MPR News with Angela Davis

Twin Cities coworking spaces that cater to women offer safe place for work, community

Kristin Nilsen, right, a writer, works in the Quiet Room at ModernWell.
In this Jan. 16, 2019 photo, Kristin Nilsen, right, a writer, takes advantage of the Quiet Room at ModernWell in Minneapolis. ModernWell is one of a growing number of women-only and women-focused workspaces around the country. While many predate the #MeToo movement, their growth has been interlinked with it as it put combating workplace harassment on the national agenda.
Jim Mone | AP

When working at The Coven or at ModernWell, there is an essential and intentional difference from other workplaces: no men.

While they don’t discriminate against men joining, these two Minneapolis-based coworking spaces cater specifically to women, nonbinary and trans entrepreneurs, freelancers and other workers.

Related: Workspaces centered on women on the rise in #MeToo movement

The attraction? Members cite a need for a safer space, a community that inspires and sparks creativity, and a network that boosts business.

“When you center women, nonbinary and trans folks, it’s about feeling seen and heard and understood in a space that’s for you,” said Alex West Steinman, CEO and cofounder of The Coven. “Many times, when they go to work they have to put a mask on and be somebody who they are not. So what would happen if you walked into a space and you could be your full self to work … and feel like you don’t have to shed personalities to fit in or feel comfortable?”

It is a business concept that came out of New York City in 2016 and is quickly spreading across the country and into Minnesota.

The founders of The Coven and ModernWell spoke about the need for such shared workspaces and how they can foster better work performance.


Alex West Steinman, CEO and co-founder, The Coven

Julie Burton, CEO and founder, ModernWell

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