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Hera Hub


When Vivian Sayward launched Vivacity, a woman’s sportswear line, last year, she needed a place to work when she wasn’t on the road. The former bio-tech executive didn’t want to work at home but neither did she need the overhead of an office. Hera Hub, a women’s workspace in Sorrento Valley, proved to be just the answer. “I love the fact that this is an area where a lot of women can feel safe, they can support one another,” says Sayward. “Every day I come in here, I learn something new; I meet someone new that in turn leads to another connection.”


Founded by marketing consultant Felena Hanson in August 2011, Hera Hub has been called one of 16 “cool co-working spaces” by Inc. Magazine. Hanson turned a profit in just three months, and now has approximately 200 members, from bookkeepers to social media strategists, who pay from $69 to $369 a month for a place to work productively, have a professional presence, and prosper from their collaboration with other small business women and entrepreneurs. “A hub is a place where women can come together to connect, build communities, have support for their businesses,” says Hanson, “and find the resources they need in a trusted group.” Hera Hub has been so successful, in fact, that Hanson just opened a second location in Mission Valley this month, with a third to follow in Carlsbad next year.


Hanson named the workspace after Hera, the powerful Greek goddess of women, whose watchfulness is symbolized by, ironically, the male peacock and the “eyes” in its plumage, a motif used throughout the peaceful, spa-inspired space. It is painted in soothing shades, with soft lighting, fountains, a roving art gallery, and inspirational quotations on the walls: “Dreams come a size too big, so we can grow into them.”


Desks and chairs are arranged in a rectangle in a large, open room where women work at their laptops or confer. There’s also a quiet area reserved for more focused work. In a nearby meeting room, an accountant works one-on-one with a client. Members can also book a conference room for larger meetings, or a video studio equipped with an HD camera, microphone, lighting, and a green screen. The space can be rented in the evenings for gatherings and receptions, and is often donated for nonprofit use. Also offered: online support and visibility, access to business “gurus,” workshops, panel discussions, and monthly networking opportunities.


Hanson says Hera Hub is helping to fill the need for shared workspaces for an estimated 10 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., which are growing at twice the rate of all businesses. It is also catering to the work styles of women, who are more likely to ask for advice than men, and are more inclined to take a team-based approach. “We need community,” says Hanson. “We need support, and we thrive on those connections.”


That approach is paying off for women entrepreneurs like Sayward. She says, in general, her sportswear line “launched more quickly because of the connections I’ve made here, the people I talked to who’ve provided advice in different areas.” Hera, herself, would be proud. (855/HERA-HUB, www.herahub.com)     ANDREA NAVERSEN


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