How to choose a coworking space in Fort Collins for remote workers

Coworking has nuanced and secret benefits if you are working remotely in Fort Collins. You just have to know where to look and what questions to ask. It doesn’t matter if you have just started a remote job or if you’ve been working from home for years. Here are some some things to think about before you join a coworking space.

1. Determine if you actually WANT to cowork. Hint: coworking has very little to do with the desk and much more to do with the friendships you’ll make.

Coworking isn’t for everybody. If you are kicking ass in your home office, not feeling lonely and have a robust social network in your off hours then by all means, stay at home. You are crushing it and we don’t want to ruin that.

You may decide coworking IS right for you if any of the following statements apply: I feel lonely. I am so distracted by household tasks. I miss structure, why am I still in my robe at 11am? My pet/spouse/child is driving me crazy. I’m starting to like the company of people less and less the more I am alone. I am alone. I wonder if it’s sunny today? I wish I had someone to go to lunch with. I wish I knew how to meet new friends. I haven’t made a new friend in over a year. I’m jealous of my coworkers at HQ.

If any of those struck a chord in your lonely heart then it’s time to search for a coworking community!

2. Research your coworking choices.

In a smaller town like Fort Collins, you won’t be overwhelmed by choice. Depending on what part of town you want to bike/walk/drive to, the max number of choices you’ll have is four and that’s in Old Town. If you are in midtown or south Fort Collins, your choices narrow even more.

When it comes to researching coworking spaces, here’s what I think you should look for:

  • A website with photos of real people not stock images
  • Photos of the space and how much natural light it has
  • Events that you’ll be able to attend to socialize a little
  • Easy to understand pricing/membership levels
  • A feeling that you think you’d like to belong somewhere
  • Any type of useful resources or links to help you as a remote worker

3. Tour and work from each space before you choose. Just like buying a home, sometimes the photos can be misleading so be sure to visit in person.

Take note of how you are treated during your tour request, at your tour and after. If the community manager is responsive and helpful from your first interaction, you can reasonably expect that to continue (unless you leave your dirty dishes in the sink then the gloves come off). How are the people in the space reacting to your presence during the tour? Is everyone plugged in and ignoring you or do people look up and smile, say hi and wave?

Ask a ton of questions like, “Where will I take phone calls?” “How often are there social events? Are those mandatory?” “What’s the most popular membership?” “Can my company pay for my membership?” “Is there staff always here and if not, what do I do if I need help with something?”

Ask to try out the space for a day to see what’s it really like. Seeing a coworking community for 15 minutes is a VERY different experience from being there all day. What you miss during your tour is seeing people asking for and getting help from the community, going to lunch together, solving problems, being polite, going to the climbing gym together and laughing. There is SO much laughter at Cohere and depending on the time of day, you may miss all of that. You can also have the opposite experience where something fun/funny is happening during your tour so no one is working. What you’ll miss out on is how hard they were working right before the event and how much concentration there will be right after the event.

4. Make a decision and stick with it for three months.

It takes time to settle into a new community. Many coworking spaces have dozens of members all working there part time so it will take weeks or months for you to meet everyone. I’d hate to see you un-join after a month when you and your new soul-mate/best friend missed each other by just one day.

Attend the social events. I know. Sometimes extroverting is hard. We get it. Look for events that have a little structure or are food-based. If you panic, you can always just keep eating. When in doubt, talk to the community manager. Be sure your community manager knows you well so they can facilitate your integration into the community by introducing you to members in similar lines of work or with similar hobbies.

Interact online with your coworking community. Most communities have slack channels or Facebook groups. These are incredible because they allow you to ask questions or be useful to the community even on the days when you have back-to-back calls and need to work from home.

IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to ask your company to reimburse your coworking membership. You’ll be more productive, more motivated and on faster wifi in a coworking space. If you already have a budget for coworking but the memberships at the space you want are more expensive, be sure and tell the community manager. I know at Cohere, I’m more interested in making sure you have a strong social network (friends) than worrying about a small variance in my bottom line.

Feeling curious? Schedule a tour!

Need a laugh? Check out our Bill of Rights for Remote Workers

Meet other remote work Coherians: Cost Accountant Gina H, Medical Director Dave B, Industrial Designer Felix W, Communications Director Tavia M-W, and Scientist Mark N.

Introducing the Mayor of Coworking, La Dueña, the Illustrious Angel Kwiatkowski

She’s one of the hardest working evangelists for the coworking movement and her mom makes bomb-a** cookies. You know her, probably like her and possibly love her. But now I know all her secrets and I’m dishing them out.


Actually, I learned some sweet stuff about the coworking movement and fun, mostly innocent things about Angel’s history and Cohere’s history. Here’s the skinny:

Angel Kwiatkowski, founder of Cohere Coworking

Is there a single thing that stands out as the most rewarding thing that you’ve experienced as a community cultivator?

Yes. Probably the most rewarding thing that happens is when two coworking members become friends and then for whatever reason they can’t be members anymore, but they remain really, really good friends. I think that was the most rewarding work that I do.

When did you first light upon the idea of starting a coworking space?

When I was volunteering at the Rocky Mountain Innovation Initiative, which is now the Innosphere, I was the assistant to the receptionist because I had asked the universe to give me the opportunity to be humble. I’d just been fired from a job in HR and she delivered. So my friends told me about the concept of coworking back in 2009 and I looked it up and I saw,

“Oh, you just create a space for super awesome creative, fun people all come to do their work together. I like to be around super awesome creative, fun people want to start that business.”

And so then we piloted the idea inside RMI Squared for five weeks until we ran out of space. We ran out of chairs and broke the Internet and they asked us to move along.

The frontier days of coworking.

How long did it take you to find this space?

Well we were in a different space for the first two years over on Jefferson Street. We outgrew it and had some less fun experiences with our landlord. I probably looked at a dozen or so spaces. What sold us on this one was the patio having outdoor space.

It’s so rare to have workspace with really nice, shaded outdoor space.

Did you get tired of watching videos of us eating in the kitchen? Because I noticed the camera got taken down.

I got tired of the camera. The camera was born of just so much rage at the dishes not getting done, but now it seems fixed. Maybe I’ll bring the camera out on a future date, but I took it away.

The early days: a retrospective

It didn’t feel super surprising while it was happening, but I wrote three of the first books about coworking in the world.

When I started Cohere, there were like two videos from Indy Hall in Philadelphia and I think the coworking Google group existed, but there wasn’t a ton of information on how to do coworking or what it was or what it could be. At least in the United States it had only started back in 2005. When I opened a coworking space in a place that wasn’t a huge metropolitan city it was a risk, but the recession had just happened and so a lot of people had been laid off and we’re trying freelance. It felt like Cohere hit at the exact right time when all these people were trying to figure out how to be freelancers and they sort of grew up together inside Cohere.

What’s a mistake that you made?

Cohere has been such an iterative entity for me. I mean what we were eight years ago, we are not that thing anymore. The pillar of community has stayed as sort of the central idea, but we’re so much bigger and so much more diverse. I’m so much better at being a community manager than I was eight years ago. But a mistake that we made? …

OK, this is one of my funniest memories:

We got really customized workstations built but the floor in our original building was super slanted, like by an inch or more. There were a couple of work stations where you would get your rolling chair and start to work and then you’d slowly roll away from your desk. So we joked about getting carabiners to clip in to those workstations.

They were basically unusable. You had to have your feet on the floor and your abs crunched the whole time to stay at the workstation. And so we had some pretty hilarious customized workstations.

But everyone had washboard abs.

We were super fit, super fit. Um, another mistake… Do you have any memories as a member of like things that just went horribly awry?

(I have to admit I don’t.)

I pride myself on noticing mistakes before everyone else and then fixing them before anyone notices what I’ve done.

Where would you like to see Cohere in five years?

If I could just dream really super huge and be crazy and not think about constraints like money, I would love for Cohere to own a plot of land somewhere on the outskirts of the city and be like a commune for work. So you’d go there to exercise and work, meet with your friends, do yoga and cook together and sort of be insulated from the outside world. Just for work—you don’t have to live there, but it would be cool to have sort of an everyday work retreat somewhere.

Have you read any books that had a particularly strong influence on your business philosophy?

There’s two that jump to the top of my mind, although I’m certain there are more. One was a book that member Lucinda turned me onto years ago called the Medici Effect, which basically says it’s better to have diverse people and backgrounds solving a problem than just the people who are supposedly experts in that problem. I feel like coworking spaces really capitalize on that.

Never a dull moment.

