Imagine a shared office concept that would address and alleviate the “pain points” career women face. Virginia Santy and business partner Melanie Ulle did exactly that to create Women in Kind, a workplace designed by women—for women. Comparing their previous workplace experiences, Santy and Ulle began to brainstorm about a first-of-its-kind, shared work environment that would meet both the professional and personal needs of women and support the growth of women-led businesses.
Santy and Ulle found a former commercial building just west of Colorado Blvd. and the Park Hill Golf Course. They hired the women-owned architectural design firm NeoStudio to transform the 6,000 square foot building into a modern shared workspace that would help career women thrive.
With private desks and suites, open workspace areas, and conference room facilities, space is rented on a month-to-month basis or on a by-event basis. A coffee bar, full kitchen and comfortable lactation/relaxation room are available, and there is plenty of free parking. Situated near the 40th & Colorado rail station, transportation to and from downtown Denver is easily accessible.
Santy, who holds a Ph.D in Strategic Communication and Women’s Studies, says in addition to careers, women are still responsible for the lion’s share of traditional homemaking and child rearing. “Women enter the workplace and have to play by rules setup for men.” She points out that many employers are increasingly sensitive to the additional demands women face, offering workplace options and temporary solutions. However, they often fall short of identifying “long-term, systematic and structural approaches” to women’s lives.
The new space includes a kids’ play area and a quiet room for children of all ages. If daycare is unavailable, women can bring their children to work where they can play in the supervised playroom or do homework in the quiet room. “Moms have these moments where they don’t have childcare, but they still have to work,” Ulle says. “The option to bring kids to the office can be a huge relief.”
The unique business model is geared to meet the needs of professional women, offering concierge services that include alternative childcare through a partnership with Nanno, laundry and dry cleaning pick-up and delivery, mobile medical clinic healthcare services, and on-site personal assistants. Kristin Crites, a Park Hill-based independent real estate broker, says her previous shared office space didn’t have the look, feel, and shared culture that Women In Kind offers. She says she “loves everything” about the new concept, especially its “family-friendly focus on productive work.” Planning to take advantage of concierge services to make life easier, Crites says the ability to bring her kids to work is a big stress-reliever. “Women need this environment,” she emphasizes. “The playrooms for kids and the on-site childcare allow me to work distraction-free.”
Financial Advisor, Laura Olmedo, is planning to host educational workshops and seminars in the conference room on topics ranging from raising financially responsible children to retirement planning. “This office environment is perfect for addressing issues that are especially important to professional women,” she notes.
The office space isn’t just for women. “We love feminist men,” says Santy. “We can’t move forward without them.”
Women In Kind is located at 3899 Jackson Street. For more information, visit www.womeninkind.com.