Sarah Travers, CEO of Workbar, is Re-working the Coworking Industry
Sarah Travers is the CEO of Workbar, a coworking space company based in Boston, MA. Workbar is rapidly expanding under Sarah’s guidance, but her journey through the coworking industry hasn’t been linear. Sarah broke into the industry early – before the era of freelancing and remote teams. After starting as a Community Manager and working for one of the first coworking companies in the market for 15 years, Sarah joined a tech start-up, working remotely herself for the first time.
Although this career switch didn’t last long, it taught Sarah the value of community in a professional setting, even if the team is entirely remote. Let’s face it – working from home can be lonely. Sarah went through this struggle, and the insights she gained from that led her to the top at Workbar.
Current home base:Boston , MA
My sales background taught me that there is more value in listening than there is in speaking.
A present-day woman you admire & why:
Serena Williams. She is the greatest tennis player of all time, and a true competitor whom also acknowledges how important it is for women to support women and to fight for what’s fair.
What inspired you to start or join your current company/line of work?
I started my career in 2002 – before most people knew the industry even existed. My first real job out of college was as a Community Manager for Regus – the largest company in global giant IWG’s portfolio. I spent almost 15 years with the company, helping to grow its North American footprint. Interacting with companies in all stages of growth is what hooked me from the beginning. It’s also what inspired me to eventually leave Regus after 15 years to join a technology start-up company. That position was short lived but it led me to Workbar, a company that has felt like the perfect fit from the beginning. There are so many aspects that make Workbar an awesome co-working space – the actual physical layout of the space, the dedicated community managers, the homegrown technology platform, even just having events that our members actually want to attend.
How do you feel yourself making an impact and generating positive change through your work?
It might be the working mom in me, but I believe in creating work environments that satisfy aspects of both work and home life. Workbar is truly on a mission to make people’s lives better – whether it is providing flexibility so you can work closer to home one day a week, eliminating a commute all together or making one’s day less lonely. We try to blend the aspects of professional and personal life together because in reality, who is actually successful at balancing it all?
What is one major work milestone that you would like to accomplish in the next year?
I’d like to round out Workbar’s regional density in Massachusetts. We have a few more locations that we want to open this year that will provide our members with the ultimate portfolio of flexible work space solutions within 20 minutes of where they live.
What is one new project/endeavor you are currently working on that you are most excited about?
We have 10 years of data that drive the how and why behind the strategic decisions we make at Workbar. Our members and their preferences have truly shaped our growth. We just introduced a new product, our Passport Membership, that enables our members to work from different locations on a daily or even hourly basis. The Passport Membership was born out of our members’ need for convenience and variety. A member can start their day at our Burlington location, head downtown to one of our Boston locations after rush hour and then leave the city and finish the workday back at our Burlington location. We are working on adding more membership plans and more locations, and I think that’s very exciting.
What is a trend in your industry that you foresee becoming popular in the future?
The future of flexible workspace is real estate as a service. Companies that can provide a really good soup to nuts end-user experience will rise to the top.
What is one of the greatest challenges you have personally faced in your current line of work?
Maintaining culture in a growth-stage companyis challenging and something my team and I discuss frequently. I certainly have not always made the right decisions but I can admit when I am wrong and I have learned to value the opinion of the people that surround me – my team and Workbar’s loyal members.
What were you doing before your current role?
I came to Workbar in November 2017 from a technology startup company based in New York. I was the only remote employee and I worked in a private office in shared work space. I felt lonely and out of touch with the rest of the employees in the company. Suffice it to say I did not last long. I joined Workbar with not only industry knowledge but also a fresh perspective on the importance of community in one’s work day.
What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve ever received & why?
Be ruthless with your time. I want to be home for dinner with my family, so I stick to a schedule.
Can you tell us about a time when you took a huge risk/did something you were scared to do, and it totally paid off?
I would definitely say leaving Regus to work for a startup company was the biggest risk I have taken in my career. That position only lasted 3 months but from there I joined Workbar, first as the Head of Business Development, then as General Manager and then as CEO. Leaving the only real job I had known since my early 20’s was scary but it paid off, and I am proud of the work I am doing at Workbar.
Is there a charity or cause you care about that you would like to share?
The charities Workbar is supporting in 2019 are Rosie’s Placeand the Women’s Lunch Place. Workbar matches its members donations and also partakes in quarterly volunteer days. As a woman leading a Boston-based company, it’s important to me that the charities are local to Boston and that they support and encourage women. Our Community Managers also pick a local charity of their choice that Workbar both supports and matches members’ donations. Our ties to the communities that support us are important and we want to make sure we give back on behalf of Workbar and on behalf of our members.
For more from Sarah Travers and Workbar: