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    Building an Offline Community

    In the words of Grind’s very own Anthony Marinos, “For so long work has been the place where people transform into someone or something else that is a misrepresentation of who they really are.” Grind is working hard to transform this notion and our Director of Sales and Marketing, Anthony Marinos, recently sat down with the good people of Medium to explain how. Check out his interview below!

    What is Grind and how are you unique as a coworking space? 

    We’re a members-only collaborative workspace and coworking community with two locations in New York, one in Chicago, and more on the way in the very near future. We’re unique for a lot of different reasons including the professional diversity of our members (we’re not just tech like most spaces), our modern, open design, and our focus on gender balance among our Grindists. If I had to choose one though, it would be our staff and the customer service we provide on a daily basis. Grind is as much a hospitality company as it is a workspace provider.

    How important is community in a coworking space? Is it still a coworking space if there aren’t community elements?

    As our cofounder Benjamin Dyett often states, ‘No one is paying us for just a desk and a chair. If that was all we were offering, our spaces would be empty.’ Grind was built for entrepreneurs and free radicals who would rather work in a community than a company. It’s our lifeblood. As for spaces that don’t provide any community elements? They should never be categorized as coworking. They’re just traditional offices or executive suites. Cue the boring music.

    Anthony Marinos, otherwise known as "The Position Formerly Known as Sales and Marketing"

    What is your on-boarding experience like for new members?

    Our on-boarding experience is very hands on. For example, when a new member comes in for the first time, we meet with them to learn more about their business, which types of professionals they’d like to be connected to, what they’d like to get out of Grind, etc. We then take that information and immediately connect them to relevant members of the community. This often results in collaborations, partnerships, and, in some cases, new businesses altogether. It’s also a great way to provide the new member with familiar faces at Grind instantaneously.

    How do you build relationships and nurture collaboration between coworkers?

    Collaboration is naturally engrained within the overall Grind experience due to our focus on open, communal space. We also host several social events, including something called Grindist Show & Tell, that help members build relationships with each other. Our team is often connecting members directly as part of our hands on approach as well.

    Grind doesn’t use online instant messaging services — what was the rationale behind this approach?

    We don’t want members hiding behind avatars or screen names. To us, it’s all about the in-person meetings and conversations. That’s one of the main reasons people join the space. They want to get off their living room couches and out of the coffee shops. They want to be around like-minded people, who they can talk to directly about their business or even about their weekend plans. Face-to-face interactions are simply irreplaceable.

    What are your tips for building an offline community?

    My number one tip for building an ‘offline’ community is to be yourself and encourage others to do the same. I know that sounds silly or in some cases obvious, but it’s true.  For so long work has been the place where people transform into someone or something else that is a misrepresentation of who they really are. I’ve always found this to be unhealthy and ineffective. How are you supposed to make a genuine connection with another person if you’re not being yourself? It’s impossible.

    How do you measure the health and happiness of the community?

    Our number one priority is the health and happiness of our members. We have a constant feedback loop with the community thanks in large part to our proactive staff, and this helps us ensure that we’re delivering on our promise. Receiving personal thank you notes from members or hearing them speak fondly about their experience are nice reminders that we must be doing something right.

    Read the original article here!

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    Life Cycle of an Entrepreneur–Fifth Installment!

    Our Life Cycle of an Entrepreneur series is nearing its end, but we’re rounding it out with an awesome fifth installment!  This week, our topic of conversation will be Raising Capital and Budgeting Cash Flow.  Micaela Brown of the Minority Report will moderate our panel of experts.  Get your free tickets here and read on to find out more about our fabulous final panelists. 

    Micaela Brown
    Micaela Brown knew she wasn’t the only go-getter in town. She created the “Minority Report” video series with the Chicago Sun-Times to showcase the city’s vibrant community of entrepreneurs and professionals of color. Micae also hosts the twice-a-month episodes, which feature business-minded interviews with guests as diverse as Chicago Treasurer Stephanie Neely, advertising executive Sherman Wright and media lawyer Daliah Saper.

