You often hear people say that life can change in an instant. In 1996, shortly after graduating and getting my first job, I was enjoying my first taste of truly being an independent, earning adult, and the freedom that came with it.
One warm evening in June I was exiting the interstate 8 freeway in San Diego, California when my car was struck by a fire truck running a red light. I’ll spare you the gory details, but I made it out alive with 27 broken bones in my arms, legs and face. Despite the prognosis that I would never run again and I had a long road of recovery ahead of me, there was a fire lit under me. I returned to my career after 6 months determined to make an impact.
I feel like entrepreneurship was in my genes. I just grew up doing things differently…almost rebellious to the conventional world around me. My grandfather and father owned their own businesses, so I grew up seeing them putting in long hours and the work it took to have a successful business. Both extremely hard working people, it seemed like they never sat still. So, after experiencing three layoffs, in my marketing career for early stage technology companies, by my 30th birthday, I did what any rational woman does… started on my path to independence. I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 12 years and I’m proud to say I’m unemployable!
Close to six years ago I hosted an event at a co-working space in downtown San Diego. The concept sparked my interest, and I decided to dig deeper into co-working to learn more about the model. What I found were spaces that were targeted toward the tech community and thus catered to mostly men. Seeing a gap in the market, I decided to try my hand at another business and took the first steps in creating Hera Hub.
After navigating the choppy waters of commercial real estate and hitting countless bumps on the road, I opened the doors of Hera Hub’s first location in August 2011. Since then, I’ve opened two more locations in San Diego and am proud to say our first east coast franchise location is opening in Washington D.C.
I’ve set a goal of continuing to grow the model nationally and eventually internationally, supporting over 20,000 women in the launch and growth of their business by 2020.
By far, the best part of this amazing adventure has been seeing the sense of community that has grown up around Hera Hub. I’ve met so many inspiring, enthusiastic and dedicated women and have made so many fantastic connections that make every day different and rewarding. The spirit of Hera Hub centres around the concept of collaboration – that everyone succeeds when people come together to support one another. Rising tides raise all ships!
Felena Hanson is the founder of Hera Hub, which is a shared, flexible work and meeting space (co-working) where entrepreneurial women can create and collaborate in a professional, productive, spa-like environment. The platform provides members with connections to other business experts, access to educational workshops, and visibility within the community thus, giving them the support they need to be prosperous.