And then the second book is Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big. It’s all about, the value of keeping your business small instead of growing for the sake of growth. I felt that book was super validating because whenever anybody sees this successful business, the first thing they want to know is when you’re going to expand. When are you going to open a second space? And I’ve dabbled in that and didn’t like those phases of my life because I was stretched too thin and I wasn’t enjoying the kind of work-life balance that I like to have.

Small Giants had case studies from different companies who have intentionally stayed small so that they can deliver a higher quality of service or a better product or better experience. They refused to grow.

“I feel like Cohere could easily fall into just being really fucking awesome at whatever size we’re at. We don’t need to prove anything and get bigger.”

What’s something really positive you took away from your experience with Bandwidth?

In general, it was all the different people I met who I wouldn’t have normally come in contact with. All the different bands and musicians and people who support bands or musicians in town.

I also felt like being in charge of Bandwidth sort of allowed me to redeem myself as a manager. I used to be a manager and I wasn’t very good at it because I was so young and inexperienced and to have that opportunity again as like a mature, stable woman was completely fulfilling.

I felt like I was a really good manager. I accidentally got copied in a text between two of my staff about me and it was so great because one asked the other something and then the other replied, “I think we should just do it because I don’t think Angel likes it when we bug her about little stuff like this.”

And I was like, “This is so great! You know I just want you to make the decision and know you’ll do the right thing and I don’t need to know about it.” So that was really validating.

I asked Angel if there’s an artist or musician she’d like to give a shout out to and our favorite office fixture naturally came up:

My first and last picnic in that particular meadow.

I like Louis Jacaruso, the artist that painted or UFO painting quite a bit. I found that at a thrift shop and tracked down the artist’s name and found his daughter because he’s since died. I wanted to find out if our UFO painting always had the UFO or if he took existing paintings and added UFOs. And I found out that this was absolutely his aesthetic, that he was very into aliens and painting nature scenes with UFOs in them.

It’s a strangely uplifting painting, and here’s a fun fact: It’s an original!

I got it for 30 bucks and I bought it from this lady and she’s like, “I’m so glad you’re buying those. I’ve been carrying it around to all these shows for years.”

And I’m like, “How did nobody want this most amazing painting ever?”

What’s something weird about you we don’t already know?

I have to write a lot for my other brand DIY Coworking, which is where I help people open coworking spaces. And when I write, I listen to the same song on repeat for weeks at a time, which most people think would drive them crazy. But my song right now that I’m listening to on repeat is “One Foot” by Walk the Moon.

I wrote all my papers for my last year of college to the Dixie chicks CD, which is also weird. Like secretly I like country music.

John Garvey is a Cohere member, business journalist and marketing copywriter. You can see his work on his crappy beta website here. Stay posted for John’s GoFundMe campaign to buy a bottle of 30-year Macallan. I won’t let ya have any, but I’ll sure be grateful!

Meet the Cohere Coworking Members: Felix Wong

The Cohere coworking blog continues this week with a series written by Coherians ABOUT Coherians. We talk about their pastimes, specialties, why they joined a coworking space, their favorite places in Fort Collins and what keeps them attached to Cohere.

Felix Wong

Mechanical Engineering Consultant

photo by Adam Tow

Felix lost his neck in Missouri.

A dozen or so people a year get Shemer’s Neck, a condition unique to ultra-distance cycling. It involves the complete failure of all the postural muscles of the neck, making it impossible to keep your head upright. Especially on a bike.

The timing wasn’t the greatest. He was riding his bike from Oregon to Virginia in the second annual Trans Am Bike Race and rode the last thousand miles or so that way.

“That was problematic because I couldn’t see the road, I couldn’t turn my head around,” he recalls. “Eventually I had to raise my aero bars from horizontal to vertical just so I could be resting my hands on top of the aero bars like a cruiser bike. And that way I was able to sit up enough that I could make out the road in front of me enough to continue on, but that introduced a whole host of other problems.”

He rode the last 24 hours straight with his right hand on top of the aero bars and his left hand propping up his head. “That was about the only way I could see the road safely.”

Citing concerns about personal safety, he took a cab five miles to his hotel after riding his bike 4,200 miles. The journey took him just under 24 days.

Shermer's Neck

Felix with Shermer’s Neck

So what’s this guy’s back story, anyway?

Felix, a California native, studied Mechanical Engineering at Stanford, lived in Silicon Valley for 12 years and moved to Fort Collins in 2005. Like Becca, he had set up a spreadsheet of different prospective cities to move to and settled on Fort Collins.

