Shecosister Shari Lash thrives when mindfully engaging with body and soul

Name: Shari Lash
Business: Owner, WholeSTEP


What is at the heart of your business?
Learning. Insight. Connection. One leads into the other. What sets my heart alight is when I see my clients discover something new that gives them a greater understanding of themselves or the world they live in. It is a tremendous honour for me to witness and mirror someone’s strengths whether it’s in a group, through writing, or working one-on-one.

Why did you join a women’s coworking and wellness community?
To be part of a growing community who are building a web of support that appeals to the social, emotional, and practical aspects of starting and running a business. I look forward to meeting a variety of entrepreneurs, who are on all points on the spectrum. I’m hoping to learn from them, share ideas, sit in circle, and build meaningful connections. I’m also looking for a space to go and work that is welcoming and motivating so I can get shit done!

What do you wish to give and/or receive from this community?
Just being in the presence of strong and insightful women stokes my fire of creativity. I hope to support and collaborate with members while building and expanding my web of connections. I’m excited to contribute to internal projects and programs as well. Whether it’s hosting a collective wisdom circle at the beginning or end of a workday, or leading reflective exercises to unearth each woman’s unique offer through writing, I can’t wait to share what I have to offer with the Shecosystem community.

What does thriving look like for you?
Thriving is seeing those little green shoots emerge and flourish after waiting for something to grow. When I’m thriving, I’m living my intention, I’m working and earning a living at something creative and challenging while enjoying relationships that inspire and motivate me. Thriving comes from doing nothing at all or engaging mindfully with body and soul. Finally, thriving comes from knowing that I am enough, even when I don’t feel like it.

Shecosystem’s core values are: openness, community, collaboration, accessibility, sustainability, feminism, and wellness. Which of these resonates most with you and why?
How to choose? To me, feminism is the umbrella that holds space for everything that Shecosystem stands for. Gloria Vanderbilt, says, “I’ve always believed that one woman’s success can only help another woman’s success.” My experience has taught that success cannot be achieved or celebrated in isolation. What makes Shecosystem unique are the values informed by feminism — all those mentioned in this question. Feminist practices don’t necessarily apply to women only. I think we need to make the tent wide enough for everyone who wants to be included.

Tell us one way you integrate self-care into your working life:
Taking lots of breaks, sleeping in when I need to, and being kind.

What’s your top piece of advice for other women entrepreneurs?
“The best way to destroy something special about yourself is to compare it to something else.” There will always be someone more skilled, more experienced, and more successful. There is only one recipe that you alone can create. You are enough.

Anything else we should know about you?
I teach what I most need to learn.


Meet our other members…or sign up to be a part of the Shecosystem community.

Meet Our Shecosister Kait Fowlie

Name: Kait Fowlie
Writer/Editor
Connect with Kait at kaitfowlie.com


What is at the heart of your business?
Heart-centered web content creation.

Why did you join a women’s coworking and wellness community?
Networking, access to the working space, community events, etc.

What do you wish to give and/or receive from this community?
Any social media / blog content assistance or consulting where needed.

What does thriving look like for you?
Feeling expansive, growing and learning.

Shecosystem’s core values are: openness, community, collaboration, accessibility, sustainability, feminism, and wellness. Which of these resonates most with you and why?
Feminism and wellness. They are both everything to me.

Tell us one way you integrate self-care into your working life:
A daily meditation and journalling practice.

What’s your top piece of advice for other women entrepreneurs?
Talk to someone who GETS YOU everyday!

Anything else we should know about you?
I also do reiki and read tarot.

Connect with Kait!


Meet our other members…or sign up to be a part of the Shecosystem community.

Meet Shecosister Kate England, founder of Wildlife Returns

Wildlife Ecologist, Author, Social entrepreneur

Connect with Kate at katesolo.com


What is at the heart of your business?

Intentional diversity, collaboration, centering wildlife and the feminine

Why did you join a women’s coworking and wellness community?

It feels good here, it nourishes my creative and collaborative process

What do you wish to give and/or receive from this community?

I wish to promote the link between nature and people for more balanced approaches to business. I also hope to be able to contribute my yoga nidra training.

What does thriving look like for you?

Co-creating passionate and thoughtful ideas and ways of working – de-colonizing, de-marginalising, rising up!

Shecosystem’s core values are: openness, community, collaboration, accessibility, sustainability, feminism, and wellness. Which of these resonates most with you and why?

Sustainability. Long-term, big picture thinking, and truly getting to the roots of problems – in my eyes, the roots of problems are most often marginalizing nature, minority groups, and the feminine.

Tell us one way you integrate self-care into your working life:

Presence practice (meditation) throughout my work-day

What’s your top piece of advice for other women entrepreneurs?

Connect with others who bring you peace, nourish your soul, be vulnerable, and don’t compromise

Anything else we should know about you?

