Member Profile: Cassandra Overby

It gives us great pleasure to introduce you to Cassandra Overby! Cassandra joined us in mid-2016 and jumped into the mix right away. These days you can find her hosting monthly Writers Lunch sessions at the office, and she’s currently a part of our great team of Community Cultivators. We hope you’ll enjoy reading a bit more about her!

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about hiking (I always seek out hills when I’m stressed) and country dancing (especially the two step and cowboy cha-cha) and traveling (especially in Germany and France). But I don’t like to travel just to see new things. I want travel to change me; I want it to make me a better person. And I love helping other people approach their travels the same way.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on several things! I am writing a book for Mountaineers Books called “Exploring Europe on Foot,” which is expected to hit bookstores in August 2018. I also freelance for magazines—my specialty is active travel stories. And I edit for magazines and companies as well.

What brought you to Office Nomads?

I came to Office Nomads because I was going crazy at home. There was no one to talk to and I was driven nearly crazy by loneliness. I knew I had to do something to get regular interaction. I did some research on coworking spots and ended up at Office Nomads—I knew right away that it was the right place for me. It was a gut feeling. I love how friendly everyone is and how it really is a community. I look forward to coming in and having people to talk to—people that I know.

Got a fun Office Nomads story to share with us?

Jacob came in one morning with clappers that he found outside (you know, the “clap on, clap off” lights!). He asked if anyone wanted them and I was stoked—I’d just been talking about getting a couple the week before. Talk about serendipity!

What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?

I was named after a heroine (a CEO, of all things) in a romance novel that my mom read when she was pregnant with me.

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Thanks so much for sharing some of your story with us, Cassandra! We’re so lucky to have you as a part of our coworking family. You can learn more about Cassandra’s work here on her website. Thanks again to Marti Rhea for taking these great photos. Stay tuned for more!

Member Profile: Juan Valera

Fresh off the press – we’re happy to introduce you to another member of the Office Nomads coworking community: Juan Valera!

What was your first job?

My very first job was an internship at a web design agency. I was miles outside my comfort zone, and terrified/ecstatic about everything. I’ve managed to keep that state of mind for the most part.

Is that a good thing?

Not always. Actually, I’d wager that most of the time it’s not a good thing. It gets in the way of my productivity. But the ecstatic part, that’s just who I am – I’m passionate about what I advocate for and what I know and wish for.

What are you working on right now?

I’m doing research on a client’s market to inform user testing. (If you know research or user experience testing, let’s talk!)

What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?

I’m afraid of warewolves. Seriously.

Why are you a member of Office Nomads?

The community, hands down. There’s something about ON that makes you feel instantly at home. A combination of authentic people, all sorts of different work, awesome events, and the occasional dog petting opportunities sold me.

What events have you participated in at ON?

I joined in for a round of Cotivation, because motivation for projects isn’t always easy to come by. I quickly learned that my fellow Nomads have some great ideas! I volunteered with a bunch of other members at Northwest Harvest, a WA hunger relief organization in December. And does Thursday Snack count? I participate because snacks.

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Thanks for sharing with us, Juan! We’re so glad you’re a part of our coworking community on Capitol Hill! If you want to keep tabs on what Juan is up to, be sure to follow him on Twitter. Thanks so much to Marti Rhea for snapping photos of Juan and all of our other members for these fun profiles. We’ll be back with another profile soon!

Member Profile: Kevin Owyang

Kevin Owyang has been a fixture at Office Nomads for years now and we couldn’t be happier about it. We’re so pleased to introduce you to this delightful member of our coworking community here on Capitol Hill! Without further ado, meet Kevin:

What are you passionate about?

My dog Harley, adventure, and risk. I performed under Leonard Bernstein, ran a financial trading floor with $3 Billion in revenue, heli-snowboarded the Chugach range of Alaska, graduated from MIT, performed with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and was commissioned to create a documentary for a Smithsonian Affiliate.

That’s quite a spread of experiences! What brought you to Seattle?

I was coming out here for a client, an early stage manufacturing company that was eventually sold. They were making trucks more environmentally friendly. At the same time I was looking for a change – I wanted to move back into the city. One thing led to another and here I am!

What are you working on right now?

I’m directing some commercial videos for Amazon Webs Services (AWS). It’s cool because I get to help engineers break out of their mould and imagine the future of computing in ways that impact everyday people. It’s been great to see them receptive to the creative video storytelling process. I get to practice my art for a living.

How did you get into film?

