Reorienting Home

In the light of last night’s full moon, I reflected on a question Chani Nicholas asked: look back to May, to what was just beginning to shift 6 months ago. “What have you given up and what have you done with the space created?”

It was early May when the decision to close Shecosystem crystallized. After months swirling in anxious indecision, the storm cleared enough for me to see that my inner compass was leading me into new waters. Since May, with sweeping tacks and imperceptibly tiny shifts, I’ve been reorienting myself.

One of the biggest changes is my relationship with my home. When I was running the coworking space, home was little more than a place to dump my stuff and run back out the door. Or it was a place for self-care triage: what do I need most before I crash – food? weed? journalling? laundry? or maybe I should just crash now?

Now I’m at home a lot more. At first I was afraid of becoming too withdrawn. It felt shameful to stay home all day, even if I was getting things done. I’d play podcasts to down out the inner voices. Some days I’d cross my threshold two or three times with my bike helmet on grabbing something or putting something back inside before finally allowing myself to just stay put.

Gradually I got more comfortable, and learned how to notice when I actually want to go out or when I want to be here. With the quiet. With my feelings. With my private altars. Home has become a space to create. A space to gather, something I stopped doing when I ran the coworking space . And it’s a space to work, especially on chilly, pre-menstrual, moonstruck days, with a cup of tea and a bouquet from my garden, and the goddess Vesta for inspiration.

I’m about to give up this home for a while and spend some time on the west coast. There, I may not have have a permanent home but I know it’s important to create a space that feels nourishing – where no matter how much or how little time I spend there, I feel the warmth of the hearth.

CREATRIX | Or Har-Gil

Or Har-Gil is an Art Therapist who works to help people express and embrace their whole, imperfect, authentic selves. Or starts her day by walking her dog, drinking tea and choosing a tarot card from a crystal laden altar near her desk. She grounds herself with some stretching, pulls a card and journals on any questions that arise, or guidance the card can offer for her day.

Or works from a space of honouring wholeness over perfection and values connection and collaboration— it is, afterall, how she met Emily and became one of the first members of Shecosystem once it opened in 2016.

Or discusses her journey towards Art Therapy and how she is devoted to running her business with feminist values that support and celebrate women. Read my interview with Or below.

By Annisha Lashand

 

What is your work in the world and how are you innovating?

 

As an Art Therapist, I use art and creativity as tools for helping people explore and witness their inner landscape. I combine that with elements of mindful self-compassion and narrative therapy to help people relate to themselves in kinder and more loving ways.

I’m innovating in small, ongoing ways by weaving new ideas or approaches into my work, testing them out, and seeking feedback to help me learn and evolve my offerings. I’ve always been a big reader and learner, so part of the fun for me is connecting the dots between different concepts and trying to apply them to my work.

 

So many of us learn from each other’s processes, can you share a little about the steps you took to get started?

 

I started small, running my first workshops while I was still working in a full-time job. That took a lot of encouragement and support from my husband and friends, because it felt like a huge step at the time. But it allowed me to get my idea into the world in a way that felt manageable, and to see that I already had a lot of the skills I needed to do what I wanted to do. It gave me the confidence to keep pursuing this path, and some outside confirmation that there was interest in what I had to offer.

 

If work is a journey of the soul, what is the most important way your soul has developed through your work?

 

Probably the biggest way my soul has developed is in becoming more compassionate towards myself. I’m a recovering perfectionist, which means that my inner monologue was often incredibly harsh and that my fear of failure and judgment kept me from doing, saying, and going after the things I really wanted.

Having to consistently put myself out there to keep my business going has required me to drop the idea that everything I do has to be (or can be) perfect…and even change my mind that perfection is such a worthwhile goal anyway. I’ve come to be a lot more concerned with creating content and offerings that are real and vulnerable, that express my soul, and that show people that being your whole, messy, human self is way more interesting and beautiful than a two-dimensional illusion of perfection.

 

What does being a feminist entrepreneur mean to you?

 

Being a feminist entrepreneur means running my business in way that aligns with my values: compassion for self and others, authentic and brave self-expression, and meaningful connection.

It means supporting the sh*t out of other women entrepreneurs by hiring them, collaborating with them, and amplifying their work. It means believing that there’s more than enough for everyone, and that being generous and loving is not only the “nice” thing to do, but the thing that’s going to build a thriving business and community for all of us.

Importantly, it also means staying humble and being open to learn about how I can do better in terms of how I communicate about my work and how I make my work accessible to people. It means reflecting on how my privilege allows me to do this work and to move through the world in ways that others cannot and doing what I can to acknowledge and minimize those gaps.  

 

 

Tell us about a collaboration, connection or experience Shecosystem has facilitated for you…doesn’t have to be business oriented!