I love birdwatching, hiking, yoga and I need to connect regularly with nature and myself in order to stay balanced! Committed to reciprocity and learning intersectional feminism and reconciliation with first nations.

Connect with Kate!


Meet our other members…or sign up to be a part of the Shecosystem community.

Sex & Scentuality: Featuring Author Talk with Sarah Barmak + DIY Sensual Oil with Erika Williams

February is all about self-love at Shecosystem, and we’re kicking off the month with a juicy sex talk and massage oil making workshop.


 

We live in a sexually saturated culture, yet a striking number of women are dissatisfied with their sex lives and alienated from their bodies. Journalist Sarah Barmak believes that female sexuality isn’t broken: it’s misunderstood.

 

In her book, Closer: Notes from the Orgasmic Frontier of Female Sexuality she explores the cutting-edge science and grassroots cultural trends that are getting us closer to the truth of women’s sexuality. This isn’t about finding a magic pink pill, it’s about wholeness and individual expression.

 

Join us for an intimate author talk, followed by a candid Q&A with Sarah Barmak

 

And if the thought of talking about sex makes you squirm, we’ll give you something to do with your hands. Erika Williams, wellness blogger and essential oil alchemist, http://rtetracyclineuse.com will fill the room with sexy scents like jasmine and neroli as we blend our own – ahem– massage oil that you can take home and use alone or with a partner!
When: February 2, 2017 | 7-9PM
Where: Shecosystem Coworking + Wellness, 703 Bloor St. W (201)
Registration: $20 for Shecosystem members/$25 for the public. Sign up here.

Sarah Barmak is a Toronto freelance journalist and author whose writing has appeared in Maclean’sThe Globe and MailThe Toronto Star, Chatelaine, VICE, Canadian Business, Marketing, NOW and Reader’s Digest. www.sarahbarmak.com

 

 

Erika Williams is a Lifestyle Alchemist. As a longtime lover of natural health and wellness, she enjoys living and experimenting with a plant-based diet combined with intuitive acts of daily self-care.  Find her on IG @_esoterika

 

Register here

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Women’s Coworking is more than blowouts + “No Boys Allowed”

 

In the first two weeks of 2017, as the moon swelled to fullness, so did Shecosystem. The first week back was quiet with kids still out of school and people staying home enjoying some solitude after the busy holiday season. But day by day, old and new faces started showing up.

 

They came to get back to work, to reconnect, to be witnessed as they shared their intentions for the New Year.  They came to socialize, and to work quietly. They came to hug friends, to meet clients, to host workshops, to ask for and to offer help.

 

They came for yoga classes and meditation circles, Coworking + Wellness, Meetups, the Women in Biz Network Mentor Mastermind, and our first All Member’s Meeting. In 2017, I know that there are lots of reasons people will come to Shecosystem.

 

Apparently, women’s coworking is kind of a thing right now. Just ask the Wall Street Journal and Business Week.

 

I’m not crazy about the “No boys allowed” tone of these headlines. Shecosystem is a women’s space, that’s for certain, but we welcome both women-identified people and allies of all genders. This is a controversial stance in many feminist circles that we will continue to evaluate based on member feedback. As I see it, we’re all about honouring feminine capital (see Orser & Eliott’s excellent book on this) in business for anyone who feels that these competencies, qualities and values have been suppressed and devalued by the patriarchal working world. It’s not about creating a club where girls rule and boys drool, as this condescending headline implies. We’re adults creating safe spaces for ourselves to exist and express – not exclude.

 

 

Another thing that irks me about these articles (which were clearly written in response to a kick-ass PR campaign by New York’s http://rzocoruse.comThe Wing” ) is how much airtime they give to blow-outs, expensive quinoa bowls and boutique beauty products. And it kills me when  the Bloomberg article says:

 

A man walks through the elevator doors, and Gelman throws him a friendly wave. “That’s our AV guy,” she says. “He’s basically the only man that comes through here.”

 

As if a space that boasts a library of over 1000 books by women couldn’t find an AV gal in all of New York City? I’m sure there’s much more to this space than “Women who look like they stepped out of an Urban Outfitters ad.” The Wing’s members are smart, fierce businesswomen and my beef is not with them – it’s with the media coverage.

 

Granted, The Wing does position itself as a pit-stop for women who don’t want to schlepp home to Brooklyn to change and do their hair between work & play.  In contrast, part of the reason I started Shecosystem is to give women a place to gather that’s NOT about shopping or beauty. A place to gather that’s about the wholeness of women’s experiences.

Shecosystem is less about dressing for success than it is about showing up to greet success in all your realness. It’s about succeeding by cultivating a positive relationship with the messiness of business and life rather than sanitizing or prettifying it.

