THE WINGSPACE STORY
PROBLEM . . . FRUSTRATION . . . SOLUTION
There is often a simple solution to most problems that we face. The mystery lies within the distance between the two.
WINGSPACE is a project led by Melanie Banayat to open the first coworking space in the Prescott area to serve our local independent workforce in the Quad-Cities.
It's a real challenge for many to make a decent living here in the small rural city of Prescott with a population of less than 40,000 people, located about 90 miles north of the big metropolitan city of Phoenix. But like many, I choose to live here for the lifestyle. I love the great weather, all the outdoor recreation options, and the numerous benefits of living in a rural town. The problem is that Prescott's economic development focus has been primarily on tourism and retirement, which is proving to be NOT such a good sustainable economic plan for young families and many of the Millenials who graduate from any one of the four colleges in our area.
One common complaint about living here is that it's hard to find a job that pays more than $10 per hour. As a result many people have been starting home based businesses - becoming entrepreneurs for the first time, and realizing that starting a business is a lot harder than they imagined. Other people are working remotely for large corporations, or tech startups where they can work from anyplace - including the rural cities of Prescott and Prescott Valley.
At first working from home sounds great, right? But it doesn't take long before the dreaded 'work-from-home-problems' start to get to you. Isolation appears to be one of the major problems - that lack of social connection lowers a person's quality of life. Other problems include the chaos of home life interruptions, and not being connected with other like-minded entrepreneurs as sounding boards for problem solving, sharing of ideas, and spontaneous collaborations. Let's face it, your dog or cat may not talk back to you, but they also can't help you with feedback, problem solving, or amazing collaborative ventures.
I tried joining a business networking group that met twice a month in attempt to address those feelings of isolation. I figured it would help me connect with like-minded business people and grow my reach through word of mouth referrals from the members. This particular networking group used the 'exclusivity' model. Only ONE business per industry could be represented in the group in order to eliminate the "competition" among its members. On the surface it sounds G R R R E A T!
After 1 and 1/2 years with that networking group I decided that I didn't care for their exclusivity model. I had a growing belief that the groups 'exclusivity' model functions from a place of fear with costly monthly membership fees, pressure to never miss a single meeting, and forced referrals with written reporting. It didn't feel authentic or organic - in fact, it felt "corporate." Ugh! So I left the group and started my own business networking group that broke all the rules. I did away with exclusivity, stuffy regimented meetings, and the 30-second elevator speech routine.
Instead I invited members to join the networking group with an emphasis on building relationships organically first. No monthly fees and no pressure to attend meetings. I was pleasantly pleased to find out that I was not the only one who felt this 'open' model was a good thing. The group has grown to nearly 300 members in 4 years - yes, it's true - check it out. It's an energetic community of entrepreneurs who were hungry for connection and peer support.
However, as great as it's been to have this thriving networking group I've still noticed a continued need for consistent connection and collaboration among members. I realized that we needed a place of our own where we could meet and work in close proximity under one roof on a regular basis.
FINALLY, back in November 2016 I was struck with the 'What if...' syndrome.
What if... a bunch of us independents pulled together? What if... we helped broaden our local economic development? What if... we stopped waiting for our local government to come up with a solution? What if... we took action and created change?
I shared my ideas with my hiking partner, Marley, who nonchalantly said, "Oh, you mean like a coworking space." I tilted my head and replied, "A what? What is a coworking space?"
Apparently I've been living in this rural town just long enough (10 years) to not be up to speed on what's happening in the rest of the world when it comes to the new 'sharing economy' movement. After all Uber and Airbnb had just barely made it to our town. Prescott always seems to be about 15 to 20 years behind the rest of our country, which leads to embarrassing moments like my 'Huh, what's a coworking space?' moment. Marley, who lived in a big city prior to moving to Prescott 3 years earlier, just chuckles and suggests I go home and Google it. So I did. And my eyes were opened to the beautiful, amazing world of coworking! I spent the next five hours visiting coworking websites and becoming more and more intrigued at the concept. Yes! This is what Prescott needs! One place where a variety of different independent workers can all work under the same roof, share resources, get support from peers and mentors, learn from business educators, network, collaborate, experience improved social connections, develop better work-life and home life balance, and grow strong sustainable businesses so they can stay in Prescott and thrive.
I picked up the phone and called Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to see if I could get in on their Eagle Consulting program which helps local businesses and business startups. They accepted me into their program, and with their help I was able to create and test my hypothesis to see if the Prescott market was ready for a coworking space. They surveyed about 110 independent workers over the course of two weeks and the results were very positive.
