As the Campus Operations Manager of Galvanize Phoenix, Miranda Torres first discovered coworking by chance. Shortly after developing an interest in entrepreneurship, Miranda stumbled upon what would become Galvanize’s Phoenix campus while it was being built in 2017. Upon touring the facility, Miranda knew she had confronted not only a revolutionary innovation but also what would grow into her life’s passion.
Learn more about the evolution of Galvanize and the coworking space’s mission of bridging the gap between education and industry in our latest interview.
How did you first discover coworking?
Believe it or not, I discovered coworking by chance. As the City of Phoenix began building its foothold in the technology industry, coworking blossomed shortly after. As I watched the city grow, my interest was sparked when the once industrial warehouse district was transformed into a technology hotspot.
As I was driving through the district, Galvanize was in the process of being built. I decided to take a tour of the facility out of curiosity and learn more about what was being developed. After my tour was completed, it became clear that this was not only a revolutionary concept but would become my life’s passion.
What is your involvement at Galvanize and when was it founded?
Galvanize opened the Phoenix campus in 2017, with a model of bringing industry and education together in a dynamic learning community. Across Galvanize campuses throughout the country, we’ve graduated more than 7,000 students in software engineering or data science. We’ve become home to more than 145 companies working from the Phoenix campus with about 450 employees across the organization. It’s been truly inspiring to see the tech community take off in Phoenix as well as have the opportunity to be a contributor to this growth.
What has been the mission of Galvanize since the beginning?
Traditionally, industry and education have existed in separate worlds. At Galvanize, we’re bridging this longstanding gap by bringing industry partners, experienced mentors, and passionate founders under one roof.
How has the market for coworking in Arizona evolved over the past couple of years?
When we first got into the business, we did not realize we would be working with larger enterprise users to the extent that we see now. Also, in two of our markets which are in the suburbs, we were the first cowork operator in the market and two years ago we spent a lot more time explaining flex workspace and coworking than we do today. The market has matured, which we believe benefits us all long term.
Your Phoenix location recently received the 2020 AZ Impact Award. What is this award and what does it represent for your coworking brand?
Galvanize Phoenix was the recipient of the 2020 Arizona Advocate award as well as Company of the Year. The criteria for this category was both intimidating as well as exciting to be considered for. As the Greater Phoenix Chamber began determining the victor, they were looking for a business which promoted growth and helped attract talent in the region while advocating for Arizona as a place for businesses and individuals to thrive.
Our team was overwhelmingly thankful to be recognized on such a highly visible scale for all that we’ve built. As a brand, it gives us additional credibility with both local and international companies as they look for a space to grow as well as obtain talent.
What emerging trends have you witnessed this year in the coworking arena?
This past year has pushed the coworking industry to pivot and grow in areas that would have otherwise taken decades to reach. Out of all the various changes and trends we’ve seen, I would say that the following encompaces the core emerging trends:
- The creation of more resources to support newly remote employees and companies looking to maintain company culture in a virtual world.
- Employers paying stipends for their employees to work from coworking spaces.
- Many traditional industries have now transitioned to remote work, such as Galvanize Phoenix Member, HardHats, allowing for a new synergy to develop in coworking spaces which had previously been dominated by tech.
What are three key ingredients for operating a successful coworking space in a post-Covid work environment?
Having a strong focus on community wellness and fostering safe interactions has been critical. Whenever someone engages within our community, safety is truly top of mind and the highest priority. Another imperative element is flexible options which fulfill the need for a hybrid workstyle. More enterprise companies are shifting to a hub and spoke model vs large headquarters. This allows them to develop innovation spaces closer to where talent resides.
Lastly, I would say that member, partner, and mentor relationships which contribute to a collaborative community connected not only through shared space, but a shared purpose makes for a successful coworking space.
How have you pivoted your operations in 2020 in an effort to navigate the consequences of COVID-19?
We worked with our members to help position them for growth post-Covid. We have introduced new products and member services including: a new Flex Membership for our members, moving all of our events to LIVE online, and pivoting to touchless conference room booking.
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to open a coworking space in the current market?
Prior to making the decision to open up a coworking space, it’s critical to understand the market which you would be operating in as well as what your differentiator would be from competitors. Oftentimes tech markets become saturated with workspace options that all seem to blend together. In order to remain competitive as well as relevant, be sure to establish who your space would be geared toward as well as what the true service offering would look like for that client.