The Coworking Balance With Iris Kavanagh

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Hello everyone! We have a special guest with us today. We have Iris Kavanagh founder of Coworking with Iris and co-founder of Women Who Cowork. 

Iris will be talking about how to achieve and maintain balance in a coworking community. She also talks about the importance of the coworking values in maintaining that balance and what makes a community strong and thrive.

How do you maintain a community balance?

A consistent one with respect to consistent internet consistent environment, and not having not being evicted, I guess, as it were. And I understood, there was a lot of I think, back in the early days, there’s a lot of tension around the business model versus a cooperative model. 

And I really did understand that tension having grown up in the cooperative movement of businesses. And I, you know, I believe strongly and cooperatively run businesses. And also at the end of the day, when it comes to humans, there does need to be a decision-maker often in a situation and sometimes, you know, systems can be set up so well that a consensus-based decision is one that can be arrived at. 

But oftentimes as communities come and go and have flux. The original principles, unfortunately, can get lost along the way, so that you do end up in a situation where you do have to have a decision-maker, and that decision-maker is often the person who is able to keep the business in mind and hopefully in the case of Coworking also keep the community in mind because it is, you know, the, I believe that the sustainability of the model around coworking is that constant dance that constant balance on the sense of community and business. 

And what’s good for one is, is definitely good for the other in Coworking, but sometimes you can push the balance a little too far in either direction.


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Bernie J. Mitchell 0:03  

Welcome to coworking values the podcast of the European coworking assembly. Each week we deep dive into one of the values of accessibility community openness, collaboration, and sustainability.

Bernie J. Mitchell 0:14  

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the possibly the most special episode of the Coworking values podcast ever. And I got the Irish Kavanagh on the phone from Santa Cruz.

Irish Kavanagh 0:30  

Yes, Santa Cruz, California,

Bernie J. Mitchell 0:33  

That sound so cool. So, Iris, what are you known for? What do you what would you like to be known for?

Irish Kavanagh 0:39  

Oh, I’m what am I known for? I guess I am probably known for my hiring skills in Coworking and I’m probably you know my history with next phase for me, kind of going back to some somewhat of the beginning of the Coworking movement and what I’d like to be known for honestly is making people feel comfortable and having you know really comfortable and open conversations and sharing of ideas.

Bernie J. Mitchell 1:21  

I think you’ve made people feel very comfortable. So, Iris and I, Kat Johnson’s content sprint group, Kat, Johnson’s the other person who does content marketing in the world. And we bring it you bring a really genuinely open flavours to that group. And how do you think you do that?

Irish Kavanagh 1:45

By really, just by being myself, I think I made a commitment to myself about five years ago that I am moving forward in my life, I was at sort of a crossroads and moving forward in my life. I was going to be 100% me I was going to bring my full self to the table for the first time in my life, and there’s very different aspects of myself so, I, I try to really live that. And I think that that’s probably why I you know, I’m not afraid to be vulnerable, I guess or maybe I am afraid to be vulnerable, but I do it anyway.

Bernie J. Mitchell 2:23  

So, with what you just said, I’m going to couple that to the, because I can’t find a good way to link it. It’s like, you know, we’re going to talk about the Coworking values today. And one of the reasons I want to, like, chew the fact over that with you is, I feel you feel you’re one of the people in the world that is like, wildly deeply committed to them, but also has a business head on them. So, my first question would be like, Where did your business head evolve from?

Irish Kavanagh 2:55  

Well, I’d say that the business had part of me it’s probably been the slowest to evolve, or I should say the slowest to grow. But I think with respect to coworking, you know, I was introduced to coworking through a company that was doing coworking in a, in a from a business model perspective. And so, I saw pretty early on the importance of having you know, uncovering the talk about sustainability, but we don’t always talk about sustainability from a kind of business bottom line perspective. And so I think I was, it was pretty easy for me to see that it was important to have a sound business practice behind coworking if you want to be able to keep your doors open, and keep you know, the experience for your members.

Irish Kavanagh 3:50

 A consistent one with respect to consistent internet consistent environment, and not having not being evicted, I guess, as it were. And I understood, there was a lot of I think, back in the early days, there’s a lot of tension around the business model versus a cooperative model. And I really did understand that tension having grown up in the cooperative movement of businesses. And I, you know, I believe strongly and cooperatively run businesses. And also at the end of the day, when it comes to humans, there does need to be a decision maker often in a situation and sometimes, you know, systems can be set up so well that a consensus based decision is one that can be arrived at. But often times as communities come and go and have flux. The original principles, unfortunately, can get lost along the way, so that you do end up in a situation where you do have to have a decision maker, and that decision maker is often the person who is able to keep the business in mind and hopefully in the case of Coworking also keep the community in mind because it is, you know, the, I believe that the sustainability of the model around coworking is that constant dance that constant balance on the sense of community and business. And what’s good for one is, is definitely good for the other in Coworking, but sometimes you can push the balance a little too far in either direction.

Bernie J. Mitchell 5:29  

In that word community gets flopped to death. And I’m, I’ve been in several spaces where the community’s been, you know, like amazing, and that’s the main reason to show up because the desk is like rubbish by the community is great, but, the spaces have done best but how often to say this without sounding like a crack record, like there’s the like you said earlier, there’s this on forever, this ever lost intention of around the world community and always feel and just correct me if you don’t like it is, the more real estate he places on community and have money and more community spaces want the money but have community and it is very hard to get that, like you said, you know, balance in there.

Irish Kavanagh 6:20  

Yeah. And I think that with, you know, community is a buzzword that’s you hear it everywhere, right? We have community and, in all forms, or all sectors of business these days are many forms and sectors. And I think for me at the at the base level, a community is really about relationships, and it’s really about one relationship at a time. And the kind of nexus of all of those individual relationships come together and then have a relationship to that community. So if you are not able to put relationships in the forefront of your business model, and the way that you make your decision is not based on those, the stakeholders within that relationship, then it becomes much more difficult to have community be sort of your true experience that you’re offering in your space.

Bernie J. Mitchell 7:29  

So, it sounds like if you have, like trust is the is the main thing in business, which people accidentally sacrifice for the sale sometimes. And I think more than ever, like it’s, you know, the relationships are really important. But if you try and like Fast Track your community, you end up just being a transaction, even though you’re all in the same building together. And that’s what I’m trying to say very bad. Is that, you know, that’s like the maturity of understanding how to run a business will give you that relationship. Trust secret sauce thing. Does that sound right?

Irish Kavanagh 8:13  

Yeah, absolutely, and that can be so difficult. If you start your space off without having, you know, any type of community to begin with. I’m not saying that you can’t develop a community. But if your goal is to develop a sustainable business, meaning that you’re meeting your benchmarks and in terms of your financial game, it can be difficult to serve, so to speak, both masters the money and the desire to build an authentic community. So, I don’t think you can say enough good things. It’s about building those relationships, from the very, very beginning, hopefully you have them before you even decide you want to open a coworking space. But if you don’t, and you’re listening to this right now and you’re working on your spreadsheets and you’re looking at furniture and you’re touring building.

Irish Kavanagh 9:19

 Don’t forget to also start finding your people because it’s you, and it’s your people who are going to fill that space in the beginning, and it’s people filling the space that draw more people into the space. And if you leave, you’re at what we would call marketing and coworking, which is really relationship building to the last minute or two, your grand opening. You are going to be faced with the decision down the line if you’re, you know, if you have to meet certain financial benchmarks to stay open, where somebody raises a red flag and you’re going to have to have you know, just Do I take a hit a financial hit? Or do I have this person in the space and more often than not, if a person raises a red flag on a tour or when you first meet them, the problem is only going to get worse in a community setting and it’s much better to understand. You know, your gut and hear your gut and listen to it about that person, potentially not being the right fit than it is to take a chance on that and have them infiltrate your community in a really negative way. And I think that’s where in coworking the maturity, kind of comes in is understanding that it really is a marathon. You know, when you’re building a business, based on impact, whether it be impact on one person’s lives or impact on 200 persons lives or the lives of a whole district of your city. God is a long game. It’s not there’s not a quick win scenario in that situation. 

Bernie J. Mitchell 11:01  

So that’s like community and sustainability. And I’m going to continue that thread you just left off with. So, what can you riff on like the openness and the accessibility and collaboration bit? Like whichever one whichever one grabs you first?

Irish Kavanagh 11:18  

Yeah. Well, accessibility grabs me first, for a couple of reasons.

Irish Kavanagh 11:26  

You know, I loved to be I live in a smaller town. Not that not a small town, but a smaller city in the San Francisco Bay Area. And I live in a pretty walkable city or bikeable City. So, my coworking space is very accessible to my community. I can bike there, I can walk there, you know, of course, I can drive and park there. And so, I love that in the 10 and a half years That I’ve been going there. There have been many ways that I’ve accessed that space. I, you know, and, and many ways that I’ve accessed the route including being driven on crutches, which was my probably my least favourite way. But so I think of accessibility in that way I also think of accessibility in terms of the neighbourhood itself, what is what is the what’s accessible near my coworking space and living in a small town or a smallish city I you know, we’re lucky in that our coworking space can be located in the downtown corridor and still be in this have this neighbourhood Lee feel around it. So, what’s accessible for us is shops and restaurants and movie theatres and you know, a couple of pubs or places to have a drink with friends after work, the post office local running pads soccer fields, bike paths.

Irish Kavanagh 13:05

So we have an opportunity to have our coworking space be almost like a community centre, like a hub, and oftentimes, I will be downtown on the weekend with my kids, and we’ll need a restroom to use a clean restroom, and so we’ll just tuck in the next space to use the facilities because I know that they’re clean, and they’re warm and you know, the kids can hang out while somebody uses the bathroom. And I will often see other families in there doing the same thing or, you know, somebody comes in for a lunch date and they decide to show their, their, their parents who are visiting in town or whatever their office space. And I love how accessible that feels. It feels like it’s more than just, you know, your typical office, right?  I don’t know how many people are so excited about their office space, you know, in a in a kind of more traditional office that they will show people on the weekend, what it’s like or visiting from out of And then finally, I think it’s important also to look at accessibility. Of course, from the physical accessibility, how accessible is the furniture, how easy is it for the humans to determine what the furniture, what use, they’re going to put that furniture to that day.

Irish Kavanagh 14:17

 I really like to set a design up so that it can be moved and used by the humans and the way that the humans in the room at the time feel is the best or meets their needs at the moment. And I think having the space be accessible in that way is important. It’s also important that your space be accessible to multiple different communities. And if you at least to me in a community based space, I want to know that you know that there’s opportunities for different people for the well employed and or, you know, high earning consultant or start-up Team, well-funded start-up team, you know, who can afford really high end office in a coworking space? And also, you know, maybe if I’m the woman in her kitchen, who’s starting out her kitchen-based business, you know, maybe she makes tamales. And she sells those to her neighbours and at the local farmers market, but you know, what would make that space accessible to her as well. And so, I feel like that is a really important part of the accessibility conversation with respect to diversity and inclusion, and really making sure that our internal communities reflect our external communities.

Bernie J. Mitchell 15:42  

That’s a huge thing. This, can you say? I’ve been trying to get this in a long can you say a little bit about women in CO work because, you know, I’ve tried to get men who co work going but it hasn’t really got the traction that you got. How do you do that?

Irish Kavanagh 16:00  

We’re rooting for you, Bernie. We would love to see him in your cobot group that really supports within of the movement. So, yeah, so women who cowork was formed when my partner Laura shook Guzman, and I met, she had for International Coworking day in 2016. She was feeling lonely as a female operator, and female founder. And she’d been doing it a long time. You know, she’s the, she’s the first wellness space in the world, but also the first coworking space in Texas. And so she’d been doing it for a long time, but you know, she didn’t necessarily know, she wanted to be able to reach out to other female founders who could understand just from a female perspective, you know, running a coworking business, and so she decided to go and reach out to them and couldn’t figure out where to find them. And she was like, Oh, well then, I’m going to write up a blog article about the female founders of the movement and I wonder where I can find them. So she went on to, you know, a couple different of our repositories of information on coworking and she checked out def mag timeline and there was no information out there about the female owners, even though you know, the movement has been largely female led with the people actually owning these spaces. 

Unknown speaker 17:34

And so, and in fact, you know, on destiny timeline, the only female mentioned was Ashley Proctor and Co hip, which is definitely something dimension and a huge, amazing gifts to the people of Canada and hopefully eventually to the world. And at the same time, you know, the term coworking was coined at a feminist collective In San Francisco, so it was just like this kind of juxtaposition to what women had represented in the movement. So, she decided that, you know, she wanted to write the blog post and we met through the recruitment of information around female founders for that blog post and I wanted to interview her for my podcast. I had been at the time really starting to understand that female entrepreneurs have different needs. And that they’re, you know, there could be an effort towards assisting the female entrepreneurs of the Coworking movement, just like there were efforts within coworking spaces in providing programming towards female entrepreneurs in general. And being a woman and having just gone through a pretty big transition in my life. where, you know, I was I found myself transitioning from an employee of a coworking company to a consultant I’m going through a lot of changes around that. I was looking at what my life was like, in being a female, and the kind of needs that I had. And, you know, being a mom and the difference for me in what it took to make something happen than one of my, my male counterparts that, you know, I that had the support and the services of a fan.

Bernie J. Mitchell 19:25  

What are those? Just you need to spell out for some people, but what are those differences? Because, as you’re talking, I’m thinking of the Nike athlete who, she’s an American athlete, African American athlete, and she made this very cool video which I’ll put in the show notes. And she said, you know, if you’re a male athlete, you get this and if you’re a female athlete, your sponsorship contract gets, you know, stopped or terminated when you go and have a baby. And obviously, while you’re pregnant, I’ll be running and probably we’ll find out who is for this, but, you know, this is this is a Huge difference to how the world treats and occurs for, you know, women and men running businesses. And can you elaborate on that a little bit?

Irish Kavanagh 20:10  

Yeah. So, you know, the thing is Bernie, as you and I both know is that there’s a lot of soft things. So, there’s some insidious things as well, but there’s a lot of soft things, and it’s just, it’s hard to really pinpoint it. And that’s Unfortunately, the problem with institutionalised inequality is that because it’s institutionalised, we don’t even recognise that it’s that there’s something wrong with it until it really gets becomes apparent to us. But some of the things are just in how we’re raised as people as human beings. Men are raised to take risks, and to and encouraged to take risks and it’s biologically in a man’s nature to take a risk. And women are generally speaking raised to be conservative too, to be calculating to think about what it is that we’re doing and how it affects everyone around us, and be risk adverse, because being risky  as a female means that you’re risking the health of your family and the future of a generation or the future of a species. So just let them bury kind of base level of the differences between what’s offered to men and women. When it becomes when it comes to being an entrepreneur risk is a really important factor in whether or not you are successful as an entrepreneur, being willing to take a risk being willing to step out and do something without having a known and shore safety net is a hallmark of them, all of the good entrepreneurs out there.

Irish Kavanagh 21:49  

In addition, you know, I’ll just go out and say the world of business was built by men, and it was built for men and Men operate masculine people operate from a very, you know, from one set of kind of values or one set of, frankly biological drives. And you know that if you if you look into the research the male brain and the female brain are wired differently the male brain is wired to be much more mono focused. And there’s obviously we all know the biological reasons for that. And mono focus is how the business world was created, the female brain is wired to be much more connected our nerves are right in the centre of our brain, our nerve bundle there is bigger and it connects more parts of our brain. So our brain is less compartmentalise which means that we see connections, which means that we’re much more about relationships, and when you look at the world of business, you know, and sort of the old business tenets of leave home at home and business at the office and don’t mix the two or you know, just Don’t allow your emotions to affect your business and things like that.

Irish Kavanagh 23:05

Those are ways that that women and our female, female people in the world operate differently. We operate from a space of emotions, and I’m not talking about negative versus positive emotions. I just mean from emotions. our emotions do drive us, because and frankly, they do all humans for chemical beings, but so, we also operate from a relational standpoint, women tend to think of the entire unit, the entire village or the entire family structure, when we make decisions. And if you’re a single woman, that often translates to the people around you that are in your tighter in your circle. And so just from a decision-making perspective, the world of business was developed in a way that we don’t necessarily feel comfortable being part of it. And so, I’m going to go way down the rabbit hole here, but you know what the feminist movement did was it allowed us to step into the world of business. However, it required us to let go of our feminine principle , in order to do so we had to step into masculine principles, which, you know, each one of us carries the masculine and feminine within us at all times. And we operate from masculine and our feminine in any given moment, depending on what’s more dominant within us.

Irish Kavanagh 23:26

 However, the world of business requires and women joining the world of business requires that the majority of women step into their masculine and step out of the feminine and so what we’re doing with women who co work is really embracing the feminine, embracing the values that women bring to the table, which are of connectedness, of collaboration, of inclusivity and have a sense of the whole being the important and not just the individual. So, Laura. And I like to talk about, you know, the five core values of Coworking are actually really feminine values, and they’re not the values that you typically see in the business world. So, for us, we really feel excited that what about women who co work is able to provide the women of the movement, a place to say, hey, it’s okay to be 100% yourself here, as a female. If you’re a mom, and you’re running a business and a family, and you’ve got you’re trying to balance all of that, we get you. We’re here for you. We see you and everything you’re doing all day. If you’re not, you know, if that’s not the world that you walk in, you’re, you know, you’re nonetheless a female in this world. And you have unique circumstances to overcome in the world of business. A lot of times in business, women don’t feel like we can speak up in a room full of men, because our ideas might be shot down stupid or trivial or our points might be seen as defensive. I recently attended a conference and Lisa Lange, the founder and CEO, she works , the former Wall Street investor as well as an Olympic gold medallist and she’s now helping women get access to funding in the valley in Silicon Valley, which is where I live. And she threw out some facts and unfortunately, I didn’t get to percentages completely, but she said 66% of the time that a woman is pitching her business.

Irish Kavanagh 26:38  

To a panel of investors, she’s asked preventative questions and about 70% of the time and that’s the figure that I didn’t get. But I believe that it was close to 70% of the time a man is asked promotional question. So, what ends up happening is if the woman is after preventative question, then she to talk about like, you know, how are you going to handle this threat in the business in the business sector? What are you going to do about this company that’s coming up doing the same thing you’re going to do? So she has to answer in a defensive way, just to provide a defensive answer, whereas the man being asked promotional questions, he’s able to provide a context or an answer, which is in a context of what he’s going to do to grow paper and how he’s going to be moving forward in his business in a positive way. So he’s seen as forward thinking, so if you think about that, just the way that women and men are asked questions determines how we’re actually seen around our business and around our understanding of our business, by society or by the people within that society that’s asking us those questions.

Bernie J. Mitchell 27:55  

So, in the data, how do we conduct ourselves day to day in a coworking space. Because, in that section, there is a lot of things that just come up a lot for us nowadays. And, you know, we have our inclusion, diversity little project going on in European coworking assembly and this is the Facebook group and one of the things that comes out is that, you know, people, a lot of the communication around a coworking spaces, you know, nice white men programming computers, and when I asked, you know anything about coworking, they say, What’s that for? And they all say, Oh, it’s for like start-up kids, like Mark Zuckerberg, you know, that’s the, what’s the word like world, lazy world view of what’s going on? But then, like, you know, particularly in London, you know, spaces are wildly diverse things. And one of my concerns, which is what I meant to start with, is that, you know, when people don’t see themselves in the communications and the website, and You know, pictures and stuff? I would not, you know, I’m a white guy and I’d be very reluctant to go into one of those white male pizza eating programming stopping things because I just don’t feel like I fit there you know, I wouldn’t feel comfortable there but no one probably be nasty to me. But um I would I feel out of place and what how what can we do differently in our communication? all day today is what I mean not communication. Sorry, I sounded like I was asking you for a marketing strategy.

