle+
personal-profiles

Rock the Vote and WeWork Make Registering Super Simple

If you type in “how to register to vote,” Google returns a neatly organized chart with all the information you need to register and vote in your state. The information on where to vote and who’s on your ballot are the handiwork of Jen Tolentino, who has been working in public policy and voting efforts for nearly a decade.

But Tolentino wanted to move “from a passive role to promoting the information and pushing it towards people.” So she joined the staff at Rock the Vote, which has been focusing its efforts on getting young people registered to vote and out to the polls since 1990.

Today is National Voter Registration Day: a day to organize momentum across the entire county. And it’s a day Tolentino, Rock the Vote’s director of civic tech and policy, has been eagerly anticipating.

Tolentino says having one day where Rock the Vote and its partners—including WeWork, Twitter, Tinder, and Virgin America—can push registration with a unified voice has been “super impactful.” Besides these partners, Tolentino is really excited about joining with MTV to revamp the show Total Request Live to Total Registration Live.

“Young people are going to be the most diverse voting bloc,” the WeWork Culver City member says. “Making them feel like they are empowered to change their country is really, really important.”

rock-the-vote-and-wework-make-registering-super-simple2

Voting is more than getting to the polls, says Tolentino. It “helps young people identify as a voter and feel like a part of the process,” she says. “It’s part of who they are and who they want to be as an informed citizen.”

This focus on young people isn’t new for Tolentino, who is a millennial herself. She’s volunteered with the youth organization For Love of Children, where she “saw so many young people who did not understand how to fully navigate the process of being an adult.”

Tolentino says one young woman she mentored wanted to vote when she turned 18, but she didn’t understand the process.

“I’m so glad she asked me,” Tolentino says. “It made me realize how many young people don’t have someone to ask these questions to, or anyone to even ask them if they will vote. It was really exciting to help walk through the process and see her view registering as part of what it means to be an adult.”

Today’s youngest voting demographic is of utmost importance to the entire Rock the Vote crew. Multiple studies have shown that if people start voting at a young age, they will almost always vote.

rock-the-vote-and-wework-make-registering-super-simple3

What issues interest young voters? According to the USA Today polling Rock the Vote has done, “the top issue is consistently the economy, because young people are still facing a lot of hardship. The recovery has happened, but young people went to college, have a ton of debt, and may be marginally employed.”

In order to get young people registered, Rock the Vote has created some great tools. Tolentino is proud of her company for having helped pioneer online voter registration. Today, 31 states, plus Washington, D.C., allow online voter registration. Rock the Vote and WeWork have partnered to create a tool at we.co/vote that will direct the user to those systems if they are eligible. If not, it walks them through the federal voter registration form, provides a PDF with all of the most important information, and gives the mailing address for the user’s local election office.

This form, available in 13 different languages, is more than the federal government itself has available. Rock the Vote also focuses on helping students decide where to register to vote—at their campus address, at home, or wherever—and walks them through the relevant processes once the user has determined where they’d like to register.

But the best thing about the Rock the Vote tools?

“They even work on mobile,” says Tolentino. “You can register right from your phone!”

For more information on the elections happening in your area, check out the Rock the Vote Election Center. To register yourself, head to we.co/vote on your smartphone or computer.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestGoogle+
how-to-guides

9 Traits High-Achieving People Have in Common

“Success” is a tricky word to define. Some equate it with wealth, ambition, or simply getting out of bed every morning. Regardless of how people define their own success, the entrepreneurs we spoke with share the common value that it’s tied with giving rather than receiving.

Below, nine WeWork members reveal the top trait for success that they’ve seen in high-achieving people and how it aligns with their personal mission of being a successful entrepreneur.

Question: What are consistent qualities or traits you’ve seen in successful people, and why is that an essential characteristic of an entrepreneur? 

Not afraid of failure

They are not afraid to fail and actually view it as part of success. They have separated themselves from failure, and they let failures go, taking that lesson and using it to their advantage the next time. Too often people are afraid of failure. Fear is something that not only will not hurt them, but will help them if they use it the right way.

Persistence to never give up

Successful people look at failures and problems as opportunities to learn and invent new solutions. Unsuccessful people see problems as reasons to give up and quit.

Humility and modesty

Because a big ego and inflated self-opinion can lead to really poor and potentially dangerous decision-making.

Quick to learn

The ability to quickly grasp the essence of different fields, be it engineering, growth, hiring or legal. It takes time and practice to be a specialist, but it's possible to understand the underlying logic of how most things work in the span of a conversation.

Ability to listen

Those who listen respond to situations, not react. They are continually learning and understanding that wisdom is everywhere, especially in unexpected places.

Passionate and socially aware

You need to be passionate and socially aware in what you’re doing. Then you work out a business plan on how to realize this passion. And hopefully you have somebody from the beginning sharing your passion and vision that wants to be a part of your journey.

Happiness and values align

It’s one thing to be successful. It's another to be successful and happy. Successful people who are fulfilled by their work and life really know themselves and how to live their values.

Ability to be genuine

We are all human, and some of the most successful people I know allow themselves to be comfortable showing the genuine side of them. It allows for more transparent communication and authentic relationships.

Good at multitasking

We work quickly at InterQ. Our projects are fast-paced and there are a lot of moving parts, so I really value team members who can work efficiently and figure things out on their own without a lot of coaching. I'm a big fan of being efficient.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestGoogle+