WacoWork is providing a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and freelancers to work together under the same roof. While the businesses and personalities are vastly different, many of the members share one thing in common: a degree from Baylor.
Co-working isn’t a new concept by any means, though many people are still unfamiliar with all that the term encompasses. It is becoming more and more mainstream, and this ‘co-working movement’ has been moving from cities like New York, Dallas and LA to smaller ones such as Waco. Typically, a co-working space is organized much like a hip coffee shop, but with the functionality and perks of a modern office. The space is outfitted with things like modern furniture, conference rooms, private offices, a coffee and beer bar, high-end printers, photo studios, and other staples like high speed wifi. The setup also allows Baylor alumni who have chosen to call Waco their permanent home a place to conduct their business without having to lease an office space with expensive overhead.
Most importantly, working in a shared space gives you the ability to bounce ideas off of people with different skillsets and perspectives.
In Waco, co-working is connecting alumni from different backgrounds and continuing the Baylor community in a unique way. Not only does this bring a diversity of grads together, it allows them to collaborate and create in new ways as they meet and share ideas from their many different business sectors. Businesses represented at Waco Work include IT, consulting, real estate, web design, writing, law, photography, tourism, and everything in between.
Caroline Thornton (’16) was instrumental in how Waco Work came together. From the beginning she helped design, organize and network to get the space up and running.
“The more I got involved in Waco, the more that circle just came to life. You got to see Baylor alums from different areas serving the cities in different ways,” Caroline said.
Baylor grads Zach Morrow and Laura Soundy run a start-up company called Flourish that helps credit card users easily donate to non-profits. The co-working space has given them the ability to gain marketing and web-design advice from other members who are experienced in those fields.
“People can introduce you to subjects you might be interested in even though it might not directly help with your business. It’s also nice to just have those interesting conversations and make intergenerational friendships,” Zach said.
Being in this shared space in Waco and with other alumni also means that you already share a common bond, not only because you ran the line or had the same professor, but because you learned the same values.
“I think it is really cool to work with other Baylor alumni who share my experiences. Even though we majored in different things we have that same educational mindset,” Laura said of meeting other members who went to Baylor.
Luke Russell is another Baylor alumni who does equipment sales for oil and gas companies.
When asked to describe his favorite part of co-working, Luke said, “The thing I would tell someone most is the interactions you have with people – laughter, jokes, people pushing you to do your best and to really take the day – that would be the advantage I think over just a business space, or coffee shop.”
This is what makes co-working spaces unique, it is truly a collective community of people from all different backgrounds, and fields of interest who come together to work independently, yet share ideas together.