Irish Kavanagh 29:41  

Yeah, this is such a big topic. I think that I think that the most important thing to be is respectful. And so, if you’re talking to somebody and, you want to you want to ask them a question or you want to engage them in a conversation. The first measure of respect is just to make sure that they’re open to that if a moment, you know, we have the sort of heads down policy and coworking the headphones are on, you know, that person isn’t open to being talked to at that time. So just kind of those common basic courtesies, I think are a good place to start. And then to build on that is your question. One that you would ask, you know, if you’re a male, and you’re asking a female a question, is that a question that you would ask them to their male about their business? Or is that a question that you would ask them about the activity that you’re asking them about? You know, let’s say you’re both runners and you want to ask a question about runners. And if it’s not, then is it one that you would ask your mom or your sister and I mean, I don’t mean to bring it back to that. But I do think it’s important there has to be a baseline, you sort of have to have a filter through which you filter your conversations. And my hope is that someday, we don’t need any of these filters because someday, you know, we will have healed this divide that we have between genders in our culture.

Irish Kavanagh 31:22

 However, we all recognise that this time right now in history is a time where things are in flux and sort of the dust has been shut shaken , not sure if that’s the right term, the right use of the term, but you know, the carpet has been shaken and the dust is still settling and you know, with the me to movement, and the time’s up movement, and just in general women saying hey, you know, this is happening to us and this is a systemic issue and we do need to handle it. It during this time, we are all figuring things out together and rearranging things In a way that everybody has a seat at the table. So, I think having a, make it you know, having that check that that internal check for yourself is what I’m doing coming from a place of respect. And if that is a yes, then you know, the next level is you know, personal space and everybody has a different idea of what they appreciate as for personal space, and some people need more personal space than others. So, if you’re not sure, on the side of more personal space, is what I’d say if you’re somebody who you know, is a touchy feely kind of person and you like to get up close to people probably need to check that if you’re working out of a coworking space, until you really know all of the people in your space are comfortable with you in terms of making it just in terms of making spaces safe For everybody, I think it’s important that community manner managers receive training on how to handle inappropriate actions between members. And that includes the community manager receiving training on how to handle an inappropriate action against them by a member because we have these sorts of major grey area in terms of human resource law in in Coworking spaces. And so, all employers should give their team members the opportunity and the right to defend themselves. And if there is, you know, the codes of conduct that we’re you know, that the Coworking world is working on and getting in place in our spaces should include a clause really that says that somebody will you know, that these are the expectations at all time, a violation of effective lactation will be result in immediate termination. And that a community manager is given both the autonomy and the empowerment, to be able to speak up on their own behalf if something goes wrong and know that there’s a policy or written policy in place that everybody’s signed, that if something does go wrong, that person, that community manager is going to be protected in that situation.

Bernie J. Mitchell 34:31  

In some way,  I know about what you just said that but there’s obviously there’s more nowadays but there’s a lot of places that I’ve that’s been like a new idea for there is still  a bit of the kind of, you know, wild west, uncharted territory thing and coworking spaces and a bit about, you know, that I can when you’re in a shared workspace, and something you know, particularly in a sort of sexual misconduct inappropriate action thing happens. It’s very, very unclear who is, you know, the employer or the employee or you know, there’s an element of like deep dive in it now because we do it on another podcast somewhere. But that is that is something people have to be alert to want to want to like, jump on quickly to collaboration, because I think we’ve touched on a lot of collaborative points, but like when, when someone in the context of it’s a coworking value, what does collaboration mean for you, Irish

Irish Kavanagh 35:33  

I love collaboration. I love that it’s a coworking value, and of course, it’s a coworking value. So, collaboration means kind of several different things to me, but at the core of it. That really means the sharing of ideas and the ability to share those ideas in an open Inviting way in an open and inviting space. And one of the, you know, kind of my favourite coworking moments, I guess you could say is that moment where, you know, you see three or four different members or a group of members who, you know, are individuals in the space, but they have come together to work on either a problem that one of the members are trying to solve, or a project all of them together. And I just find that so exciting because, you know, we’ve created that container. We haven’t prescribed anything to that container, but we have created the opportunity for people to come together and work together in that way. I also see collaboration as being between the business owner and the member, and I racked my brain and I really can’t think of another business model, that you’re literally co creating your product. alongside your customer in the same way that coworking does and, you know, you can point to software, iterative software, or Staff software a as a model. But that’s but that’s not in person, you know, software companies can pump out software and then receive feedback and new feature requests and then pump out the next version based on their customer requests. But it’s not something that’s on the daily in in person in the way that it is in a coworking space.

