In honor of National Women’s Day, we sat down with 3 of our female residents here at CenterSpace to talk about their careers, passions, and why they choose CenterSpace Coworking as their place to work and conduct their business.
Meet Laura Kilpatrick
Art Director of Fearworm Hauntvertising, CenterSpace Resident Spooky Gal, and All-Around Bad-Ass.
Hi Laura, It’s always lovely to chat with you. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions. Can you tell us a bit about what you do?
Sure! I am a graphic designer by trade, but I currently Art Direct for FearWorm, the haunted attraction industry’s first and largest full-service marketing agency. My days are usually filled with creative direction, copywriting, high-level marketing concepts, email marketing, social media marketing, or graphic design. I travel a bit for work, also. We have haunted attraction clients across the country! This means I get to fly in for photo and video shoots. It’s really the most magical job a halloween and advertising lover like me could ask for!
Did you always want to work in Art and Graphic Design?
Early on, I always had a fascination with commercials and marketing materials. I remember looking at ads and thinking I wanted to work in advertising someday. I discovered my love for graphic design a bit by accident. I worked in property management in my twenties, and part of a Leasing Agent’s job is designing flyers. I made some of my first flyer designs in Microsoft Word, and I realized I really enjoyed designing them. I researched that field and found an art college soon after, and the rest is history!
What is most important to you when choosing a workspace?
Workspaces for me have to be several things: artistically inspiring, supportive of hyper-focus, and professional. I also am a big fan of people, so it is wonderful when you have a few around you that either do what you do, or are good to strike up a conversation with every once in a while. You never know where that inspiration you need is going to come from!
What advice would you give to young women thinking about a career in graphic design?
I am a big fan of research. Start with researching design principles. They are very easy to learn! Once you start with the basics of design and color theories, it’s just experience and repetition that will help guide you to that next level! If you see a design that catches your eye, snap a picture of it and ask yourself, “Why?” Visual Communications are not hard to unpack once you understand the basics!
Meet Melissa Flick
Co-founder and Vice Chairwoman of The Nourish Collective
Melissa, we are really excited to chat with you about The Nourish Collective. Can you tell us about your involvement with the organization?
The Nourish Collective began in December of 1999 when me and my best friend Angela Adams were sewing pajama pants for Christmas. As we sewed–and cursed, we dreamed about ways to make a difference in the lives of other women. By 3:00am we found ourselves with one pair of pajama pants with a leg attached inside out and one pair with the fly sewn shut. The best product to come out of that night was an index card with scribbled plans of a nonprofit surrounding one single, legible word in capital letters: NOURISH
Fast forward to Winter 2002, when we began what we affectionately refer to as “The Big Soap” project. Starting with a $0 budget, we successfully obtained over $250,000 in donations-in-kind to build the World’s Largest Bar of Soap and turn it into a community event to increase awareness of scleroderma, an autoimmune disease that claimed the life of my mother, Starr Johnson, and to raise money for scleroderma research. Over 8 tons of blue “Ocean-Mist” scented soap later, we had one important realization. If people are willing to give time and money to help two hippies build a big blue soap, then Nourish can be a reality. The Nourish Collective was official when we gained our 501c3.
Currently, We are making and helping to distribute feminine hygiene kits to women and girls, teaching menstrual healthcare and soap making, as well as collecting essential donations to continue these initiatives where we've previously taught. Our group, Sew Dignified, makes the kits!
Sew Dignified is currently holding their monthly “Sew-In” events at CenterSpace, can you tell us a bit about what that is?
A Sew-In is a local, monthly gathering where our Sew Dignified volunteers get together to sew and pack reusable feminine hygiene kits. These kits are distributed along with education on menstruation to girls in developing countries. These kits last over 3 years and are vital to keeping girls in school. Without them, because they lack supplies to help manage their monthly cycle and typically are unable to attend school. They are forced to free bleed, sit on cardboard, or use leaves and mud to manage their cycle.
How has hosting your events at CenterSpace helped with your cause?
We have been so grateful for the donation of time and space at CenterSpace. Our team originally met at various volunteer homes, rotating to different areas of the metroplex. As we grew and had more volunteers, we quickly realized we need a larger, more central location to meet at. Because of the long tables, with outlets all around, CenterSpace is a perfect set up for our team. We can get all of the sewing machines going and also use the long table in the conference room to spread out and cut fabric. It is a great workspace and plenty of room for us to get some serious work done. Had it not been for CenterSpace, I truly believe we would not have been able to get as many kits completed as we did this past year. We can’t wait to see how many we can get done working in Center Space this year!
How can others get involved with The Nourish Collective?
We have so many ways that folks can get involved. If you don't sew, you can host a fabric drive or a panty party. You can come to a sew-in and iron, count, pack or fold. You can dye washcloths or cut out period cycle trackers. We even have a remote sewist kit for those that cant attend. Folks from across the country even sew parts of the kit and ship them to us to assemble.
Meet Alysha Vandergriff
CenterSpace Community Manager, Marketing Director, and Freelance Digital Designer
No Women of CenterSpace Interview would be complete without hearing from our community manager. Can you tell us a little bit about your history here and what you do?
Sure! I have been working with Brian and Chris since pretty much day one. We met at an Open Coffee Club meetup and they needed some help getting their social media off the ground, maintaining their website, and scheduling networking events. I worked at a different coworking space in the area back in 2016/2017 and when they found out that I was no longer with that company, they scooped me up pretty quickly.
I am a freelance digital designer by trade. I do everything from branding to UX/UI to web development. I office out of CenterSpace and since I am already here all of the time, the guys asked me to help out with managing the community while they work to expand our locations.
What are some of the challenges of being a freelancer?
Oh man, what a question. Everything? Haha. Most people think that freelancers get to float by, watch Netflix all day, and do whatever they want. Truth is, I am constantly working. Since I don’t actually punch a time clock, the biggest challenge is learning to step away and practice self-care so that I don’t become overwhelmed and burnt out.
And the benefits?
There are those as well. I am basically my own boss, so when I need a break or a vacation, I get to decide when I want to take it and for how long. I get to have a lot of creative freedom and can pretty much pick and choose the projects that I want to take on. If something doesn’t seem like a good fit or isn’t going to help me grow as an artist or business person, I can politely decline.
What makes CenterSpace stand out among other local coworking spaces?
I’ve visited a lot of coworking spaces and as I mentioned earlier, even worked for a few. The community that Brian and Chris have built here is outstanding. The space is cozy and well-maintained. It doesn’t feel like a sterile corporate office environment. The members are friendly and welcoming, and the location here in Downtown Arlington is perfect for walking to grab a cup of coffee or lunch if so inclined. I’ve gained a lot of clients and made a lot of friends here. Everyone is constantly networking, coming up with ideas, and helping each other grow their businesses.
If someone was interested in becoming a CenterSpace member, what membership levels do you offer and what is the process for signing up?
We offer everything from part-time memberships to office rental. There are day-pass and punch card options if you just need to drop in every so often and we also have dedicated desks if you want to claim one as your own. You can schedule an appointment to tour the space on our website or you can sign up online and drop by Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm.