Hey there! I'm Meredith Wheeler, the co-founder and resident girl boss supporter of Sesh Coworking, and I want to share the story of how this movement began and where we’re going next. In 2017, after spending four years as a mom working remotely, I experienced the harsh reality of working from home alone — loneliness, isolation, lack of connection, and idleness.
While I enjoyed the freedom and flexibility of working from home, I constantly struggled to feel fulfilled. I understood first hand how these negative feelings can impact a person’s productivity, motivation, and overall state of well-being.
After moving back to my hometown of Houston, I knew there had to be a better way and if it wasn’t already in place, I was determined to create it.
I dreamed of a place where working women could thrive professionally as well as personally. A safe and supportive community where women could learn, grow, share resources, and ask questions. The women of Houston deserve a community like this.
I began by hosting monthly pop-up coworking events across the city and quickly expanded to business development and wellness programming based on the turnout and requests of members.
After one year, we acquired a following of over 300 women. After three years, we have amassed a community of over 950 women. Our membership and following continues to grow daily, and we’ve made it to the next [big] step in our journey: building a community space where working women can work and thrive together.
Coming alongside me in the journey to make this dream a reality is co-founder Maggie Segrich. Here’s a piece of her story:
Moving to Houston from New York last summer brought me back full-circle to a desperate and exasperated moment as a business owner. I was opening up my jewelry boutique in Irvington, New York in 2015, and I wanted to get to know the other women in business around me, but found it devastatingly difficult to connect with them due to many New Yorker’s self-isolating lifestyles.
So, I took the old fashioned approach — I walked door-to-door, introducing myself to my nearby business neighbors in an effort to organize a ladies night. Eventually I found myself at the bottom of the very long and incredibly steep Main Street with an entire list of women to invite. I organized that list into a celebration of Irvington’s staggeringly high number of 38 female-owned businesses that lined the steep Main Street that stretched up from the Hudson River
Later that year, we purchased our family home one village over in Dobbs Ferry, however the folks in Irvington made it clear that I wasn't going anywhere without continuing my work organizing business owners. Boxes barely unpacked, I was introduced to a group of Dobbs Ferry villagers that were trying to revive a chamber of commerce that had been dead for nearly a decade. We gathered in the sweaty gym of the senior citizens center, seated in a circle of uncomfortable metal folding chairs and made a feeble attempt to divide and conquer certain tasks needed to get the non-profit started.
It was this painfully awkward meeting that ignited a fire under me to make sure that this Chamber was successful. I researched the local community, built a database of businesses, and once again went door-to-door introducing myself to each business owner. I built our website on Wix and pushed our feeble little group to move our meetings to a far more interesting place that at least had beer. And thus began the Dobbs Ferry Chamber of Commerce.
We kicked off our new chamber by hosting a holiday pop-up in one of the many empty buildings along our Main Street. With its success, we garnered the attention of more local citizens and were able to develop a committee to research and develop a plan we called the “Fast Five.” The “Fast Five” addressed issues regarding speed limits, parking, traffic flow, and pedestrian safety within the business district.
With the traction of the "Fast Five" came attention, and soon our meetings and events were filled with business owners from not just Dobbs Ferry, but other communities located throughout the county. The idea to unite the villages along the Hudson River had always been lurking in the back of my mind, but I never anticipated the demand to come so quickly. In the fall of 2017, that dream became a reality and The Rivertowns Chamber of Commerce was official. We kicked off the first meeting with the highest meeting attendance to date, and finally had enough traction to begin forming other committees that could expand into larger scale community events such Rivertown Public Market.
It was not long after this expansion that I learned I was moving to Houston and that I would have to walk away from the last three and a half years of building what had become The Rivertowns Chamber. Being surrounded by creatives, women, business owners, and other dedicated and inspiring people trying to make an impact became ingrained in my life's purpose — outside of motherhood and jewelry that is!
We moved to Houston in 2018, and I soon discovered Sesh Coworking on Instagram and attended my first pop-up coworking event. I was hooked instantly. Immediately I had a network of other local working women who had resources, tips, tricks, and not to mention, friendship. I didn’t need to walk door-to-door to meet real people. These women wanted to share their experiences with me and I gladly accepted the advice on shortcuts to fight traffic, after-school programs, the best local grocery stores and running trails.
The women that make up the Sesh Coworking community made Houston feel familiar and less foreign. Sesh made my transition to Houston easier — it made houston feel like home.
When I realized that Meredith was working toward developing a brick and mortar home for Sesh, I felt a magnetic pull toward the dream. The transition from what I was doing in New York to building a community space in Houston that addresses the needs of working women in all their forms seemed like the most organic next step on my path.
Who makes up Sesh?
One of the most amazing and inspiring aspects of the Sesh community is that our members are all at various stages of their journey’s in life and career. A student fresh out of college getting started in your first job. A mother trying to figure out what the second-half of her career will look like after staying home to raise her small children. A woman, after facing a corporate lay-off, striking out on her own as a freelancer. Or a wife taking on the role of general contractor after the family home was destroyed during Hurricane Harvey.
The Sesh community is built by a variety of women working in different industries, bonded together by the collective goals of support, work/life balance, and personal and professional growth. Female entrepreneurs, creatives, business owners, remote workers, and freelancers alike find respite, encouragement, friendship and professional support in Sesh Coworking.
How will Sesh be different from other coworking spaces?
The Sesh Coworking space will be Houston’s first female-focused coworking space in the entire city. We focus on the specific needs of working women, a niche other coworking spaces in the city have failed to address.
Unlike other coworking spaces that have built their spaces on the mentality ‘if we build it, they will come,” we have spent the last two years meeting, hugging, and truly getting to know the women of Houston. We built our community first and are now working toward developing a physical space that represents that thriving community.
Sesh is here to streamline the day for working women. We are offering our members in all stages of their lives and careers space to spread their wings with communal-style seating as based on the many cafes across the city of Houston we have hosted our Sesh events at. While we will offer a limited selection of private offices, our focus is to provide a sanctuary that gives time and energy back to the working woman. We are filling our space with amenities that address the variety of different lifestyle and career choices we have discovered amongst our current members.
We look forward to addressing not just a woman’s career path, but to also assist her along her journey in juggling motherhood, wellness, creativity, and self-care.
In 2020, that big dream of a coworking space that’s designed by women, for women will be a reality, and we want you to come alongside us on the journey.
Are you ready to get started?
There are a couple ways you can get involved. Join us at our next event! This is a great way to get connected and find community in the Houston area. If you aren’t local, be sure to come back and visit us here on the blog and on Instagram — we’ll be sharing more stories, tips, and tricks in the coming weeks that will be helpful no matter where you’re located.
Now, before you go… if you could build your dream coworking space, what is the first thing you would add? let us know in the comments below!