 

So many connections, experiences and collaborations! I was super lucky to find Shecosystem early on in my journey, when Emily was hosting co-working and wellness meetups at Artscape. Finding a community of supportive, badass women at different stages of their life and business helped normalize what I was going through, reassure me that I wasn’t a total mess up, and introduced me to people, tools, and systems that I otherwise wouldn’t have found.

 

What mindset, mantra, or truth about business/entrepreneurship has helped you along the way?

 

Progress, not perfection. It’s better to get a rough version of your concept out there (whether it’s a website, a program, a workshop…), get real world input on it and make changes, than to spend ages creating the ‘perfect’ version of that thing and never getting it out there, or taking too long, at which point it’s irrelevant or doesn’t meet a need.

 

Take a moment to brag – we’re all about celebrating each other, share an accomplishment with us!

 

I’m proud of running my business in a way that makes space for the fullness of my humanity, and the humanity of my clients and collaborators. That resists the idea that being successful is only measured by money and productivity. That creates spaces for self-expression, for feeling all of our feelings, and for lifting each other up.

 

Check Or out at www.orhargil.com

Follow her at @orhargil  on instagram & @orhargilarttherapy on Facebook!


 

CREATRIX is a blog from Shecosystem highlighting the people in our community who are giving life to new ideas and innovative businesses. We are the authors of our own identity. Each of us draws from deep, generative wellsprings of inspiration, and we have wisdom to share.

 

ANNISHA LASHAND

Freelance Writer | Editor | Social Media Manager | Brand Strategist Website Builder | Inbound Marketer | Digital Guru
ANNISHA LASHAND

Freelance Writer | Editor | Social Media Manager | Brand Strategist Website Builder | Inbound Marketer | Digital Guru

Meet Rae Bellefountaine: Turning Bright Ideas into Brilliant Realities

Rae Bellefountaine

BusinessValkyrie Design


 

What is at the heart of your business?

My business has two hearts, like a timelord! First, I offer design and branding service for businesses that are creative, progressive or spiritual. I’m pro small business and anti big business and I like to work with people who think outside the box. Secondly, I want to start a non profit that makes building a business more accessible to autistic and neurodivergent individuals by creating support groups, networks, programs and events that help give them the ability to turn their bright ideas into brilliant realities. Right now it’s just a Facebook group but I want it to be so much more!

 

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

What does thriving look like to you?

Having the freedom to travel and be financially independent, and to be able to fund my non profit and creative projects. I don’t want to be rich but I do want to have the option to be location independent and I don’t have that as a person on disability support. (We can have a whole conversation on that sometime, if you are ever up for it!)

 

 

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

Absolutely all of them resonate with me.

 

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

Looking for support, friendship, collaboration, feedback and advice. Doing this alone was stressful, depressing and isolating. I can offer much of the same, especially when it comes to branding, graphics and websites. I also love to give hugs!

 

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

Walking everywhere when possible! In the summer I want to be able to walk from home to work everyday.

 

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

Don’t do it alone, even if you are solopreneur. Establishing an understanding support network and finding mentorship and guidance is crucial for the well being of anyone trying to pave their own way in the world.

 

Anything else we should know about you?
I’m awkward but friendly! My face defaults in a way that looks like I’m frowning but don’t let that fool you. I’m very approachable and love to make friends!

 

CONNECT WITH RAE!

Website: Valkyrie Design

Twitter: ValDesignHQ

LinkedIn: Rae Bellefountaine

Meet Violeta Cobo: A healthy body in a healthy mind

Violeta Cobo

BusinessCommercial Manager at HealthTech IUNE


What is at the heart of your business?

Cervical Cancer Prevention Made Easy

 

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

The level of empathy you can receive from a community of hard working women like me who face and overcome work challenges everyday in a world where women are still proving themselves equal to or wonderful male peers.

 

What does thriving look like to you?

Many things look thriving in my life. Singing on stage is thriving.

 

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

Openness, Community, Collaboration and Wellness

 

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

Support, company and human contact.

 

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

I try to exercise almost every day of the week. Men sana in corpore sano- A healthy body in a healthy mind!

 

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

Do not overwork and don’t take all failures personally.

 

Anything else we should know about you?
I love to cook, sing and making people laugh.

 

CONNECT WITH VIOLETA!

Email: violeta@iunehpv.com

Website: https://www.iunetest.com/

LinkedIn: Violeta Cobo

Youtube: IUNE

 

Join the Coven! The Shecosystem Energy Exchange

Applications have closed. The next cohort of the Coven will begin in April 2018.

Shecosystem Coworking + Wellness is a women focussed coworking and wellness space in Toronto that values the feminine in the entrepreneurial journey and makes self-care a priority. With a growing membership of over 60 entrepreneurs and a busy schedule of programs and events, we are a hub for women and feminists of all genders to gather, grow and learn.