“I had actually been researching close to three dozen places in the U.S. and a few places in Canada over a period of four years. And when I decided to pull the trigger and move somewhere else from Silicon Valley then I went to visit all of them and ultimately picked fort Collins.”

Felix does mechanical design for sheet and machine metal products as well as finite element analysis, which is a numerical method to optimize parts for either strength or weight and to predict failure.

What’s something you’ve been involved with from conceptualization to fruition that you thought was really cool?

“I designed, for an amusement park in California,* one of the first automatic ticketing machines. So basically, like an ATM machine for tickets. This was about 15 or 16 years ago and that was actually kind of a new thing back then….

“That’s something I designed from scratch for a startup company in California that I don’t think is around anymore.”

* Six Flags

How did you stumble across Cohere?

Felix learned about Cohere from a former coworking member and joined last August. Coffee shops weren’t working out for him due to noise and bandwidth.

“This was before I went off to Spain and I had a number of deadlines that I had to meet before going there and I wanted to be as efficient and productive as possible with a minimal amount of distractions.” Cat, refrigerator, workout equipment.

What’s an unusual talent that you have?

“I am extremely talented in sleeping. I can sleep in any position or almost any situation, for example, … during races such as the Trans Am Bike Race or the Tour Divide I’ve slept in basically the weeds or behind guard rails or under picnic tables. It’s never been a problem.”

This fascinates me. I’ve had insomnia for as long as I can remember and a drippy faucet, a radiator or simple brain chemistry can keep me awake for hours.

“My greatest passion of my life has been ultra-distance cycling. I think a couple things I’m the proudest of is one, being one of the original eight finishers of a bike race called the Tour Divide which is considered the granddaddy of all ultra-distance self-supported bicycle races in the world. It’s a race that goes from Banff in Alberta Canada all the way down to the Mexico border with New Mexico. The year I did 2008 was the inaugural year … it was documented by a movie called Ride the Divide.”

Eight of seventeen people who began that race finished, Felix in sixth.

Felix also has a lifetime goal of running a marathon in every state. He has 17 to go.

So my self-esteem just took a slight dip.

Shermer's Neck Felix Wong Trans Am Bike Race

Felix with Shermer’s Neck

What is your favorite walkable restaurant?

“I really like Tasty Harmony even though I’m a certified omnivore and all of their food is either vegetarian or vegan but I really like how all of their food locally sourced, organic, it’s healthy and it’s really tasty also.”

Second to the people, Felix says his favorite thing about Cohere is the location.

“I like that it’s down in Old Town … plus it is walkable to a lot of different restaurants in town. I also have other meetings nearby. For example, every Tuesday morning including this morning I have a French meetup where I get together with people having conversations in French. Or Monday evenings I have a Spanish conversation meetup which actually some Coherians come to.”

Felix is also studying Mandarin and can order food in Portuguese.

What kind of music are you in to?

“I’ve been really into music from this Spanish artist named Pablo Alborán. I found him on Spotify and just went into a big Spanish music phase after being in Spain for six weeks late last year.”

What makes a good Coherian?

“Someone who brings in pastries every now and then. (laughs)

“Someone who brings in a positive vibe, a positive energy and just makes the workplace more pleasant.”

Read Felix’s blog about Shermer’s Neck here.

Interested in trying out Cohere? Snag a free day pass and visit us!

Or drop in for the free coworking day during Fort Collins Startup Week.

John Garvey is a Cohere member, business journalist and marketing copywriter. You can see his work on his crappy beta website here. Stay posted for John’s GoFundMe campaign to buy a bottle of 30-year Macallan. I won’t let ya have any, but I’ll sure be grateful!

Featured Startup Week Fort Collins Must-Attend Sessions

Gosh, half the battle of being in a tight-knit community is Just Showing Up. That’s what we need next week. All sorts of Coherians have put their hesitation on the back burner and their talents on stage to create amazing workshops for you to attend. FOR FREE as part of Startup Week.

Here are direct links to register for the free events, workshops and classes being put on by Coherians next week! If a session is full, go ahead and register for the wait list AND show up to the session. Only about 50% of people show up to the event so you can almost always get in even if you are wait listed.

