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Meet Melissa Williamson of Collective Impact Center in Normal Heights

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Williamson.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Melissa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur before I could even spell the word, heck sometimes I can’t even spell it correctly now. But seriously, I’ve always had these out of the box creative “what if” moments since I was a child. Art, books, learning and asking people the hard questions was something I just naturally gravitated towards. I tried my best to conform, did the whole wife, stay at home mom, corporate job thing and well eventually retired from all three. It wasn’t for a lack of love or desire it’s just what happened, and so I reinvented myself and went back to what I knew. I started volunteering in the art community and with non-profits. I also began my consulting business with a focus on health and wellness and this really cool thing they decided to call social entrepreneurship. It just so happened all of this was packaged nicely and neatly in one single deal at a start-up co-working community in Normal Heights. The founders were looking for a fresh face of leadership, creative branding, and community building. If you believe in the power of manifestation, I am almost certain that is how I became the CEO of the CIC because two years ago when I was looking to reenter the workforce I wrote in my art journal that I wanted to find a job that supported the arts in the non-profit sector, along with a social and environmental focus. Now here I am a year later surrounded by an amazing member community of artists, nonprofit professionals, and social entrepreneurs.

Has it been a smooth road?
The question “Has it been a smooth road?”. If I could describe this journey I would equate it to a high chemistry romance where you’re so attracted to your partner, yet simultaneously terrified of the potential downfalls. There have been challenges, such as the bubble of self-doubt that forms and that feeling of loneliness that follows because not everyone is able to see the big picture of your end goal. There are learning curves of course; gathering data points in terms of marketing strategies, having to be creative while working with lean resources, volunteer recruitment, logo designs and my newfound love of excel spreadsheets. But my most recent earned skilled set is facility maintenance and building codes. I have learned so much about building repairs in the last year I get so excited when I go to the hardware store now.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Collective Impact Center story. Tell us more about it.
The Collective Impact Center is a co-working community for artists, social entrepreneurs, and non-profit professionals. Our founders believe in the water cooler effect, that an organic collaboration and community would build itself when these business sectors where given a physical space to work alongside one another. We hope to attract members that are not only value aligned with our mission but with one another. That’s our specialty, building a community. We want our members to come here because they feel like they belong to something beyond themselves, knowing that their collaborative efforts are encouraged to help them feel comfortable enough to be themselves and grow in their business. To be completely honest, I am incredibly proud of our members for the work they do in their own businesses and their genuine want to help build out the Collective Impact Center. Curating the right balance of each type of business in the membership base is very important to our co-working ecosystem functioning correctly and thus far it is! Our membership roster is full of active change agents doing good things in the community, from saving the oceans, providing food, resources, medical services at little to no cost to the homeless and refugees, bringing art education and awareness to our city, making solar energy available to non-profit facilities, providing equal opportunities of educational experiences to children, healing through trauma informed yoga, business development workshops and real conversations through storytelling events. Our members values and contributions is an on-going list and something I’m incredibly honored to be able to support.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The co-working industry should stay pretty stabilized if not expand or the next 5-7 years, repurposing space, and communal space is so cost-efficient. In addition, technology has made remote working so much easier; co-working centers have been a fairly common service overseas for some time now. Larger corporations are also seeing the cost benefits of allowing their employees to work remotely, as well as incentivizing performance by promoting employees into remote workers. Conscious consumerism and self awareness in regards to environmental impact is also on the rise so as a society we are already looking for alternatives to  reduce traffic and work closer to home rather than commute to headquarters. As for the Collective Impact Center, we’d like to be successful at this first location and branch out and have a network membership model for multiple locations. Gotta dream big!

Pricing:

  • Shared desk memberships range from $55 – $111 a month
  • Private Office memberships range from $350 – $800 a month
  • Private events & Conference Rooms range from $20/hr or $140 a day

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
IMS Photography, Keoni Cabral

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