I’ve been self employed for several years now.
I have a pretty unconventional career path: I studied law in University, then I worked with horses (don’t ask..) for a decade, so my office was in the grassy fields of Normandy before moving to Ireland. Then I became a holistic therapist (don’t ask either), spending my time doing massages, reflexology, energy healing… so my office was then in a cosy treatment room with candles, dim light and essential oils. Then I became an intuitive coach and stress management trainer, and my office relocated to hotel lobbies, coffee shops, home behind my computer on zoom, or regularly in conference rooms for my stress management group workshops. Then I decided I wanted to start going into companies. To go “hunt” for the people I felt I needed to help, stressed people, in their “natural habitat” 😉
But I’d never worked in corporate. And I felt very intimidated about it. I’d never really put a foot in a “real” office and it was giving me a taste of imposter syndrom. So last year, I decided to try the closest thing to a corporate environment that I could think of, and I joined a co-working space.
I jumped on a membership promotion advertised for Talent Garden, TAG for short, in North Dublin. Easy to drive to, easy to park, easy to like: friendly welcoming staff, nice enough affordable food, cool interior design.
I was really weird at first. Sitting at a hot desk overlooking a wide room full of computer screens supervised by their dedicated geeks. Maybe not yet “typical corporate”, but the closest I’d been to experience what in my head was a “normal” workplace.
It felt very alien at first, but I got used to it. TAGers are friendly you see, that helps. And they organise lots of parties. That helps too. But not only that, they also spoil their members with networking opportunities and professional and personal development events.
And that’s how I ended up going to this workshop for women professionals “You are remarkable”. Machaela, TAG’s awesome community manager, had highly recommended it, and had been praising the event facilitator, Magda.
I remember that day very well for 2 reasons. The first one: because we had all met in the coffee area first, where I must have magically turned into a very powerful French magnet, and had managed to bump into three of my fellow citizens in less than the 5 minutes it took to go up to the workshop room… among these three, 2 of them were actually about to attend the workshop as well, and one of them was actually, Nathalie Moyano, unbeknownst to me then, one of the founders of WomenCo.
The second reason why I remember that day very well is because I’d had insomnia the night before and I could really feel that my neurons weren’t the most fiery they’d ever been which is why it took me so bloody long to connect the dots about Magda, our host and the community she’d created with Nathalie.
Indeed, on that day I learnt that Magda and Nathalie were co-founders of the “Women who co-work” meetup group. I talked to both of them, I learnt about what they do… and that whole time at the back of my head there was a vague sense of familiarity.
But it’s only once I was back in my car hours later that my brain kicked back in, and I realised that it wasn’t the first time I’d met them: Couple of years ago, as my very first business coach was drilling in me the principles of networking, I was making a point to attend as many meetups and social events as I could, to train myself to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people. And in the process I had attended a Women-who-co-work dinner. It was even, I believe their Christmas party that year. I might have still been a little shy then, but I clearly remember leaving the dinner with the firm intention to join the group for a day time event in the coming year but… turns out I never did.
Fast forward 2 years, and it’s WomenCo who crossed my path again. I ended up meeting Magda and Nathalie on a regular basis on the floors of Talent Garden and even spending another Christmas party, at TAG this time.
I knew of their ideas and projects to diversify activities for the Women who co-work community, we even had planned to spend a co-working day together in the Wicklow area where Nathalie used to live. Sadly our plans were compromised by the covid crisis and the lockdown.
But that was without counting on the resilience of these amazing ladies who, with their other team members, Francy and Ola, beautifully transformed this challenge in opportunity. WomenCo made a very successful virtual adaptation. They certainly don’t let a computer screen get in the way of coffee mornings every Monday, cocktail parties, and a monthly full day of co-working, with chat room for networking, and workshops for personal and professional development. I’m honoured to have participated in the first edition by sharing insights on stress management.
The adventure is on-going now. I have to say I have found in this community unconditional support, a wealth of resources, and a network of inspiring women all passionate about what they do and how to do it better. Long-life to WomenCo, online and (soon again I hope) offline.
Connect with Julie
Julie Pône is a stress management trainer and soul-level career coach. She works with professionals who are stressed, stuck, unfulfilled in their jobs, are losing their mojo in their business or going through a bit of an existential crisis. She assists their soul-searching journey so they can efficiently align what they do in their career with who they are as a soul.