Monday 2/26 Coworking Panel: Supercharge your business and have fun doing it. Feat. Angel, Chrysta, Mark and Beth

Tuesday 2/27 Voice and Visuals: Demystifying the Branding Process. Feat. Becca

Tuesday 2/27 Pricing 101: How to not be broke. Feat. Angel behind the scenes changing the entire stock presentation she was given.

Weds 2/28 Mega Software Meetup. Feat. all our software meetup friends who use Cohere on evenings and weekends.

Weds 2/28 Meetings People Want to Attend. Feat. Carrie Bennett (session is at Cohere how convenient!

Thursday 3/1 Selling Your Services Without Being Salesy. Feat. Chrysta

Thursday 3/1 She Leads Giant Happy Hour for Women sponsored by and happening at Cohere. Feat. Chrysta

Friday 3/2 Free Coworking Day at Cohere Feat. All of Us

Friday 3/2 Overcoming Imposter Syndrome. Feat. Chrysta (session at Cohere)

Friday 3/2 The First 7 Years: What I Wish I had Known When I Started My Business. Feat. Jeremy (session is at Cohere)

Friday 3/2 Revitalize Your Illustration Vocation. Feat. Courtney (session at Cohere)

See the full calendar of events here

Meet the Cohere Coworking Members: Gina Hooten

The Cohere coworking blog continues this week with a series written by Coherians ABOUT Coherians. We talk about their pastimes, specialties, why they joined a coworking space, their favorite places in Fort Collins and what keeps them attached to Cohere.

Gina Hooten

Financial Analysis & Cost Accounting Manager
• University of Utah

Gina has been remote working since 2010, when she first moved to Fort Collins. She mentioned to a friend at one point that working from home was driving her mad (an experience I’m guessing at least two-thirds of Coherians have had), and her friend mentioned coworking spaces. And guess who was super close to home and, coincidentally, awesome? You guessed it: Galvanize.

Just kidding, it was Cohere.

Gina, who does cost accounting for Utah State University, lived with her family in Logan, UT, Colombia, MO and Manhattan, KS prior to moving here. I occasionally glimpse at some project she’s working on in Excel and feel completely illiterate despite having an MBA.

In response to the question, “What’s your favorite place you have ever lived?” Gina basically told me: (D) All of the above.

“Fort Collins has the best beer, Logan had the best skiing, Missouri had the best pizza, Manhattan had the best football.”

I like this because, (a) It’s fashionable to disparage my home state, Kansas, but it gets old. I’m glad when people who live in great places like Fort Collins or Moab look back on life in Kansas and say, “That was great, too!” (b) Not that many people claim to have been equally happy living in several places so different from one another. Gina’s response reflects something I already know, which is that she’s a very positive person.

What makes Cohere unique?

“I think this place is unique because it’s funky and it’s full of entrepreneurs and creative types. So I’m an accountant, right? I come in here and I’m surrounded by people doing weird things. In my life I work with spreadsheets and most of the people in here are not. It has kind of a hippy vibe to me, just very earthy, and that’s one of the things I like about it the most. It’s very genuine and relaxed.”

Favorite hobbies:

Knitting, cross country and downhill skiing, hiking and reading (especially science fiction). Patricia Briggs, Gina’s favorite author, is her self-professed guilty pleasure.

Do you have any pet peeves?

“I have trouble listening to people eat. It bothers me a lot (laughs). Other than that, I’m pretty reasonable, I think.”

What’s your favorite walkable restaurant?

Pickle Barrel. It’s like the happiest place on the planet. I love it – It’s fantastic. And then Scrumpy’s is also very good. They’re fantastic. Their BLTC is the best, with guacamole instead of mayo, that’s where it’s at.”

What makes a good Coherian?

“I would say someone who likes to laugh, because I think that’s what we like to do here. It really makes this place so wonderful, that we crack each other up. That’s one of the reasons I like Cohere, is to laugh during the workday. Because otherwise there’s no point.”

Favorite books:

“Right now, Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson books are probably my favorite. She writes one book a year and I re-read all the ones before it before I read the new one. Picking up and reading a new book is sometimes like meeting new people, and sometimes it’s hard to do that. So I just keep reading books that I’ve read over and over again.”

Favorite movie:

Big Lebowski. “That’s our Christmas movie and we watch it every year.”

In case you, like me, just realized you’re about 15 years overdue for Lebowski fix, you may have to dig out the VCR because it’s not on Netflix. Don’t get it mixed up with the fax machine sitting in your parents’ basement.