About 3 or 4 years ago I wasn’t in video or film. But one day an Office Nomads member – Chris Hammersley – was making a film for SIFF. He sent out an email asking if people wanted to help and I thought it sounded like fun. And that’s how I got started in video and film! Basically, Office Nomads helped me find a new career I love, when I had no idea this is where my calling would lie.

What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?

My faith. That’s not to say I’m a goody-goody or that I look down on others who don’t share my faith. But it’s faith the helps me know that should I fail, if I’m destined to fail, as long as I have a relationship with God, everything’s ok. And that’s freeing for me.

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You can check out Kevin’s website to keep tabs on what he’s up to, or to contact him about a project. Big thanks as always to Marti Rhea for taking photos of our members to share with you all!

Member Profile: James Gaines

Introducing James Gaines – writer, traveler, and all-around fascinating person to fall into a conversation with.

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What are you passionate about?

I like stories about how people interact with the world. Did you know there are Russian mammoth pirates? I’m passionate about writing about Russian mammoth pirates.

Sorry, what?

So a while back I worked on an article with this photographer, Amos Chapple. He works out of Europe and does some amazing stuff. As I was wrapping up that first article, he mentioned that he had just finished an expedition out to northern Russia and had pictures. Turns out China’s ivory ban has created a huge market for mammoth ivory. That in and of itself isn’t too bad, but the way these tusk hunters are working is incredibly destructive and illegal. Chapple persuaded them to let him photograph their work and it’s pretty amazing. I’m fascinated by stories like that, and I get the opportunity to tell them. [Our note: you should check out the article. It’s incredible.]

So what are you working on right now?

Actually I just got back from a much-needed vacation. It was good. Relaxing. It’s a bit weird taking vacation to somewhere I used to live (London). I didn’t end up doing much tourist stuff, mostly just hung out with friends and visited old haunts. I did go to some of the big museums as well. They’re all free admission, which is nice. You can just wander in for five or ten minutes to hit up the Van Gogh’s, for example, without feeling pressure to see other stuff as well.

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What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?

I grew up in a cabin in the woods.

I bet there were great and not-so-great parts about that.

It wasn’t always great. It was hard to see other people, which made for a very lonely childhood. On the other hand, I got to spend a lot of time out in the woods. I spent a lot of time making little clubhouses or wandering around old deer trails. And the spot that I grew up in butted up against a wild game preserve, so I got to peek across a fence and see ostrich and zebra. That was pretty cool.

Where do you get your quick wit and dry sense of humor?

Probably from being a little messed up in the head.

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Being a little messed up in the head is what makes us all more interesting. Or so we think! Thanks, James, for taking the time to share a bit more about yourself with us. Head to James’ Upworthy page to find more of his articles, or head here to follow him on Twitter. Thanks as always to Marti Rhea for capturing James in the space. Stay tuned for more!

Member Profile: Elyse Gordon

We are excited to introduce you Elyse Gordon, another fantastic member of our coworking community here on Capitol Hill!

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What are you passionate about?

I’m a connecter and community builder. I bring people together, and I’m passionate about engaging folks through meaningful connection, critical thinking, and food. I believe strongly that change occurs through relationships – so my work is to create the foundations and spaces for meaningful relationships to form. I’m committed to a social justice and equity lens in all that I do.

I am also passionate about grassroots philanthropy. I want everyone to feel invested in stretching themselves, and ideally, I hope they do so in a way that directs resources to communities most impacted by oppression and marginalization. It’s only one piece, but to me it is a vital component to long-term social change. (And if you’re not already following nonprofitwithballs.com, and you’re interested in social change, please sign up for Vu’s weekly newsletter.)

What are you working on right now?

I wear a LOT of hats. I’m in the final year of my dissertation at the University of Washington in the Geography department – I study the relationship between “social justice philanthropy” and poverty. In other words, I’m curious about how an alternative form of philanthropy, one that sees itself as the most radical and progressive form out there, conceptualizes and acts upon impoverishment. I’m most intrigued by how this impacts the individuals who actually participate as donors. I *don’t* love academic writing, and so writing the dissertation is a bit like pulling teeth! Every page a victory…

I’m far more excited about my teaching role at UW Bothell. I teach a range of classes in the school of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. I *love* my students and the enthusiasm they bring to learning. My students are highly engaged, have a huge range of life experiences and backgrounds, and always push me to see things differently.

And… I’m also a day-of wedding coordinator! I love helping couples be present to the celebrations and community they’ve gathered. Effectively, I’m the “executive producer” or stage manager for the wedding. It is such fun work, and a nice complement to the academic world I occupy most of the time.

