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11 Inspiring Coworking Influencers You Should Be Following
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11 Inspiring Coworking Influencers You Should Be Following

K

Kristin Savage
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In any industry, influencers are the trendsetters for the rest to follow. They help the industry to grow by setting standards that serve as limits. Their experiences serve us as guidelines and their recommendations can help us choose the right path. If you are in the coworking industry or hoping to venture into coworking business, following influencers can help you get a better insight into the field.

Currently, there are nearly

18,700 coworking spaces around the globe and this number is growing daily. By 2025, it is expected to reach nearly26,000. What this means for flexible workspace providers is that it can be harder to compete for the loyalty of the coworking communities. With the guidance of seasoned business owners who have reached success and stability in the industry, you will get first-hand tips on how to make the most out of the situation.

Here is a list of influencers whose inspiring stories are a good reason for you to be following their journey.

 
1. Jerome Chang

Jerome Chang coworking business influencer

Jerome is a pioneer of the coworking industry. The Harvard School of Design graduate designed and founded the first coworking space in Southern California BLANKSPACES in 2007. He was also the host of one of the first gatherings of coworking operators back in 2011. This was followed by the creation of the League of Extraordinary Coworking Spaces and COSHARE.co. Co-founded by Jerome Chang in 2011, LExC.co somehow remains the only global network of coworking spaces, now including about 100 locations from 30 brands.

Jerome now runs BLANKSPACES, works as an architect and coworking consultant. He understands the needs of creatives and ambition-driven individuals which is why his insight can be just what you need.

Here’s one of Jerome’s advice to less experienced operators in an interview on andcards blog:

This might sound biased, but I’m often astounded by so many operators who don’t focus enough on their #1 start-up expense, their build out, and their #1 recurring expense, their space rent. I would simply never tackle a business or project where I didn’t know a ton about the biggest item in the project, just like I would never endeavor to start a software company.

For 2022, focus on flexibility: flexible pricing, flexible plans, flexible offerings. Then change them again.

Jerome Chang on LinkedIn

2. Jamie Russo

Jamie Russo coworking business influencer

As CEO at the Global Workspace Association (GWA), Jamie is responsible for the organization and execution of strategies. The GWA is a platform for all the discussion and information about shared workspaces and workspace operators across the globe.

She launched two coworking spaces under the Everspace Coworking brand so we can say that she definitely knows what she’s talking about. It should also be mentioned that Jamie is the President of League of Extraordinary Coworking Spaces (LEXC.)

If you want to hear some advice and learn about current trends directly from Jamie, head to Everything Coworking and listen to her podcasts. Whether you want to find out more about coworking, invest in a coworking space, or start one, her experiences can be very valuable.

Jamie Russo on LinkedIn

3. Liz Elam

Liz Elam coworking industry influencer

If you are looking for advice from the leading experts in the industry you should turn to Liz Elam. She heads the largest coworking conference in the world Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC). Besides being the executive producer of GCUC, she is also the founder of Link Coworking and partner at Deco Group.

The proof of her level of expertise in coworking is that her coworking research has been in numerous prestigious publications including Harvard Business Review. Liz travels the world, speaks with professionals from various niches and shares with us the evolution of the coworking industry. She is very respected among entrepreneurs and members of coworking communities.

Liz Elam on LinkedIn

Estelle Leotard, a freelance writer at Writescout, said:

If I would have to name one role model from the coworking industry I would have to say that it is Liz Elam. I set a goal for myself that I have to meet her since my dream is to open a coworking space one day.

4. Carsten Foertsch

Carsten Foertsch coworking industry influencer

Carsten Foertsch is a social scientist, founder, and editor at Deskmag, the publication about coworking, its people and spaces. Here you can find articles highlighting all aspects of coworking business—interior design, operation, and improvement.

Carsten studied political science, sociology, and geography in Berlin. He worked as a research associate in an institute for social science studies with a particular focus on urban and regional development as well as the labor market.

Carsten has been running Deskmag—the longest-running online magazine about the new type of work and their places, how they look, how they function, how they could be improved and how we work in them.

For more than ten years he has been conducting the Global Coworking Survey that offers the most comprehensive statistics about coworking.

Carsten Foertsch on LinkedIn

5. Craig Baute

Craig Baute coworking industry influencer

Aspiring to spread the coworking movement, Craig developed different tools and programs which encourage remote working and cooperation between small businesses. He is a coworking consultant with over 10 years of experience.

His involvement in coworking started from his belief that “coworking can have it's the biggest impact in small and medium-sized cities across the US." Craig has an important role in the expansion of the coworking community and he is “working every day to expand its reach.”

Being a coworking consultant and innovator aren’t his only trades. He is also the owner of Creative Density and DenSwap.