 

These articles get women’s coworking on the map – and that’s a great thing – but I’d love to see some coverage that focuses more on the real value of women-positive coworking spaces and their role in advancing the aims of the feminist entrepreneurship movement (more on that in Liisbeth Magazine).

 


What do you think about our gender-inclusive policy? Do you wish we had a blowout bar? Get in touch – I want to know.

 And if you want to try working at Shecosystem and see if this feels like your work-life space, come spend a week here for free. 

A Brave (and Tentative) Manifesto

Report from Shecosystem’s first All Member Meeting


 

We Are

Coming from the feminine paradigm as a STRENGTH

Fierce, compassionate and heart centred (like a combination of Beyonce + Oprah)

Brave and tentative

 

We Value

Creativity and the positive flow of ideas

Diversity and inclusiveness

Our feelings, all of them

 

We are creating a world where

There is enough for everyone. And everyone is enough.

Success is defined as much (or more) by how you treat yourself and others as it is by money, followers, or prestige.

Unique identities can coexist with each-other harmoniously, all while being productive and achieving our goals and aspirations

 

On Saturday morning, a circle of women sat on cushions and benches in the sunlit Shecosystem Studio drafting a manifesto. In bold all-caps and in soft scribbles, they added their voices to sheets of poster paper taped around the room reading: “We are,” “We value,” and “We are creating a world where.” The statements above are a small sample of the identities, values, and sense of purpose that unite Shecosystem’s members. (Full Shecosister Manifesto coming soon!)

At our first All-Members Meeting, Shecosisters – from full-timers who work in the space every day to Community Members who drop in once a month – came together to socialize, give feedback on our first couple of months here, and examine ways that we can improve in order to make sure that this a sustainable space where all of us feel welcome, productive, and engaged.

As I read over the statements that make up this draft manifesto after the meeting, I started to problematize the whole experience. Were critical or dissenting views silenced by the feel-good, inspirational tone of the exercise? How do we determine whether these statements are truly inclusive and representative of the community we serve – and is consensus even the goal? Are there things that we take for granted that nobody thought to put up there but that a guest would need to see in order to really get what Shecosystem is about?

The best answer I can come up with is, as one of the members wrote, be “brave and tentative.” In the circle, she went on to say that everyone knows that I have no idea what I’m doing, everyone knows that I’m afraid, but I’m doing it anyway.

From attempting to craft a co-created manifesto to writing a press release to designing events and programs, it generally looks something like this:

 

    1. I get fired up about an exciting idea or possibility
    2. I think about what doing the thing would involve
    3. I freeze in fear and sit on it for a week, lose it in my inbox, wake up with anxiety dreams about it – you get the picture.
    4. I tune in to that fear and ask if it’s keeping me safe or keeping me small
    5. I turn to the community and ask for feedback, advice, accountability or help
    6. We get the thing done

 

 

The more practise I get and the more I give myself permission to go ahead with the imperfect and the unknown, the shorter or less intensely paralyzing #3 gets. Enough to keep me humble. Enough to keep it real. But not enough to stop me from getting it done.

 

And after yesterday’s meeting, I feel more supported than ever in this mission. Even members who rarely – if ever – come here to cowork feel that they are part of something valuable. They are prepared to take on more responsibility for stewarding Shecosystem as it grows. They want this business to flourish as much as I do.

 

So together we will keep moving forward, bravely and tentatively.  


Want to join us? Try working here for free for a week.

Yoga at Shecosystem – Mondays and Fridays

It can be hard as an entrepreneur to find the time to get to the studio for a yoga class, so we’ve brought the yoga studio to your workspace. 

Shecosystem now offers two yoga classes every week for members and the public. Our Hatha class on Monday will get your week started right, and our Friday Yin Wind Down will help you let go and flow gracefully into the weekend.

Gentle Hatha Yoga: Mondays @ 5-6PM

Gentle Hatha is an all levels practice to calm the nervous system by focussing the mind and body on the present moment. Class consists of yoga postures that are held for longer periods of time allowing your body to settle into each shape. There is a focus on breathwork and meditation throughout class.

Suitable for all levels.

$10 members / $15 non-members

Members can sign up below, or log in to apply your Cobot booking credits!

Yin Yoga Wind Down: Friday @ 2-3PM

Yin is a style of yoga that supports longer-held postures focusing on deep stretches mainly in the lower body and spine while targeting the connective tissue. This class will aid in joint mobility and flexibility as well as create a space for a mindful and meditative practice.

Props will be made available for this class.

Suitable for all levels and supports bodies healing from injury.

$10 members / $15 non-members

Members can sign up below, or log in to apply your Cobot booking credits!