    Along with her work on the “Minority Report,” Micae is an interactive account executive for the Sun-Times, where she creates advertising strategies for clients like Comcast, Macy’s and the Chicago White Sox.

    Micae is a Chicago native and graduate of DePaul University and the Sandler Sales Institute. When she’s not making connections for the Sun-Times, she’s taking care of her two Yorkshire terriers, Bentley and Studley, and planning her next travel adventure.

    Raising Capital Panel

    David Culver
    David is a serial entrepreneur who has launched, co-founded and invested in several fast growth companies and has ownership interest in a number of companies across several industries.

    He is the Co-Founder & Chief Collaboration Instigator of VentureSHOT – Chicago’s Business Incubator & Strategic Growth Program. The mission of VentureSHOT is support entrepreneurs to grow their revenues, scale their businesses and get funded. The VentureSHOT vision is growing sustainable and profitable businesses that entrepreneurs love to build and improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem in America. VentureSHOT also hosts a powerful series of events including the Funding Feeding Frenzy. This awesome event series brings together Entrepreneurs with the Angel Investor, VC, Private Equity and High Net Worth communities and all the resources an entrepreneur needs to be more successful.

    David is also the Co-Founder of Forward Momentum, LLC which owns several popular brands, including GnomeFrenzy.com. Forward Momentum produces custom products for major movie studios such as Lucas Films, other major customers in the entertainment & sports industries and major national charities.

    He is also the Co-Founder and CMO of Adventerra.net, an outdoor gear and apparel manufacturing company that is revolutionizing the way major outdoor sporting races and events are having their gear and apparel needs met. The brands ShiftSportswear.com and BenditCycling.com are two of the fastest growing sites in the Outdoor Gear and Apparel industry.

    Jennie Mott
    Jennie joined Accion as a Loan Officer in February 2013. Before coming to Accion, Jennie worked as an auditor of not-for-profits for a large national public accounting and consulting firm; during her time as an accountant, she earned her CPA designation in the state of Illinois. Jennie volunteers as a Spanish speaking tax preparer in Pilsen with Ladder Up each Spring and enjoys putting her business education to good use! She graduated from the University of Notre Dame, where she majored in Business Administration with a concentration in Accountancy and minored in Theology. After completing her undergraduate studies, she spent two and a half years in Honduras, working for a not-for-profit in both Trujillo and La Ceiba. She is fluent in Spanish.

    Gabe Beukinga
    Gabe Beukinga is a Senior Vice President and Team Leader for SomerCor 504. In his role as Senior Vice President, Gabe is the conduit for small businesses to secure the financial resources—through Small Business Administration lending programs—a company needs to grow and expand. SBA lending programs are available for companies to purchase (and develop) commercial real estate and equipment, among other things.

    In a relatively short period of time, Gabe has become one of the top SBA producers (loan officers) in Illinois and across the entire country. His creativity and tenacity have enabled him to provide dynamic solutions to a variety of business owners, from manufacturers to restaurant and entertainment entities to surgical care centers, to name just a few.

    Since joining SomerCor, Gabe has completed over 250 financial/loan transactions exceeding $500 hundred million dollars. Through these loan programs, companies have added thousands of jobs to the local economy.

    Budgeting Panel

    Jessica Smith
    Jessica Smith affectionately known by her clients and friends as “Smiti” is the CEO/President of Jessica Smith & Company, Inc, an accounting, tax and business consulting firm. Ms. Smith has over 20 years of experience in both accounting and tax which is a rare find in the accounting industry. She started a tax practice at the age of 19 while in college, preparing taxes for friends and family. Upon completion of her BA in Accounting at Roosevelt she became an assistant controller for a fortune 500 company at the young age 24.

    During her years in industry, she worked extensively with budgeting, profit planning and projections, operations analysis, as well as cost accounting, government and tax compliance for profit and non-profit organizations. She has worked for Fortune 500 companies such as ABC/Disney, Fox Television and Clear Channel. Ms. Smith has held positions of corporate controller, domestic and international tax preparer, Director of Finance and CFO, while continuing to maintain a tax and accounting practice for eleven years before venturing out on her own.