The survey caught the attention of several local influencers who began mentioning my name to people who might want to know what I was working on. Suddenly I was contacted by three different organizations interested in what I was doing. And then as I began sharing this concept with members in my networking group several members offered to volunteer their time to help make this happen.
WingSpace is now in the early stages of business development. An entire team of independent workers are now working on the project and a lot of interesting collaborations are happening behind the scenes. It's all very exciting.
What's most exciting to me is that I'm no longer working in isolation, and I'm experiencing what it means to Cowork. Which, by-the-way, it's spelled Coworking (one word) without the hyphen, and the 'co' stands for community. As my friend, Marley, would say, "just Google it."
To learn more about the WingSpace project and to follow along with the progress be sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter and I'll keep you 'in-the-know. Join the coworking movement here in Prescott.
About My Business
I figured some of you might want to know a little bit about me and what I do, which is what ultimately led to to the WINGSPACE project. I'm Melanie Banayat, HHC, AADP. Founder and CEO of Nourish Me Academy, LLC, and The Miligirl Collection. Board Certified Holistic Health Coach, Author, Workshop Facilitator, Speaker, and Professional Artist.
I received my training as a Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition's cutting-edge Health Coach Training Program and the IIN Immersion Graduate Program.
To become a board certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach I went through 18 months of intensive training. During the first year I studied over 100 dietary theories, practical lifestyle management techniques, and innovative coaching methods with some of the world’s top health and wellness experts. Then I went on to complete the 6 month IIN Immersion Graduate Program to hone my skills even further in coaching and the science and art of personal development, as well as training in workshop development and leading workshops, time management, business management, and marketing.
My teachers included Dr. Andrew Weil, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine; Dr. Deepak Chopra, leader in the field of mind-body medicine; Dr. David Katz, Director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center; Dr. Walter Willett, Chair of Nutrition at Harvard University; Mark Hyman, MD, Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, Joel Fuhrman, MD, nutrition specialist, Bernie Siegel, MD, pediatric surgeon and founder of Exceptional Cancer Patience and Psychosocial Support Therapy, MD, Geneen Roth, bestselling author and expert on emotional eating; in addition to many other leading researchers and integrative nutrition authorities.
My education and training has equipped me with extensive knowledge on a holistic approach to nutrition, health coaching, and healthy lifestyles. Drawing on these skills and my training, I work with clients to coach them in making the kind of lifestyle changes that produce real and lasting results.
I have been leading and staffing workshops since 2010. For me, workshops provide opportunities for people to truly realize the interconnection that exists among all people. The level of transparency and personal transformation that takes place in group settings is very powerful.
I enjoy leading educational and personal growth workshops for both women and couples, as well as facilitating small groups at parent intensive workshops for parents who are struggling with their teens.
Attending various personal growth workshops for myself through the years has helped me experience some profound changes and a welcome paradigm shift in my approach to life. And now, leading and facilitating workshops has been some of the most rewarding work I have ever done. Being able to guide people toward the changes they desire to experience in their life is the kind of meaningful and purposeful work that drives me forward with positive, hopeful energy.
What is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach?
Earners of the INHC (Integrative Nutrition Health Coach) designation have demonstrated an ability to understand and utilize a wide range of dietary and nutrition theories within the realm of health coaching. They are also proficient in time management, active listening and accountability. They educate and guide clients to make behavioral changes resulting in improved nutrition and dietary habits, physical ability, and overall greater health and wellness.
• Active Listening
• Coaching Skills
• Global Food Issues
• Health Education
• Interpersonal Communication
• Nutrition Education
• Time Management
How Can You Become a Health Coach?
Are you interested in becoming a health coach? Contact me and I'll be happy to tell you about the training and my personal experience.
I'm often contacted by people who are interested in learning more about working as a health coach and the training that's involved in the certification program. I would be happy to talk with you and answer any of your questions.
Health Coaching is a fast growing industry due to the high demand for supporting people through the process of mindset changes, designing a customized dietary protocol, and slowly incorporating lifestyle changes that work for their bio-individual needs.
Nutrition science is experiencing a lot of exciting new discoveries in the areas of Epigenetics, nutrigenomics, functional medicine, and functional nutrition. Now is a great time to be on the cutting edge of the health and wellness revolution that is helping people feel better, reverse symptoms of chronic disease, and live healthier lives.
Feel free to CONTACT ME to schedule a time to talk on the phone