Go-to work music: Xavier Rudd

“Interested in trying out Cohere? Snag a free day pass and visit us!”

John Garvey is a Coherian, business journalist and marketing copywriter. Browse his portfolio here. Do it.


Meet the Cohere Coworking Members: Drew MacPherson

The Cohere coworking blog continues this week with a series written by Coherians ABOUT Coherians. We talk about their pastimes, specialties, why they joined a coworking space, their favorite places in Fort Collins and what keeps them attached to Cohere.

Drew MacPherson

Research Manager

So coworkers, I finally figured out who’s behind all the weird new internet domains like .social, .today, .restaurant, .llc and even .rip (for Rest in Peace). It’s Drew.

Drew works for Donuts Inc, which manages the world’s largest portfolio of top level domains (TLDs).  Urban Dictionary helpfully defines TLDs as “the part of the url that comes after the final period and before the slash.” That’s pretty important to a lot of organizations and people managing their digital identities. For coworking, there isn’t a “.cowork” yet, but if you have about $225,000 burning a hole in your pocket, now you know who to talk to.

The most outlandish and funny domain that Drew ever encountered at work (TLD) was I know you’re disappointed you didn’t think of it first, but something else will come around.

Drew moved here in late 2016, three months prior to his son’s birth. He seems like he has his crap together a lot more than I ever remember feeling when my son was barely one year old.

“We came from Seattle, which I will take sunny and frigid cold over the winter weather there which, literally the forecast now is high of 43, low of 37, rain. Every day.”

Drew lived in Seoul, S. Korea for two years teaching English. Since that time, he’s lived in all the hipster places: a couple years in Austin, a fairly long stint in Seattle, and now Fort Collins.

What’s your favorite walkable restaurant?

“I’m definitely partial to Choice City, despite the insane waits some days. Their sandwiches are just super-delicious and I’ve definitely indulged in a sandwich and a pint on a Friday for lunch when I know I don’t have a lot of work to do.”

What’s makes Cohere special to you?

“Certainly the people are a big part of it. I’ve enjoyed meeting everyone that I have here and had some great funny conversations, some serious conversations.

“I do love the building itself. I mean, this building has soul and a bit of character and I know so many other spaces have kind of an office feel. So it’s really a cozy and comfortable place to come.”

Have you ever eaten a Puffin?

“I have not gotten to experience eating puffin – I consider this to be something missing from my life.”

Favorite pastime

“Honestly just walking. I’ve had a dog for ten years and made a commitment to walking it morning and evening. I’d probably, if I didn’t have to work, spend so much of my day walking. It’s simple but it’s wonderful.”

Favorite song

Sunday Morning Coming Down” (the Johnny Cash version)

Honorable mentions:

“These Days,” by Nicco is one of my favorites, my wife and I. She kind of introduced me to it and we had it as our procession song at the wedding. “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” is another favorite, as is “My Proud Mountains” by Townes Van Zandt.

Long live Townes Van Zandt!

“Interested in trying out Cohere? Snag a free day pass and visit us!”

My home is Colorado
With their proud mountains tall
Where the rivers like gypsies
Down her black canyons fall
I’m a long, long way from Denver
With a long way to go
So lend an ear to my singing
‘Cause I’ll be back no more

  • Townes Van Zandt

John Garvey is a Cohere member, business journalist and marketing copywriter. You can see his work on his crappy beta website here. Stay posted for John’s GoFundMe campaign to raise $250,000 for a .garvey top level domain.

Meet Cohere Coworking Member Tavia Mirassou-Wolf

The Cohere coworking blog continues this week with a series written by Coherians ABOUT Coherians. We talk about their pastimes, specialties, why they joined a coworking space, their favorite places in Fort Collins and what keeps them attached to Cohere.

Tavia Mirassou-Wolf

Communications and Development Manager

Sustainable Schools International

Tavia was most recently in her home state last September to run the Oregon Coast Rainshadow 50K. Coincidentally, her wedding reception was the following day.


While that was Tavia’s first ultramarathon, she’s done several triathlons and other endurance races.

“It’s definitely one of my biggest pastimes. I spend a lot of time exercising.”

Tavia’s trademark hair has been purple, pink and (currently) magenta in the past year.

“I’ve always liked to have a brighter color, because you only live once. You might as well have some fun.”

