When two CEOs saw a need, they stepped up to the plate. The result is The Nest, a new coworking and social space for women set to open in Little Rock's SoMa district this month.
We caught up with Natalie Ghidotti, founder and CEO of Ghidotti Communications, and Erin Hohnbaum, founder and CEO of E. Leigh’s Contemporary Boutiques and co-founder of PowHer Players, to get the scoop on The Nest and the need that made it a reality.
You've both been vocal supporters of women and women's initiatives throughout the years. What made this the next step in that evolution?
NG: We both felt like there was still something missing in our community when it came to specific offerings for women. Namely it was an actual, physical location that women could call home and gather and have open discussions and share insights. We have amazing women in this community and many of them are bringing women together in unique ways — everything from Soiree’s Women Leadership Symposium to the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas to online groups like Women Influencers of Arkansas and FriendHer. We wanted to offer something that brings these together, and the thought was that a co-working and community space would do that.
What is it about the current climate that made you decide to launch The Nest now?
EH & NG: We both witnessed how the pandemic was affecting women in particular. So many women are working from home or are in hybrid working scenarios and that isn’t ending anytime soon. We felt like this was the perfect time to launch this community space. It's estimated that 1.8 million women across the country have left the workforce during the pandemic. After a year and a half of isolation, we need communities like The Nest now more than ever to uplift, support and inspire each other.
You've noted a huge focus of The Nest will be to build a spirit of collaboration among women. Can you speak to the importance of that?
EH: I have personally witnessed what building a community of women looks like through PowHer Players, and the results can be powerful. As we get older, it becomes harder to connect with new people, yet much of our growth stems from collaborating with others. We hope that The Nest becomes that place of community and connection for many women in central Arkansas.
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The Nest is billed as part work space, part social club. How does the latter come into play?
EH & NG: We want The Nest to be a space that gives women options outside of work and home. We are living in a time where much of our work life and home life intersect. We want to make that intersection seamless. The Nest will be the place for members to work on an independent project in one of our "quiet zones," while also using it as a lounge to connect with a friend. We love the phrase "one part lounge, one part launchpad." We hope a lot of big ideas and bigger connections are created within the walls of The Nest.
The social aspect will come into play in several ways through our programming that will be throughout the week, whether it’s a weekly Coffee and Connections, monthly community fitness classes, workshops on a variety of topics or a signature Nest at Night event with a speaker. We’ll also encourage our members to meet up at The Nest for coffee, a glass of wine and some great conversation.
What can you tell us about the programming you have lined up?
EH & NG: We are beyond excited about our programming component. While we are launching with ideas of what we think our community will love, we also want to stay on the pulse of what our members' wants and needs are. Currently, we have everything from community fitness classes at CliqueCycle to finance workshops to an inspirational speaker series and member happy hours. We have a list a mile long of programming ideas. It's going to be a lot of fun!
What are you most excited for with The Nest?
EH & NG: We are most excited to see the connections that unfold through The Nest and what that means for our central Arkansas community as a whole. We truly believe that when women decide to get together and make a difference, powerful things happen in our city. Our goal is to be an active catalyst for those types of connections and conversations.