Best friends Amy and Kate were celebrating their shared birthday in 2017 when the conversation turned to how amazing women are when they join together for a common goal. A few months an official idea was idea sprouted and Rowan Tree coworking and cogrowth community was born. Offering both virtual and in-person memberships, they are pioneering a new way to work. Geared for women and welcome to ALL, Rowan Tree offers an inclusive, safe, and open community and coworking space. Within their growth ecosystem of women entrepreneurs and passionate allies, they intentionally foster a community of connection, collaboration, and inspiration. They infuse a mix of wellness, creativity, laughter, self-health, and kindness into their Rowgramming. In the last year, they offered over 200 workshops on professional, business, personal, well-being, and creative growth.
- CEO Hack: I listen to Happier on Hollywood Podcast I relate with and note some nuggets that I learn from and can implement
- CEO Nugget: Ask for help when starting a new business and trust your guts in your mindset
- CEO Defined: Having the freedom to having an idea and executing it
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you’ve come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you’re in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.
Gresham Harkless 0:29
Hello, hello. Hello, this is Greg from I am CEO podcast and I have two very special guests on the show today of Amy Gagliano and Kate Janet of Rowan tree. Amy and Kate it's awesome having a show.
Amy Dagliano and Kate 0:41
Thank you so much.
Gresham Harkless 0:42
No problem super excited to have you both on before we jumped in. I want to read a little bit more about both of them so you can hear about all the awesome things that they're doing. And best friends Amy and Kate are celebrating their shared birthday in 2017. We're celebrating their their shared birthday in 2017. When the conversation turns to how amazing women are when they joined together for a common goal. A few months and official idea was was sprouted and Rowan tree co working and co growth community was born. Offering both virtual and in person membership. They are pioneering a new way to work geared for women and welcome to all Rowan tree offers an inclusive, safe and open community and co working space within their growth in their growth ecosystem of women entrepreneurs and passionate allies. They intentionally foster a community of connection, collaboration and inspiration. They infuse a mix of wellness, creativity, laughter, self help and kindness into role gramming. In the last year, they offered over 200 workshops on professional business personal well being in creative growth. It's great to have you both on the show. Are you ready to speak to the imcl? community?
Amy Dagliano and Kate 1:43
Gresham Harkless 1:45
Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to hear a little bit more on how this incredible idea got started. Could you take us through what I like to call your CEO story? What led you to get started with all those major working on?
Amy Dagliano and Kate 1:54
Sure, sure. I'll kick it off. Well, you mentioned some of them. And in our bio, but we are best friends and have been for about 16 years, the night we met, we actually discovered that we had the same birthday, same date, same year, everything a few hours apart, though. But we were best friends from that moment on and never had any inclination of running a business. Never in our wheelhouse. We just both worked our own separate corporate jobs. But one night, as you mentioned 2017 we were out celebrating our birthday at karaoke having a couple beers. And we said, Oh, you know, wouldn't it be nice if there was a space where women could get together and they could really focus on themselves, but also connect with one another? And, you know, just really collaborate? Yeah, that would be nice, you know, and just didn't think anything of it. But like good ideas sometimes do. It just kind of kept, you know, popping up in both of our heads. And a few weeks later, I went to Kate's house, she was working from home and I was working from home. This was before everyone works from home. And we didn't know we were co working. But we had a great day together, just hung out, got our work done. We went for a walk at lunch. And on the walk Kate said, you know that idea we had on our birthday, like kind of feel like there's something there I kind of feel like we should do something about it. And I was like, Yeah, we do. So we we had no idea what it was and but just jumped up and down and said okay, well, we better tell our husbands we're starting a business. And so from there started to do some research about what it meant to bring women together and how they worked together and collaborate. And we saw this niche of female focus coworking that was really starting to spread across the US. And we knew that was the direction that we wanted to go. And so we just, you know, started one person at a time building our community and getting feedback from women in the in the community about what they loved about worked, what they didn't like, what they wish they had more of in their lives, and use that to really help shape our initial decisions about building our space. And then even started doing some pop up events to make sure people knew who we were and knew what it was like to work at Roman tree. And that helped us build our community so that when we finally opened, we did a soft opening november of 2018, we had 30 people who were members already, so it was great to open our doors and be able to fill the space that way.
Gresham Harkless 4:00
Nice. I absolutely love that. And I always feel the the best ideas come from karaoke and a couple of beers. So I love how you know, everything got started, like I usually say and, you know, true entrepreneurial form. So many times we have ideas of things that we want to create and build. But it's the true entrepreneur that really decides, hey, let's actually do this as actually building and create this. I love that you all have been able to do this. So could you take us through a little bit more about, you know, row entry, exactly what we can find there and how you said the clients that you work with?