    In 2011 Jessica Smith & Company instituted a summer internship/apprentice program that provides accounting and tax training for advanced high school and college students with an interest in the field of accounting.

    Ms. Smith is extremely passionate about the education of our youth and the advancement of women, especially those in underserved communities. She volunteers with NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) and she is on the advisory board for The Black Women’s Expo Scholarship and Community Development Corporation and Future Founders Foundation where she has served as a volunteer for three years and has won the Champion Award for volunteer service two years in a row.  Ms. Smith is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, National Association of Enrolled Agents and National Association of Tax Preparers.

    Peter Liu
    Peter joined Pritzker Group Venture Capital in 2012 where he focuses on early- and growth-stage investments. Prior to joining Pritzker Group, Peter was with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a global investment banking firm, where he advised corporate clients in the consumer and retail industries on mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, and leveraged buyouts.

    Peter is the founder and Chairman of the Board of VentureUP, a Chicago-based professional network for VC investors. VentureUP works with leading VC firms, corporations, service providers, and universities to provide VentureUP members with professional training, networking opportunities, and career mentoring through online and offline resources.  He is also a mentor with Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a non-profit whose mission is to provide educational programs to inspire young people from low-income communities to stay in school, to recognize business opportunities, and to plan for successful futures.

    Peter graduated from The McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in commerce with concentrations in finance and management.

    Edward “Skip” Landon
    Senior executive with 20 years of finance, accounting, audit, and operational experience. Disciplined financial and operational problem solver and leader in an entrepreneurial environment. Experienced at raising both equity and debt and in acquisitions. Adept developer and manager of banking, legal and external audit and tax reporting relationships. Skilled at bankruptcy restructuring, development and implementation of internal controls, sales management, team building, and human resource management. 

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    It’s Friday…Need a Nap?

    We made it through the week!  And here at Grind, Friday afternoons mean one thing…power nap time!  Not sure if you’re in need of a midday snooze?  Sarah Klein of The Huffington Post is breaking it down for you….read on to find out if it’s time for you to recharge. 

    Read the original post here. 

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    Life Cycle of an Entrepreneur–4th Installment

    We’ve got an awesome fourth installment of our Life Cycle of an Entrepreneur series coming to Grind this Wednesday, July 16.  This time around, we’ll be focusing on the hot topic of real estate.  Micaela Brown of the Minority Report will moderate our panel of experts.  Get your free tickets here and read on to find out more about our amazing panelists. 

    Micaela Brown
    Micaela Brown knew she wasn’t the only go-getter in town. She created the “Minority Report” video series with the Chicago Sun-Times to showcase the city’s vibrant community of entrepreneurs and professionals of color. Micae also hosts the twice-a-month episodes, which feature business-minded interviews with guests as diverse as Chicago Treasurer Stephanie Neely, advertising executive Sherman Wright and media lawyer Daliah Saper.

    Along with her work on the “Minority Report,” Micae is an interactive account executive for the Sun-Times, where she creates advertising strategies for clients like Comcast, Macy’s and the Chicago White Sox.

    Micae is a Chicago native and graduate of DePaul University and the Sandler Sales Institute. When she’s not making connections for the Sun-Times, she’s taking care of her two Yorkshire terriers, Bentley and Studley, and planning her next travel adventure.

    Tim Ryan

    Benjamin Dyett
    Benjamin was a mild-mannered lawyer who woke up one day and, together with some partners, decided, Hey, let’s change the future of work.

    So, along with his friends, Stuart and Karina, and Co:, Cool Hunting, Behance, Magic + Might and Breakfast, he created Grind, a platform for working in a whole new way, outside the system. Built for free-range humans who carry their offices in their backpacks, Grind is the antidote to everything you knew about work. It’s dedicated to taking all of the frustrations of the old work experience and pulverizing them to a dust so fine it actually oils the wheels of the machine (sorry, old work experience, but you had it coming).