Sam Warren: Shecosystem’s Yoga Teacher in Residence

This class is taught by our Yoga Teacher in Residence, Samantha Warren. Sam is a Holistic Wellness Professional specializing in The Art of Slowing Down. Living in a time of constant chaos and busyness, Sam often explores what it truly means to slow down, de-stress and find your joy in life again. Her philosophy is that living a busy life is OK so long as you take some time to step away from things and connect back to yourself.

To help restore, rejuvenate and relax the mind, body and spirit, Sam uses various modalities including yoga, reiki, acupressure, mindfulness and meditation. Her classes are centred around the breath, connecting back to Self, and finding the sweet spot of relaxing with a smile on your face =)

Samantha has over 300 hours of yoga training and loves guiding individuals in the journey of Yoga Nidra and meditation.

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Shecosister Stephanie Dodge has a way with words

Name: Stephanie Dodge

Title: Content Strategist

What is at the heart of your business?
Putting complex concepts into accessible language, and simplifying digital experiences.

Why did you join a women’s coworking and wellness community?
I joined to stay motivated and centered as I look for a good fit for my next career move. Being around other people who are working hard is very motivating, and the reflection exercises helps me keep my natural anxiety in check.

What do you wish to give and/or receive from this community?
I hope to support others in being kinder to ourselves and respecting our own mental and physical health needs. Once those are taken care of, everything else comes more easily!

What does thriving look like for you?
Being excited to start my day and connect with driven women. Moving my body and feeling gratitude for what I have.

Shecosystem’s core values are: openness, community, collaboration, accessibility, sustainability, feminism, and wellness. Which of these resonates most with you and why?
All of them resonate, but the biggest would be “community”, “feminism” and “wellness”. It’s important to have a place where women can support each other and find the strength to fight impostor syndrome and self-doubt.

Tell us one way you integrate self-care into your working life:
I go for walks to clear my head. We all put way too much pressure on ourselves!

What’s your top piece of advice for other women entrepreneurs?
Be decisive in your language! Men aren’t conditioned to waffle and qualify their statements; why should we?

Anything else we should know about you?
I love rock climbing at Basecamp and horseback riding at Exhibition Place! Also I have a blind Boston Terrier who plays a mean game of fetch.

Want to become a Shecosister? Join us!

 

Our Shecosister Julie Hamilton reminds us all to lean-in but also lean-on others for support

Name: Julie Hamilton

Business: Julie Hamilton & Associates

 

What is at the heart of your business?

Designing interactive eLearning to teach and showcase information

 

Why did you join a women’s coworking and wellness community?

I’m seeking a kinder, gentler approach to work. The joy in working is the passion for the work but also for a life well lived.

 

What do you wish to give and/or receive from this community?

Camaraderie, support, energy – a shared philosophy

 

What does thriving look like for you?

A sense of well-being and engagement in my work and life.

 

Shecosystem’s core values are: openness, community, collaboration, accessibility, sustainability, feminism, and wellness. Which of these resonates most with you and why?

Community – being self-employed and isolated is often a problem http://www.buyativanstore.com that I face

 

Tell us one way you integrate self-care into your working life:

I walk daily in order to run errands, get to meetings or just to enjoy nature with my dog.

 

What’s your top piece of advice for other women entrepreneurs?

Pay attention to your passions. Put a plan in place and gain support to implement the steps. Be resilient. Lean-in but also lean-on others for support.

 

Anything else we should know about you?

I’m in transition both in my life and my career. Sometimes it’s scary and sometimes it’s wonderful. I’m paddling hard to get back into the flow.

 

Want to become a Shecosister? Join us!

Have a Mindful New Year: January’s Self-Care Circles focus on meditation

We have heard your request for mediation classes!


This month, our Wednesday self-care circles with Resident Wellness + Spiritual Guide Liz Diaz will focus on meditation and mindfulness. Now that you’ve set your intentions for the year, these weekly tune-ins will help you stick to them by cultivating greater internal awareness.

Each week Liz will guide us through a new mediation technique. She is a certified meditation guide and has been formally practicing meditation since 2008. Liz has designed a program that is accessible for all levels, and designed to provide greater clarity, balance and compassion.

Don’t worry, we will not be sitting in silence for the whole hour straight!

We will start our circle with an introduction to the mediation technique for the week, followed by practicing, then http://www.topphentermineonline.com sharing about our experience, followed by a bit more practice. Each week Liz will provide you with take-home exercises so you can continue to deepen your mediation practice at home and at work.  


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What is Mediation & What are its Benefits?


Mediation is the intentional, non-judgmental focus of attention on the present moment. Studies show that meditation can be helpful in managing stress, improving creativity, enhancing focus and concentration, as well as feeling more mentally, emotionally and physically calm, energized and joyful.

Join us on Wednesdays from 12-1 to discover the power and benefits of incorporating meditation & mindfulness into your daily life.

This class is for all levels from beginner to more experienced practitioner. Both cushions and chairs are available.