Amy Dagliano and Kate 4:27
Yeah, so we decided we're more than just a co working space. We are a co working and co growth community. So we do offer a beautiful co working space for people, specifically women who are working from home, whether it's because they run their own businesses or they have a remote job. It's a beautiful place where people can go and work and work in a space that's really community focused. So you're surrounded by other like minded people. You have. It's an open community where you can kind of sit wherever you want, but we have different zones. So there's an area we call the community hub and that's where You're kind of working, but you're kind of chit chatting and throwing ideas across the tables together. But then we have a focus zone as well. So that's where it's almost like the quiet car where if you just need to put your head down, you can go work, we offer conference rooms for rent. So if you have a client or a team you want to bring in, you can actually use those rooms as you need. So it's a place where it's kind of in the middle of a coffee shop and a house. So it's like home with all the business amenities and friends. But then on top of that, we felt like it was important to offer more than just a place to work. Even though you do naturally Connect, we wanted a place that offers programming that helps us be our best people, both in work and in life, because we feel and we all know this, if you're happy, if you're happy at work, then you're happier parent, if you're happier parent, you're happy at work, it all feeds into itself. And the better people we can have, the better communities we'll have in the better world or house. So we wanted to create programming that's available to our members. And we have it's a credit goes across our core pillars. So we our tagline is work, connect, be well and create. So we have professional focused programming, it ranges from anything from you know how to create a video how to sell even if you're a non salesperson, how to think strategically to wellness, we offer yoga, we're actually about to offer a whole new perk to our members where they're getting access to different yoga classes totally for free by amazing yoga instructors. But we also have programming that's more around, not just spiritual, but like creativity and personal growth as well. So even yesterday, we haven't asked the expert Bert session where she talked about setting realistic expectations as parents for the school year. I mean, it's very practical stuff. But all together. It's a holistic approach. And it's so we feel like you're making your business better, but you're also making yourself better as well. And the other piece that we are actually, you know, looking into something else, but we really try to foster connection and collaboration. So everything we do, we try to encourage our members to share to promote each other. So as you're even though you're a member, you're part of the community, and our job is to help each other grow. So that's really all included in membership, we have different levels. We have one that's focused on the workspace, one that's focused on the programming, and then the hybrid of both, but no matter what, you're a part of the community, and it is incredibly powerful.
Gresham Harkless 7:13
Yeah, absolutely. And I love how you kind of, you know, touch on that word holistic, because as we sometimes kind of zoom through our work days and our work lives, we sometimes can forget how everything's not either or they're not in pillars. They're not, you know, completely directed from each other. It's all integrated together.
Amy Dagliano and Kate 7:30
Yeah, intertwined. It all is, yeah, there's no such thing as leaving a, you know, that whole separation of work in life that just doesn't exist. So we just need to strengthen them all.
Gresham Harkless 7:39
Yeah, absolutely. And I've gotten, you know, I love this phrase, I guess you can say the work life integration, because I think so many times you're trying to escape from one thing or the other. But to bring those two things together is great. And I love like all the programming, obviously, you want to have a space to work. But I think that that that ability to be able to create that community where you can grow as well to you can excel in so many of those different aspects is such a huge thing. So I love that you all have created that, and are giving back to all the entrepreneurs and business owners and busy professionals in the world. Thanks. Very, very welcome. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for you personally, or your business as a whole. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?
Amy Dagliano and Kate 8:17
Yeah, so I will, before I jump into that, I did want to add one point that Caitlin mentioned. So with COVID-19, our business actually did pivot quite a bit and from being 100% in person to 100%. Virtual. And now we're open a little bit, you know, in person, but also virtually, but that ties into kind of what makes us so unique. as Kate said, we're we're focused on community, we're focused on, you know, collaboration over competition here. And I think that that's a really different model than a lot of other places, maybe put forth. And so it's not just a workspace, it's not just a networking group. It's this hybrid of both where it's really about building those relationships, building your community and building your tribe or your support people around you. And so when we had to pivot from in person to virtual, because we had such a strong community, they really everybody kind of seamlessly integrated over into a virtual environment. And I think our members really needed the stability, and the support during you know, the beginning of COVID-19, when everything around us was unknown and somewhat chaotic. So we kind of provided that really nice, that structure and stability, as they said, and so I think because we had such a strong community, that is why we were able to do that. And because we don't focus on just business, and we are looking at the whole person. There were so much that we could offer and support our members with and so much that they get out of it. But it's it's valuable to them to stick with us even in the toughest of times.
Gresham Harkless 9:43
So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app or book or habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient.