 

We’re cultivating a thriving feminine entrepreneurial ecosystem by planting budding entrepreneurs in our nutrient rich soil!

 

Through the Energy Exchange Program – otherwise known as The Coven – we are on the search for people who want to make Shecosystem their home base for the winter. As an Energy Exchange member, you’ll be invited to use your professional expertise to help promote Shecosystem’s mission, and help to foster a comfortable, productive and welcoming vibe for our community.

In exchange you’ll have full-time access to our space to grow your own network and passion projects.

Fall-Winter 2017 Program Details

 

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

This program provides an experiential opportunity for career development in an environment that nurtures personal growth, fosters a strong community, and values innovation. Successful participants complete this 6-month part-time Energy Exchange Program with:

Training and professional experience operating a small business, collaborating with teams, and maintaining client relationships

An understanding of the importance of holistic wellness in your work-life

Six months of free Unlimited Coworking membership

Visibility as a pivotal person in the Shecosystem ecosystem and opportunities to connect with our network of feminist entrepreneurs

 

GENERAL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

 

6 month availability

8 hours a week dedicated to Shecosystem projects – onsite requirement dependent on role

Be a Shecosystem Ambassador

Regular reports to Shecosystem Founder and Programs Associate

Attend monthly Energy Exchange Program meetings

Completion of assigned projects within the time allotted

Provide occasional onsite admin or events support when needed

 

WE ARE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE:

 

Entrepreneurs or Freelancers: In other words, you’re not looking for placeholder while you look for a full time job but already have your own hustle and a reason to spend your time at Shecosystem.

Self-starters: you can work and play with minimal direction and are willing to learn as you go. You think opportunities, not problems and are willing to jump in where needed.

Great at first impressions: making everyone who walks in the door feel seen, supported, and engaged. You take a genuine interest in getting to know people and the things that make them come alive.

Smooth operators: you have exceptional organizational skills and a mind for efficient systems.

Feminists: You believe the power of a diverse, heart-centered sisterhood and in equality for all genders.

 

ROLES + RESPONSIBILITIES

Roles and program projects may vary depending on Shecosystem’s needs.

Download the descriptions of the roles we are looking to fill for this cohort of the Energy Exchange Program here, and scroll down to apply …

Download Program Details

 


What people are saying about The Coven…

 

Being a part of the Coven allowed me to support a community that has been so important to me. I got to work with a fantastic group of women  and build meaningful relationships – both personal and professional. I feel honoured to have played a small part in Shecosystem’s growth.”  

 – Joyanne Howell

 


As a self proclaimed workaholic, the Coven gave me the opportunity to slow down, and focus on what’s right in front of me and what’s important.  I was able to bring my whole self to the table and give back to a growing community that I so strongly believe in.”

– Erin Conway

 


 “I loved my experience at Shecosystem as part of the Coven. Working with such incredible women has been a true inspiration. Giving back, being part of this community has been the highlight of my time in Toronto. Sheco helps entrepreneurs and women professionals in so many ways over and above providing a great workspace with wifi. It is a beautiful environment that nurtures and supports your business endeavours and personal wellness. Actively participating in that mission is a wonderful opportunity.

– Pat Kack

 


If you have any questions, contact us at programs@shecosystem.ca

 

Keeping this Heart-Space Beating

Shecosystem was a heart-space before it was a coworking space. It was a vibe, a tribe, a set of values and visions that we shared of entrepreneurship done differently. And it still is all those things.

 

As time went on the mission got diluted and impossibly huge in my mind. I got overwhelmed with the things that I thought I should do to grow the business. I started to feel like in order for Shecosystem to attract new members and take up space in our city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, it had to be an event promoter, an incubator, a mentorship program, a vehicle for accessing funding, a platform for feminist activism, a business training centre…ALL THE THINGS.

 

Carrying all of this was too much.

 

Last week I took some time up north to reflect. Alone, surrounded by nature I tuned out the noise and listened to my heart.

I reflected on all of the things our members and visitors have said in our circles, surveys, meetings and casual conversations. I finally let it all land.

Instead of seeing everything that we’re not, I was able to see what we are.

 

Our members told me in a recent impact survey that Shecosystem is…

 

  • My safe haven in a crazy world 
  • A space where like-minded people come to work and be in community 
  • A community. Feeling held. Support at every stage of my journey. 
  • A place I need in my life to help me feel connected and a part of. It’s also a place I need to make connections to move my business forward. 
  • A place where I can be productive without compromising my health.

 

It’s that simple: Shecosystem is a safe, productive, wellness-focussed workspace that values the feminine, where a community of like-souled people connect and support each other in our work and in our lives.

 

That’s enough. That’s significant.

 

((deep exhale))

 

Shecosystem is not for everyone, and it’s not going to be everything. But for those of us who truly get it, it’s powerful.

 

That’s why I’m calling out to you, our community, to invite other people who get it. I want to see our community grow – organically, with the right people – for the benefit of us all. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the nine months Shecosystem has been open is to ask for help. So I’m asking you to help me reach out to people who you think belong in this quirky and diverse tribe of heart-centred entrepreneurs.

 

On August 9, we’re opening our doors for the day so your networks can experience our space and get to know our community. 

Thank you for keeping this heart-space beating.

With gratitude,

Emily Rose


Let’s make it easy-peasy for you to invite other people who get it!

 

Here’s a sample post you can share with your friends:

Check out Toronto’s women-centric coworking space for @Shecosystem Coworking & Wellness on August 9! I’ll be celebrating International Coworking Day with this tribe of  heart-centred entrepreneurs. Join us for a free day of coworking, wellness, and community!  Sign up at http://bit.ly/opensheco

 

Here’s a sample tweet:

Join the @shecosystem community for a free International #Coworking Day Open House on August 9 http://bit.ly/opensheco

 


Emily Rose Antflick is Shecosystem’s Founder and Chief Community Cultivator. She operates her business straight from the heart – and occasionally from the stern of a canoe.

The Coworking Values are Feminine Values

It’s hard to capture why women join Shecosystem: they talk about being with their tribe, about good energy. This intangible vibe that we nurture here  really comes down to a set of values that our members share. These values inform how we make decisions on a daily basis, and they are the foundation of our culture.

Shecosystem’s core values are aligned with the values of the Coworking movement. The movement has five core values:

Community
Sustainability
Accessibility
Collaboration
Openness

The added bonus for a women-focussed coworking space is that the coworking values ARE feminine values.

Over the last few years, the business world has been paying lots of lip service to the idea of embracing feminine leadership styles and workplace values (see these articles from Forbes and Harvard Business Review). But the coworking movement is founded on these values…so let’s OWN them.

In Gloria Steinem’s book My Life on the Road, she talks about a time in the 1970s when she  spoke with Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, a female leader in India who had worked with Gandhi. Steinem was trying to convince Kamaladevi to apply Gandhian tactics to women’s movements. After listening patiently, Kamaladevi kindly informed her, “We taught him everything he knew.” She explains that Steinem had “the Great Man theory of history, and hadn’t known that the tactics we were drawn to were our own.”

In the same spirit, it is important to unveil the feminine energy that pulses through the world of coworking. Like so many other aspects of the feminine paradigm that feminists have been working so hard to honour and make space for in our world, we can now celebrate the success of these values.

And coworking is a worldwide movement worth celebrating. In the last ten years, thousands of coworking spaces have opened worldwide. According to recent statistics from the 2015 Global Coworking Survey, the industry has a growth rate of 36% over the last 12 months, and an estimated 510,000 coworking members around the world who are choosing to work this way.

So why not call attention to the fact that this is the way we’ve been doing it all along? When something is natural and timeless, it finds a way.

The paradigm of competition, fragmentation and hierarchical leadership no longer serve us. A more interdependent and collaborative society is the only way toward a more sustainable future.

Give us a movement that validates this way of being, give us a structure that facilitates it – and we’ll thrive. Women deserve to take ownership of a workplace culture that empowers and inspires them to be their best.


Shecosystem’s Core Values

Openness guides our design and the interactions between members and the ecosystem around us. We embrace the unknown and remain receptive to feedback. We keep an open mind and heart, and consider ideas from outside the dominant paradigm. An attitude of openness cultivates compassion and trust.

Collaboration values integration and wholeness over competition and hierarchy: this is how natural systems become abundant and resilient. When we work together to “get to yes” we come up with creative ways to meet everyone’s needs.

Accessibility strives for equitable access to power for all, and success in business is accessible when women can work on their terms. Each of us possesses a wealth of inner resources that we can access when we learn to tune in and value this feminine capital.

Community shapes our coworking space: we aim to be a circle, not a pyramid. Rather than imposing a structure upon a group of people, the community gives rise to a structure that fits its shape. Technology connects,  but community provides a sense of belonging and unites us through shared values. When women thrive, they reinvest in their communities.

Sustainability includes but goes beyond the ecological dimension. We prevent depletion by nurturing our personal and professional resources and honouring cycles. Maintaining a mindset of abundance means that we can all sustain our businesses: there is enough for all.

Wellness cannot be compromised along the entrepreneurial journey. We support seven dimensions of self care: physical, intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual, financial and environmental .

Feminism strives to do away with barriers to the full and diverse expression of feminine power. We unite and galvanize to discard old stereotypes, challenge structural inequities that limit our potential, and raise the status of the feminine in the working world