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Do you have a fun story to share from your time at Office Nomads?

When I was workshopping a potential business idea a few years ago, Susan recommended I meet with her friend Lori. So, she introduced us, and Lori and I played email tag for a while. Finally, we met up in May of 2014, right before I took off to Amsterdam. Lori had loosely mentioned the house she rented out in the Central District neighborhood, and that I should check it out before I went because they hosted coworking too! Well, I was immediately besotted with the space.

When I returned from my travels, I was looking for housing. Moments before signing my lease agreement with a too-expensive-apartment, Lori emailed me to say a space was opening in her house, and did I want it? Lo and behold, in October 2014 I moved into Collective Self and ended up running the coworking community that also gathered in that space. I’ve never so immediately felt at home in a space – I’ll miss that house for a long time!

What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?

I’m on the young professionals board of Crosscut.com. I believe in a well-informed public, and am eager to help diversify the audience of one of the NW’s most dynamic nonprofit journalism sources. Also, shoutout to South Seattle Emerald. If I had my way, everyone would support these two + KNKX and KEXP! Goooo public media!

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Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Elyse!

You can read more about Elyse’s academic work on her website, or if you’re in the market for a day-of wedding coordinator, head here.

Thanks so much to Marti Rhea for capturing Elyse so wonderfully on camera!

Member Profile: Tyler LePard

We’re going to keep this introduction short and sweet: we’re thrilled to introduce you to Tyler LePard, creator of Wondershop Communications and all-around kick-ass individual.

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What are you passionate about?

Doing good – locally, nationally, and globally – drives my work. I care about many issues related to social justice and fighting poverty, but advocating for women’s health and rights as been the main thread throughout my career. After college, I worked as a medical assistant at Planned Parenthood in Portland, then helped launch a reproductive health online publication (now called Rewire) after graduate school. I went on to do media and communications for international family planning and HIV prevention at a small nonprofit, then global health at a big foundation. I helped launch a new crowdfunding platform for girls’ and women’s equality for a couple of years before I decided to start my own independent consulting business.

I believe in the power of people working together, which is the essence of organizing, activism, social media, and coworking.

What are you working on right now?

I’m managing social media and digital ads for a new campaign from the Pride Foundation that I’m excited about. TRANSform Washington is a public education initiative celebrating the dignity, diversity, and humanity of transgender and gender nonconforming people in our state. The campaign has a lot of great stories from transgender people who are community volunteers, retirees, medical professionals, family members, and more. I’ve always felt strongly about social justice issues, so it’s fun to be able to blend my work and activism in this way.

Actually, I found this work through Office Nomads (Jacob and Katie connected me with their friend, who hired me). And another nomad (Kevin Owyang) built the website!

How did you get to where you are now?

I’ve worked some random jobs in my life (pizza delivery woman, grain elevator operator, White House intern, labor union organizer) and for a long time it didn’t seem like I was on a career path. I hate being asked where I see myself in five years because that hasn’t been how my career has evolved. (I also hate the question “What do you do?” as though my job is my life, but thankfully that doesn’t come up in Seattle as often as it did in DC.) I do like to occasionally sit down and map out dreams, big ideas, and potential directions for my life, and believe in the power of putting things out into the universe. But I also think being able to take the leap for unexpected opportunities has been what’s brought me to where I am now.

Freelancing has been great and terrible. It is stressful to not have financial stability (yet), but I do love the flexible schedule and ability to work with different people on interesting projects that I care about. And, of course, I love coworking. Thankfully, my wife has a steady job and has been incredibly supportive.

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Why coworking?

I appreciate the community at Office Nomads — that’s what keeps me coming back. It’s not just a nice space to work, though I like the free coffee and wifi, access to a printer/copier, snacks, etc. I didn’t realize that I was looking for and needed this network of people that I could bounce ideas off of, ask questions about freelancing and taxes, or know who to refer a client to for help building a website. Nomads are the best resources! I’ve found clients, a financial planner, an accountant, a hiking buddy, and friends here.

I also appreciate the programming — Waffle Wednesdays, Thursday afternoon snacks, field trips to interesting places, Spanish conversation lunch, and meditation are a few of my faves (yes, I like food). Some weeks I plan which days I’m going to come in around what’s on the calendar.

It’s terrific that Office Nomads is dog-friendly, even though I don’t bring my dogs in (they aren’t well-behaved enough). It makes me feel at home that I can go cuddle a dog when I need a break from my computer.

What is one thing about you most people don’t know?

I have a green belt in kajukenbo. I have been training for more than five years at Seven Star Women’s Kung Fu, which is another wonderful community that I love. I enjoy learning new things and getting exercise that is also a ton of fun. This year I’ve been learning to teach kung fu and I’m delighted to share my love of martial arts with new students.

I think it’s important for everyone to learn self-defense and I encourage everyone I know to take at least one class.

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Thank you Tyler for sharing your story with us and for being such an awesome part of our coworking community. Thanks also to Marti Rhea for sharing these beautiful member photos with us! Stay tuned for more…

Member Profile: Dana Twight

Back in 2012 Dana Twight was listening to KUOW (one of Seattle’s public radio stations) and heard Jacob being interviewed about coworking in Seattle. She had recently transitioned to being an independent financial planner and had been working from home for nearly a year. “I can’t believe I’d never heard of coworking before 2012!” she exclaimed. Shortly thereafter she came into Office Nomads and the rest is history. Anyone who has worked at Office Nomads since 2012 has likely met Dana – she’s been an enthusiastic member since day one and is always up for a chat about travel, politics, sports or finances. We are excited to introduce you to the fabulous Dana Twight!

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What is one thing about you most people don’t know?

How about a few things? I climbed Little Tahoma and Mt. Baker at age 15. I’ve marched in a national marching band in the Rose Bowl parade. I’ve given a speech in the WA State Capitol Rotunda. And my first time on the radio was was on a KISW FM show called “Your Mother Won’t Like it,” where listeners brought in their own records. The guy who spun the records for me was long-time Seattle DJ Steve Slaton.

What are you passionate about?

Financial education, political and civic engagement, and reading. Oh and public speaking.

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Why are you a member at Office Nomads?

I’ve stayed a member of Office Nomads for the community, the conference rooms, monthly activities, and the laughter! Some of my most successful events and best afternoons laughing have been here.

What events have you participated in at Office Nomads?

I appreciate Work Sprints for the focused quiet time. After working in Germany for 87 days in 2015, I am happy to practice my German conversation skills at German Happy Hour! And I love the Community Cultivator program as a way to contribute (among other things I’m in charge of keeping the office plants alive) and to be a coworking evangelist.

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What was the last place you traveled to for fun?

I recently went to North Carolina to see my daughter in Raleigh. NC is a beautiful state with a rich progressive history, despite recent events. Go for the history and the food, stay for the friendliness.

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Big thanks to Dana for sharing some of her story with us, and of course to Marti Rhea for capturing Dana in these wonderful photos! You can check out more about Dana on her website, her blog, and on Nerd Wallet. Stay tuned for more…

Member Profile: Legal Wellspring

Coworking is often mistakenly assumed to be part of a “tech” movement. At Office Nomads we love challenging that assumption and highlighting the incredibly diverse bunch of members who call our coworking community home. One professional crew found in our mix that can take people by surprise are our lawyers! We have a small number of people in the legal field who have found coworking to be a way to further their practice and connect with others. We are excited to introduce you to two of our legal minds at Office Nomads: Erin Sperger and Vanessa Ward of Legal Wellspring! Fun fact: Erin published an coworking and ethical considerations for New Worker Magazine. You should check it out after reading more about her and her colleague Vanessa here:

That’s Erin on the left, Vanessa on the right!

What are you passionate about?

V: Fighting injustice.

E: I believe that words are incredibly powerful. Excellent legal writing coupled with excellent legal research can change lives and make a powerful impact in our community.

Why did you come to Office Nomads?

E: I came to Office Nomads as a brand new attorney and a brand new business owner and I was looking for an office.

Why did you stay at Office Nomads?

E: I stayed at Office Nomads because I received so much more than an office. It met all of my immediate business needs, but it also gave me support that I didn’t know I needed. The people here have such diverse backgrounds and I have learned so much about a lot of different industries. I’ve also been able to help fellow Nomads with legal issues. I like the community feeling at Office Nomads – this is important to me even when I do not get much time to participate. It’s nice to know that people from different industries and backgrounds are trying to build a community.

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What was your first job?

V: Stapling campaign signs for my father campaign when he ran for State Legislator.

E: Petsitting my neighbor’s cat when I was ten years old.

Where was the last place you traveled for fun?

V: New Orleans, LA for the Blues and Jazz Festival

E: Clatskanie and Cannon Beach Oregon. I love rocky west coast beaches.