Amy Dagliano and Kate 9:53
So I nerd out all the time over a couple podcasts and you know most people especially in DC like really like Our podcasts and you know, the DC focus podcast, I tend to draw towards the real ones that I feel like I can truly relate to. So there's a podcast called happier in Hollywood. And it's actually it's this woman, Sarah serophene, and Liz craft, and they're both hollywood tv writers. But they've been Best friends, best friends, they were good friends since high school, and they decided to become writing partners, and they write for TV. So they're in Hollywood, but they have this weekly podcast where they talk about, you know, how to deal with the profession of Hollywood writing, but it really lends itself to any career, especially working with a partner, especially making tough decisions, where there's really no roadmap, and also how to work together, while also navigating your life and your marriages. And everything else that comes comes in between. So they often provide just little nuggets every week of stuff that I actually use, both in personal and, and work life. And it's just more like, how to prioritize or how to, you know, remember to not sweat the small stuff, I should hate that phrase. But you know what I mean, like, it's, but the idea is, like, what, it just helps you remind you what really matters. And it also reminds you that we always have these glossy images on Facebook and and in all these interviews, everybody looks perfect. And what I like about it, if you just saw these two women from afar, you like, wow, they got it together. But there's also a lot of mess behind the scenes, and they openly share it, which I think makes us all stronger, more confident because of it. And then then we're able to not waste our time worrying about how we look and looking. So start powerful with being confident that oh, this is totally normal, I can keep forging ahead and all this nonsense, it's going on as normal. And that's fine. And so then I can actually focus on what matters, it's happier in Hollywood is it cracks me up highly recommended.
Gresham Harkless 11:51
I love that as well. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. And that could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, it might be something you would tell a client or a community member, or if you have to into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.
Amy Dagliano and Kate 12:04
So I was thinking a lot about this. And I thought of two but I'll make them short. So I can tell you too. And they might seem relatively simple, but it's the weight of them is very important. So the first is to ask for help. When you're starting a new business I've had so many people come to me and say, Oh, really, I don't know how to do this. I've never done this before. Well, I've never done this before. And you just kind of you figure it out as you go. But you also know your strengths, and you know what you're not good at. And so you have to be willing to ask for help. Because this takes a village to run, as most businesses do. And you often can't do it all by yourself. And you often do need support from people that are experts in a field that you're not. And it's okay to ask for help. It's okay to say I'm not sure how to do this, you know, can you help me? Can you be a resource. And, you know, that was something we learned at the beginning. But even now, more than ever, no one has been in this current situation in this current landscape. And it's okay, we all need to reach out to each other than say, look, I Excel here, you excel here, let's put these together, see what we can do and how we can help each other and lift each other up. And so I highly recommend that and it kind of goes hand in hand with that. The second thing is trusting your gut. You know, often when you're starting a new business, you're saying, Okay, well, people told me I should be on this platform. And I should be using this thing. And I should be doing over here doing this going to this networking event. But none of that might be applicable to your who you are in your business and who your target audiences. And so it's very easy to get swayed by trying to do all the things and go all the places and be everything that people tell you to be but really trusting, excuse me, really trusting within your gut to say, I'm not sure that this is right for me, I'm not sure this is where I'm going to find my my client or I'm not sure this is how I want to sell or I'm not sure that just because these five people over here did it and were successful that this is right for me. And it's hard in the beginning to kind of trust in that and say that, but truly that has been what has helped Kate Nye the most that asking for help. But, you know, like, we know what we're doing is a little bit different. So what worked for we weren't say maybe different than it is for us or what worked for, you know, a global networking group might be a little bit different for us. And so it's just being okay with like, this, this feels right, or this doesn't.
Gresham Harkless 14:20
Awesome, awesome. Awesome. So I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is a definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote unquote, CEOs on the show. So Katie and Amy, what does being CEO mean to you?
Amy Dagliano and Kate 14:30
I being a CEO is having the freedom to have an idea and to run with it for years of working for other organizations, but she I still need some hard time. There's so much bureaucracy and red tape. If you have an idea, it is so hard to execute it and having that open field of just you know, let's try this. Okay, why not? And it doesn't matter if you fail, you're not gonna get fired, you know? But you can try it opens up this was great. tivity that you knew was always there,
Gresham Harkless 15:02
I appreciate that I appreciate your time even more, what I wanted to do is pass you the mic so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and listeners know and of course, how best they can get home view, get a membership and find out about all those things that we're working on.
Amy Dagliano and Kate 15:14
Awesome, thanks. Well, I'll say that part first. So don't forget it, you can find us at work rowing.com. And all of our membership information is on there, as well as a link to our events page. Because we literally have events on a daily basis, most of which are internal for our members, but we do a few times a month have external events for the public, but anyone's always willing to we're always open to having people come and try it because we feel it's important that you feel like it's the right fit for you before committing to be a part of this community. So the only other thing I wanted to mention is, as we talked about earlier, from the beginning, we've been very upfront that we follow a model of collaboration over competition. And something that we did at the beginning of our journey is we reached out to other female focus co working spaces and said, Wow, you're doing a really amazing thing. We're thinking about creating something similar. Could you could we pick your brain for a few minutes? Could you give us a few tips? What have you learned, and we were really nervous to do it at first, actually, at first we were protective of the idea and didn't realize that the more that we shared, the more we will get back when we reach to these other spaces and they were so open and they were so helpful. Awesome, awesome. Awesome. I
Gresham Harkless 16:19
truly appreciate that again, and I hope you have a great rest of the day.
Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at IAMCEO.CO. I am CEO is not just a phrase, it’s a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. Grab CEO gear a www.CEOgear.co This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.
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