    Has three locations now : Grind Park is located at 29th and Park Avenue South in Manhattan, Grind Broadway at 39th and Broadway, and Grind LaSalle at 2 N. LaSalle in Chicago, IL.  Each space has 100+ workspaces—from desks you can crank at to couches you can lounge on to conference rooms you can kibitz in—and a lot of really big windows (light is good). Other Grind locations are in the works for Los Angeles, Washington DC and London.

    Throughout his career, Benjamin has founded, funded, operated and advised successful start-ups. He has long experience in real estate and corporate law, has represented financial institutions and prominent businesspeople, owned his own consulting firm, and has always been at the epicenter of where business and imagination meet.

    Jud Henry
    Jud has structured real estate transactions for publicly traded companies, not-for-profit organizations, privately held companies, law firms and technology start-ups. Prior to heading up EnTrust Tenant Advisors, Jud represented landlords and tenants throughout the Chicagoland area at both NAI Hiffman and CBRE.

    In 2009, he was named CBRE “Rookie of the Year” for the Oak Brook and Chicago Region. Over a period of 12 months, he completed 51 transactions totaling over 300,000 square feet. His extensive list of clients includes such blue-chip firms as GE, State Farm and Private Bank.

    Jud is a wannabe marathon runner, competitive sushi eater (45 pieces in one sitting), father of four and an avid fisher of sharks who once caught an 8 foot Blacktip (okay, it was actually 5 feet) in the teal blue of the Bahamas.

    Amy Mahjoory

    Aryn Shaw
    Aryn has been in the design and sales industry for over 15 years and has her degree in Interior Design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. She has experience with all elements of the desig field as well as a varied background consisting of Project Management, detailed reconfigures and working with architectural and signage details among many more. She has experience managing National corporate accounts while creating and maintaining client and vendor relationships. She has a passion for providing the best design solution.

    Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our next installment!

    Exit/Succession Planning - Wednesday August 6, 2014


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    Happy Birthday, Broadway!

    It’s hard to believe that our second location, Grind Broadway, is turning one today.   It’s been an unbelievable year for our Broadway baby and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for it.  A huge thank you to our amazing members for all of your support.  Here’s to many more years of coworking and collaboration!



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    Featured Grindist–Christine Mortensen

    We’re always excited to see what LaSalle Grindist Christine Mortensen is working on in the space, so we decided to sit down with her and find out where she gets her inspiration.  Check out her thoughts on coworking and creating a business below…and when you’re finished with that, check out her awesome company, Sprk’d!

    What made you decide that a coworking space was the best fit for you? Why Grind?
    I love being at Grind 3-4 days a week because I get to be in an professional setting when I want or when I need to (e.g., meetings). It’s like having co-workers on demand (and ones you actually like too!). There’s a really diverse network of business owners at Grind and it’s been incredibly helpful to bounce ideas of each other and exchange advice across industries. Everyone has been incredibly helpful and friendly, especially the community managers here. There have been a few occasions where I’ve had “one of those days” where nothing seems to work out in your favor and you just feel like throwing in the towel but coming back to the office and being greeted by the friendly faces at Grind reenergizes and has helped to snap me out of it and get back to business!

    What inspired you to found Sprk’d?
    I started out doing web design about ten years ago and while working at a few agencies I kept noticing that at each we were great at creating beautiful, user-focused websites but there wasn’t much attention being paid to what happens after launch and how to keep people interested in coming back again and again. In short, content strategy and marketing weren’t considerations and when social media just started to come around I began shifting my focus to what those channels could do for business. Sprk’d focuses on creating content that people want to see and the design to support that content and strategy.

    Is this something you were always interested in being a part of?
    From a very early age I was always to creating things. Wether it was your traditional lemonade stand, making and selling bracelets and other arts and crafts to schoolmates, to organizing my grade school’s first year book. I always wanted to run my own business but as an adult, I was just always too scared to make that leap. That was until about two and a half years ago when my father was placed on the heart transplant list.* It solidified for me that life is SO short, I’m not getting any younger, and don’t have children yet. It felt like if I didn’t do it now, I’d never do it. I also didn’t know of any job that would let me have the kind of flexibility I wanted in order to be there for my parents, for doctor’s appointments, and to just enjoy having them in my life. So I finally started Sprk’d and haven’t looked back!

    What’s your favorite part of what you’ve created?
    So many things! The people I’ve met in the past couple of years have been so amazing and encouraging. I love the flexibility I have now to work from home when I want, to give in to my night-owl tendencies and work until the wee hours (although I do probably sleep a lot less than I used to but it’s of my own accord and because I love what I’m doing). Never sitting in rush hour traffic anymore is also a huge plus.

    I also love that I have a great network of contractors that I get to work with on a variety of projects from site redesigns, content strategy workshops, blog post writing, infographics, etc. They’re really wonderful people and I’m so glad that I get to hire them and essentially help fund their lifestyles. This obviously isn’t charity but does feel a little like paying it forward.

    Do you have any advice for others trying to start their own company?
    There will never be a perfect time. Just start. Don’t wait. Start what you can while you still have that “day job” so you can save some extra money because you’ll need it. Things hardly move as fast as you plan them to—especially at first.

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    Coming to Grind–#Rethink Coding with Reshma Saujani of Girls Who Code

    Join us on Tuesday, July 8 for #Rethink Coding, featuring Reshma Saujani of Girls Who Code!

    Did you know that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million jobs open in the computing fields, but women educated in the US are only on pace to filling 3% of them? In 2012, Girls Who Code surged onto the tech scene to close the gender gap and empower young women with high quality computer science education. Join us on Tuesday, July 8th and find out why the largest tech companies in America are backing Girls Who Code at #Rethink Coding with Reshma Saujani. 

    8:00am – 8:30am - Breakfast and Coffee
    8:30am – 9:00am - Reshma’s Presentation
    9:00am – 9:30am - Discussion, Q&A, and Networking

    Eventbrite - #Rethink Coding with Reshma Saujani of Girls Who Code

    Reshma Saujani is the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and prepare young women for jobs of the future. In her groundbreaking new book, “Women Who Don’t Wait in Line,” Reshma advocates for a new model of female leadership focused on embracing risk and failure, promoting mentorship and sponsorship, and boldly charting your own course — personally and professionally.

    After years of working as an attorney and supporting the Democratic party as an activist and fundraiser, Reshma left her private sector career behind and surged onto the political scene as the first Indian American woman in the country to run for US Congress. Following the highly publicized race, Reshma stayed true to her passion for public service, becoming Deputy Public Advocate of New York City and most recently running a spirited campaign for Public Advocate on a platform of creating educational and economic opportunities for women and girls, immigrants, and those who have been sidelined in the political process.

    Reshma is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Yale Law School. She has recently been named one of Forbes’ Most Powerful Women Changing the World, Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People, Ad Age’s Creativity 50, Business Insider’s 50 Women Who Are Changing the World, City & State’s Rising Stars, and an AOL/PBS Next MAKER.

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    The Future of Work…According to Benjamin Dyett

    Want to get a little peep into the mind of Grind co-founder Benjamin Dyett?  Micaela Brown of The Minority Report recently sat down with him to get the scoop on what he sees as the future of work…and she managed to draw out some additional life insights along the way.  Check out the interview here!

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    Introducing the New Moonlighter Plan!

    Some of the most brilliant ideas are born after hours, which is why we decided to create a new membership plan for all of our friends who burn the midnight oil or who have a cool new side venture.  Introducing the Moonlighter Plan!  For just $250/mo, you’ll get: 

    -’After-Hours’ access to either NYC location Monday – Thursday (5pm – Midnight)
    -All day access to either NYC location on Fridays
    -Saturday access to Grind Broadway (8am – 5pm)
    -$20 monthly printer allowance
    -Lowest conference room rates
    -Ability to receive mail at Grind

    If you’d like to upgrade to a Moonlighter membership or just have general questions about it, feel free to email cassidy@grindspaces.com.

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    Where’d You Get That, Grindists?

    We think Grind is the best runway….and apparently so does Christal Young of Good Day New York’s “Where’d You Get That?”  Check out our amazing Grindists and their fashion steals in this June 18 segment!


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