Irish Kavanagh 37:32

 So, you’re really collaboratively creating your business model alongside your members. And if you’re listening to this podcast and just starting out, or just considering opening a coworking space, just know that that you know some of the kind of most important things that you’ll do, or important mindsets that you’ll have in Coworking is flexibility and being flexible knowing that you’re going to set your business model up is important but also knowing That your business model might pivot a couple times along the way, depending on what your who your community is and how they show up and what they might need. And then I also love the aspect of collaboration with the larger community, so for instance, in my town, the Coworking space was started by the economic development director and the mayor of the town, and that meant that there was immediately opportunities for collaboration with the local city government with the local university system, and that was a pretty exciting thing for us in the early days of our coworking space being in our town, because there wasn’t a lot of kind of collaboration happening at the time. And the city and the university didn’t really like each other very much, and it was right after the financial crash of 2008. And so, as the economy was rebuilding, that collaboration that we were able to develop between city and the university and the Coworking space became a foundation of a real what’s now a thriving local economy.

Irish Kavanagh 39:15

And then finally, I love the fact that the ethos of Coworking is an ethos that I follow in general in life, which is, you know, the rising tide lifts all boats, it’s this idea of an abundance mindset. And I love that, you know, you can walk into a coworking space and spot five different graphic designers and they all have their own specialties. And they’re not competing with each other, they’re not in there, and maybe they are competing against some of the same, you know, RFPs or bids that are out there. But in general, they’re more likely to collaborate and they are to compete in a coworking space. And when you take that to the external relationships that coworking spaces can have with each other I see that as a win for everybody because the more than a coworking space, there’s multiple coworking spaces in town can collaborate, the more they have to offer their group of members, the more marketing opportunities they have, just in general, if you’ve got the collaboration inside the space, having that collaboration be how you operate. And you know the idea of Co Op petition being how you operate within the external coworking community is just as valuable.

Bernie J. Mitchell 40:32  

As I think this I get the feeling because we both been in conversations where people are talking about alliances the certainly here in London in the last year the London coworking assembly has a few of us have been trying for ages to get people together, and suddenly everyone particularly independent coworking spaces, whether they’re independent on one office spaces or independent iron, three or four spaces are starting to like want to be with each other which is an I don’t know what it is, or whether it’s just a few people around us, but the openness to collaboration is, is moving fast. And is there um, is there anything you particularly like us to draw attention to? Because I can put a link in the show notes to women who co work, which is epic, and I just I’ve watched that grow. It’s like two years now, or is it? Is it less than that?

Irish Kavanagh 41:26  

We launched in April, we officially launched in April of 2017. So yeah, it’s a little over two years now.

Bernie J. Mitchell 41:34  

So that’s, that’s really important work. And where can wait where’s the best place to find Iris online and get in touch with you and tap into your talents?

Irish Kavanagh 41:45  

Yeah, you can find me on Twitter at Iris Kavanagh. And Kavanagh spelled Kavanagh. And you can also find me online at coworking

Bernie J. Mitchell 42:01  

Brilliant. So, thank you very much for your time. Thank you, speech impediment. So, thank you very much for your time today. I really, you know, I know it’s, I’ve got to let people know that it’s like, three o’clock in the afternoon here in London. And it’s what time is it where you are?

Irish Kavanagh 42:16  

I’m 6:57am. 

Bernie J. Mitchell 42:19  

Look at that commitment to the course. Okay, thank you very much, everyone, go to to sign up for email list, get in touch with all our other shows. And we’re going to go through a little bit of a rebirth at the moment, because lots happen for everyone who works on this podcast project. And we just had to step away from the package as we say, and now we’re all getting back into the package. So be patient with us and thank you for your loyalty over the years. Thank you very much everyone. Be careful out there it is a jungle. 

Bernie J. Mitchell 42:58  

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Transcribed by  Otter.

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