MOVE: INTRODUCING GABRIELA HERSHAM
“You can’t have a great product without a great team”
This week on the MOVE blog Ed and Jamie interview Gabriela Hersham, the founder of Huckletree, a branch of co-working spaces in London. Gabriela wanted to set up a co-working space that was more than just an office, she wanted Huckletree to be a community.
Before getting into the nitty gritty of Gabriela’s business adventure, Ed and Jamie like to dig a little deeper. They like to ask their guest to bring in a school report to give you guys a little inside scoop into what their early life looked like. Gabriela tells the pair that once her teacher sat down with her parents and said “Gaby suffers with a classic disease, it’s called laziness”. Well we don’t think Gaby's suffering too much from that disease now! It’s a comment that’s stuck with her ever since she was five, but it’s also helped motivate her, as she tells Ed and Jamie, she’s always wanted to prove her teacher wrong since.
Gabriela started her career path in acting, getting involved in indie films whilst in New York. She found it relatively easy to get work because of her British accent and enjoyed her time doing this after finishing her degree at university. Whilst in New York she spent some time in a co-working space and loved the environment and opportunity it gave her to meet new people daily.
When she moved back to London two years later she decided she wanted to set up her own co-working space which eventually grew throughout London. Gabriela’s co-working spaces are extra special- she’s carefully designed each space to try and build a community for people to connect with like-minded individuals, handpicking the organisations that work within. For example, she organises her spaces according to the personalities and industry of the businesses working in each space.
A big part of Gabriela’s business is making sure her team are the best they can be. She believes that you can’t have a great end product without having a great team and it’s an element of her co-working space she’s often praised for. People like coming in and being welcomed by the same team each day who will greet them with a smile and provide and uplifting and positive working environment. Gabriela likes to get involved in the recruitment process herself to ensure the people working in her team are the right fit and would always advise this to any aspiring entrepreneurs looking to build a team. Focus your business on being engaged with the people who work for you and learn to let go and trust in your team.
If you’re keen to learn more about Gabriela’s journey and find out more key tips and tricks about setting up a business head over to the MOVE podcast here.
Gabriela’s top 5 facts about her business are:
1. Building Huckletree wasn't my plan all along...!
It's important for me to remember that I had an entirely different vision for my career (acting). A previous life in New York opened my eyes to a whole new world and its possibilities - sometimes you just get lucky.
2. I'm proud to have built a team that's 56% female.
What started out as just 1 person (me!) with an ambitious idea has grown into a business with over 50 team members (and that's going up each month!). It's always been really important to me to support our team as we grow, and I'm proud to have actively sought out incredible talent and encouraged each team member to progress within Huckletree (and beyond).
3. I've stuck to my guns since the start.
I started out with a vision and gut instinct (that sometimes flew in the face of popular opinion). In the six years since, we've launched four locations with four more on the way this year alone, 2000 members and ambassadors and will hit 100 team members this year. I've spoken about building a brand to startups, institutions and banks, given a Tedx talk on the Future of Work and my have been hailed as an industry challenger - with me and my radical views being profiled on CNN, CNBC, the BBC, Forbes, the Huffington Post and more.
4. I've not always been taken seriously in my career - so I've taken action.
As a female CEO, I've come up against discrimination when seeking fundraising - so last year, we launched a campaign calling for fairer opportunities for funding for underrepresented founders (female, BAME, LGBTQ+).
5. Things can change.
I'm currently plotting out the future for Huckletree - and that involves building out our vision beyond being a workspace accelerator alone. It's exciting, it's scary and it's a constant reminder that nothing is set in stone. I always want the freedom to evolve my creative vision for our brand.