What kind of events have you participated in at Office Nomads?

E: I’ve participated in Social Media Slackers, Stretching, and Snack. I like the casual events at Office Nomads because they gave me a change to socialize and take a mental break from work. I also really enjoy working on puzzles at the front desk.

Thanks again to Marti Rhea for snapping lovely photos of our members in action. Stay tuned for the next Member Profile coming up soon!

Member Profile: Bobby Watson

It’s time for us to introduce you to another one of our spectacular Office Nomads members: Bobby Watson! We are so fortunate to have this wonderful individual in our midst.

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What are you working on right now?

I started working at Full Circle Insights in May as a senior software developer. Full Circle is a Salesforce partner that builds solutions to help marketing and sales understand the true value of their campaigns and responses.

What are you passionate about?

I’m pretty big into running. I’m not sure what I would do if I ever broke my leg or something… I would be completely lost! We have an Office Nomads Running Group that meets every other week that I love being a part of.

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What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?

Most people probably don’t know that I’m the president & co-founder of an LLC – it sounds like a big, fancy gig but it really isn’t. My best friend from high school and I set up an LLC (Adams American Capital) a few years ago for investment funding. We’re finally just now getting started on it… maybe one day we’ll become millionaires. ☺

What brought you to Office Nomads?

I moved to Seattle in the summer of 2013, but kept my job in Rochester, NY. I knew that if I just worked from home with my cat every day, I would go nuts. So I sought out Office Nomads after I got settled in, and I’ve been around ever since.

Has anything surprised you about Office Nomads?

I think what’s so surprising to me is the great diversity in the space, as well as how quickly everybody here became more than just my coworkers – they became some of the first friends I had here in Seattle. Sure, there are a lot of us who are software engineers – but we also have several writers, lawyers, financial advisors, teachers, data scientists, ornithologists, … the list goes on and on!

Even now that Office Nomads is a 30+ minute bus commute away I can’t stop coming here. It’s not an office, it’s a community.

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Bobby, we couldn’t agree more! Thanks for sharing your story with us.

You can find Bobby at Office Nomads a couple of days a week, and you can keep up with him on Twitter if that’s your jam.

Thanks as always to Marti Rhea for snapping photos of our photogenic members – you’re the best!

Member Profile: Micha Goebig

Micha confidently strode into Office Nomads in January of 2015, and when we asked “have you been to a coworking space before?” her answer was a gem: “Yes, I started a coworking space in Germany before I moved to the US!” Micha has been surprising and delighting us since day one, and we’re so glad to have her amongst us.

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What are you working on right now?

As a translator, my main customers are a German premium carmaker and its design/event agencies – there’s a great variety of stuff that ends up on my desk to be translated from German into English. Right now I am working on a longer essay on the future of individual mobility for one of the board members, and a comprehensive IT knowledge database. As a writer, I am currently in “summer hibernation,” rereading and reevaluating a couple of stories I have started and other ideas to decide about my next novel project.

What are you passionate about?

My greatest passion is learning. To benefit from the new things I learn I usually try to turn them into daily habits. The latest additions to my calendar are strength training, meditation and studying Spanish.

What brought you to Office Nomads?

I ran my own shared office space in Frankfurt, Germany, before I came to Seattle. I knew I didn’t want to work from home all the time (I really enjoy it 2-3 days a week), so I asked around and a friend who had looked at various places in town recommended Office Nomads. So I checked it out, liked the vibe and became a member.

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What keeps you at Office Nomads?

I really enjoy the focus on community. Of course we are all in the space to get our work done, but there’s plenty of time for a chat or a shared interest/activity. Since becoming a Community Cultivator, I have had even more opportunities to interact with other members, which I love. I am an extrovert with a job most suitable for introverts, so being a part of Office Nomads gives me the perfect balance in my workdays. Plus, as I cannot have my own dog (our kitty is 21 and really doesn’t like four-legged company at all), I enjoy the fact that ON is such a dog-friendly space.

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What is one thing about you most people don’t know?

That’s a tough one – I am not very private! I really dislike my first middle name (I have two), so very few people besides immigration officers actually know it. I tend to use my second middle name, Olivia, which is also part of the pen name I came up with for my writing in English, Olivia de Winter.

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You can keep tabs on what Micha is up to on Instagram (for example, right now she’s in the midst of an entire year without shopping!). For an example of a great project Micha worked on this year, check out taoteh.

Thanks again to the fabulous Marti Rhea for the wonderful photos of Micha!