The ladies behind WWCO
Women Who Cowork is a community built by women who have lived your experience.
Women Who Cowork was formed in 2016 when Iris Kavanagh and Laura Shook Guzman met and decided to work together to amplify and highlight the work of female founders in the coworking industry. Jessica Knapp, another true believer in the life-changing magic of coworking, officially joined the WWCO team in 2020.
As passionate early adopters of the coworking model, and with a combined 30 years of experience, Iris, Laura, and Jessica have lived your experiences as women in business and have chosen to remain allegiant to themselves, and to their strengths and values as women. Through Women Who Cowork, they are combining their superpowers in an effort to grow and build a supportive community for the women leaders within the coworking movement.
community development, wellness,mental health, nervous system optimization
Laura Shook Guzman, LMFT, the CEO/Founder of Soma Vida, is a thought leader for coworking, work/life design and entrepreneurial mental health. Early last year, she was cited in the Huffington Post as a pioneer of coworking in Austin – How Women Change The World: With Heart, Service and Community.
Laura strives for work-life integration, and combines her knowledge and application of somatic psychotherapy with the elemental principles of interior design psychology to nourish both the individual and the communities as well as the spaces they inhabit. Her coworking space, Soma Vida, the first wellness coworking community of it’s kind, was named one of Austin’s best workplaces by the RAD Office Tour 2017 and was highlighted for it’s wellness-forward design. By introducing interior design psychology to the coworking model, Laura bridges the gap between personal and collective spaces, providing support for clients seeking to build an intentional and holistic culture for their communities. And, to further her mission, Laura has joined hands with coworking thought-leader, Iris Kavanaugh, to launch Women Who Cowork, a global, supportive platform for female founders of coworking spaces.
Laura’s educational background includes a BA in Psychology from The University of Texas in Austin and a MA in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She has also completed advanced training in Somatic Experiencing and is currently licensed in the State of Texas as a Marriage and Family Therapist. In her private practice, Conscious Ambition, Laura provides somatic psychotherapy for leaders and entrepreneurs as well as wellness consulting for personal and professional spaces.
technology, operations, client relations,
Building community and creating a great experience for end-users and customers is where Jessica has found her passion. Jessica is NextSpace Alum, and ran the Los Angeles location for 3 years. During that time she found her love for Coworking and truly believes that the Coworking industry changed the trajectory of her life!
Post-NextSpace, Jessica moved on to OfficeRnD where she was one of the founding members of the team. She was the head of Sales and Customer success and then moved back to her home in New Zealand and took on the Asia-Pacific Regional Manager position for OfficeRnD. Jessica loved her time at RnD as she was able to grow a business from it’s very beginning while observing the Coworking industry across many different regions. It was at OfficeRnD that she developed her interest in the crossover between people and operations.
Today, Jessica has set up a Coworking and Technology Consulting business from her native home in New Zealand. She believes that technology should enhance, not hinder day-to-day operations. She believes in doing good work and helping make life easier for her clients.
Jessica is happiest when she’s traveling, meeting new people, or simply pottering in her garden. Jessica is based in New Zealand where she grew up on an Organic Apple and Pear Orchard (which her family still operates today!) While Jessica is a Kiwi, she is not a Hobbit, nor does she own any sheep.
operations, Scaling and
staff culture development
Iris Kavanagh works with shared workspace organizations to streamline operations and develop dynamic communities. She fell in love with coworking when, as a member in 2009, she realized how powerful the experience of a real, in-person community was and quickly started thinking of ways to change the world through the coworking model.
Iris took an opportunity to join the team as the first employee of NextSpace – first as Chief Operating Officer and then Chief Community Officer – she helped grow the company from an idea to nine locations. Her primary roles were to guide and scale operations and then to communicate and instill the organization’s culture in each new location. Her guidance helped the staff develop vibrant communities, push the definition of collaboration, and convey the culture to members, visitors and prospective new employees.
Iris co-founded the League of Extraordinary Coworking Spaces and COSHARE, produced Freelance Camps and has spoken at the Global WorkSpace Association Conference, the Global Coworking Unconference Conference, and the Young Entrepreneurship Summit.
Iris currently consults, co-leads Women Who Cowork and showcases industry and movement leaders through her media series, Coworking with Iris. She lives in Santa Cruz, California with her son and various fur and feathered babies. An avid gardener, Iris also loves to support her children’s various endeavors, Crossfit, run, create amazing things with food and hike the local trails.