Marie Fincher, a freelance writer at Subjecto and Studyker and active member of the coworking community, said that she respects and values Baute’s opinion for years.

I have learned so much from Craig Baute. He gives realistic and practical advice that both freelancers and startup owners can benefit from, — shared Marie.

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6. Nicole Vasquez

Nicole Vasquez coworking industry influencer

She is the founder of Shift and co-founder at Deskpass and Second Shift. Nicole made the list of “35 Under 35 Making an Impact in Chicago.” But that’s not all. The 46th Ward Innovator Award and the RedEye Chicago Big Idea Award for Community went into Nicole’s hands.

She travels to Europe to speak about owning coworking spaces, entrepreneurship, and building collaborative communities. This sharp-minded, successful woman can be a role model for anyone who wants to understand the power of coworking spaces and succeed in the competitive world.

As Nicole explained, she advocates for coworking spaces because she believes that a certain kind of magic occurs when people of all different backgrounds come together to share information and ideas: they experience the power of perspective.

Nicole Vasquez on LinkedIn

7. Hector Kolonas

Hector Kolonas coworking industry influencer

Now here is an example of an entrepreneur with a passion for helping others. Hector launched Included.co because he believes in the immense impact that coworking communities make every single day. It is further explained how these communities not only provide a physical space to work from but also the emotional, business and peer support that has enabled entrepreneurship to grow across 1000s of cities, towns and rural villages.

Included.co supports over 600 participating communities around the world. By providing access to shared insights, Hector wants to help businesses to find the best solutions on the market.

Hector is also a co-founder of Syncaroo.com, a platform that keeps flex workspace listings, widgets, brokers, pricing, inventory and bookings in sync. He knows everything about technology and automation at coworking spaces and generously shares his expertise in the interview for andcards.

As with any tech advice, the right answer is always “it depends”, followed by questions like “what kinds of products/offerings do you sell?” and “what repetitive tasks could get messed up or exhausting? After all, everything comes down to the Hospitality layer and being able to better serve members more efficiently. — says Hector

Hector Kolonas on LinkedIn

8. Heidi Butzine

Heidi Butzine coworking business influencer

Heidi’s story is truly inspiring and can motivate you to become the person you want to be. In 2010, she quit the corporate and started working from home, managing to launch three online businesses, write multiple books, and produce business workshops and conferences. The only thing that she’d been missing at that time is the networking possibilities. That gave her the idea to start Social Workplace.

Social Workplace is a coworking, office and meeting space that offers entrepreneurs and freelancers a chance to network and establish important connections. Besides being the owner of Social Workspace, Heidi is a Chief Marketing Strategist and Owner of digital marketing agency Localista Media.

Heidi Butzine on LinkedIn

9. Jean-Yves Huwart

Jean-Yves Huwart coworking industry influencer

In 2009, Jean-Yves founded SocialWorksplaces.com. The consultancy company is focused on innovations and new working models. The growth of the firm has motivated the founders to start hosting annual coworking conferences on different continents. These conferences are the Social Workplace Conference and Coworking Europe, Africa, India, and the Middle East.

Over the long weekend, leading influencers and entrepreneurs gather to take part in networking events, listen to talks by experts, and seize the opportunity to explore the city’s coworking spaces. Thanks to progressive minds like Jean’s who have established the conferences, coworking operators and entrepreneurs can use these events to connect and learn from the best.

Jean-Yves Huwart on LinkedIn

10. Marc Navarro

Marc Navarro

Marc Navarro is a coworking and organization consultant. He helps companies create more productive work environments that facilitate employee satisfaction and better performance.

Marc gives expert advice on everything related to coworking spaces, from launching the project to space design, sales policy, and administration. He works in close proximity with private and public corporations to add value and incite collaboration among individual entrepreneurs.

Mark is a speaker, content curator, and writer. He travels a lot from city to city, from one coworking project to another, and joins many field conferences and events along the way.

Marc Navarro on LinkedIn

11. Jeannine van der Linden

Jeannine van der Linden is founder and manager, chief cook and bottle washer of de Kamer, a network of coworking spaces in the Netherlands. She is also Managing Partner of Open Coworking, a global movement dedicated to the values of Collaboration, Openness, Community, Accessibility, and Sustainability, and is Director of Sustainability and Accessibility for its partner, the European Coworking Assembly.

She is a proud and active member of the Axschat community, an open online community of individuals dedicated to creating an inclusive world.

Jeannine van der Linden on LinkedIn

Final Thoughts

It wasn’t easy to single out ten coworking influencers but these are the people whose actions can inspire you to do something great. Everything they’ve achieved was because of their persistence and belief in the coworking movement. The coworking industry is growing and becoming stronger than ever which means that this is the best time to make the most of it.


The article was written by Kristin Savage who nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she works as a freelance writer at TopEssayWriting and ClassyEssay.

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