Tavia has a Master’s in Public Health with a focus on global health and health disparities. She has more nonprofit experience than you can shake a stick at. That includes working as a health educator and support group coordinator for individuals with HIV/AIDS, English as a second language and reading tutor for low-income kids, nonprofit development aid focused on education for foster children, and an internship in Uganda evaluating a mental health facilitator program.

“I’ve been working in nonprofits basically ever since I can remember.”

Tavia currently works for Sustainable Schools International (SSI), which focuses on sustainable education for rural economic development in Cambodia.

Summarize what you do with SSI

“I do communications and development so I do all the communications for Sustainable Schools International including social media, monthly newsletters, communicating with donors—anything that has to do with communications, I do it. And then I’m also the manager of development, which is basically fundraising. So I organize and implement all our fundraising appeals and then come up with strategies to gain more funding through grants and foundations and expanding our donor base—things like that.”

What’s your favorite walkable restaurant?

Jax happy hour is the best. Happy hour’s awesome because you can get shrimp for five dollars and their drinks are really good, and so are their truffle fried potatoes!”

What makes Cohere unique?

Tavia began coworking at Cohere one day a week, alternating between our digs and another coworking space. With regard to the other place, “I didn’t feel like there was a huge sense of community. … Their business model was more on education and classes for digital media and then private offices. So they had a coworking space but I don’t really feel like there was a sense of community.

“I feel like here it’s mostly based around community and co-working and I feel like people here share their lives a lot and it’s not just working, which is really cool.”

What makes a good Coherian?

“I think a good Coherian is someone who’s willing to be open and share and help each other and also someone who can receive help.”

What’s a weird talent or something else unusual about you that not a lot of people know?

“I don’t really have any interesting, pointless talents, but I do have nine toes.”

What keeps you grounded?

“One of the major things that keeps me sane is exercising. When I don’t exercise I’m a crazy person. … So that kinda keeps me sane, and then my husband Kirby keeps me sane too. He listens to me when I’m crazy and that’s helpful.”

Do you have a personal mantra?

“You know I haven’t had one for a really long time. I should get a new one, but it used to be ‘Don’t let the sun go down while you’re still angry.’ So I always thought that was a good thing to live your life by. Don’t stay angry too long because you never know what’s gonna happen.”

Favorite book?

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

Favorite movie?

Fight Club


Interested in trying out Cohere? Snag a free day pass and visit us!

John Garvey is a Cohere member, business journalist and marketing copywriter. Browse his portfolio here.

Meet the Cohere Coworking Members: Mark Nielsen

The Cohere coworking blog continues this week with a series written by Coherians ABOUT Coherians. We talk about their pastimes, specialties, why they joined a coworking space, their favorite places in Fort Collins and what keeps them attached to Cohere.

Mark Nielsen

Science Education Program Officer Recovering Research Scientist

An Evergreen native, Mark recently moved back to Colorado after a stint in Corvallis, Oregon (where he got a Ph.D. in oceanography), Boston, and D.C. He came back to be near his family and to enjoy the Colorado lifestyle, which as you may have noticed, does not suck.

Mark’s science education app, EarthViewer, has been downloaded 2 ½ million times. It’s available for IOS, Android and as a web app. EarthViewer is free, it’s got a 4+ star rating in the App Store and it provides a mountain of information on the geological history of the earth. Want to know what Indonesia looked like a billion years ago? Try it out.

A Science Education Program Officer, Mark produces educational materials for science classrooms. Among other things, he designs apps and works on documentary films. With regard to documentaries, he’s basically the idea and content manager. When you’re working with scientists that sometimes means being a jargon filter. It also means fact-checking.

What’s your favorite documentary film that you’ve been involved in?

The Farthest. It’s about the grand tour of the Voyager spacecrafts. On that one, I was sort of a behind the scenes fact checker. I just think it’s an amazing film because the science in it is truly awe-inspiring and incredible when you think about it. The Voyager spacecraft is the only spacecraft that’s left the solar system, so it’s the furthest thing that humans have ever sent out there. This artifact out there will go for billions of years and eventually that will be all that’s left of humankind—a little spacecraft that was launched 40 years ago.

So telling that story was truly incredible.

Trailer: The Farthest: Voyager in Space

What’s your favorite walkable restaurant?

La Luz. I go for the burritos. I love burritos, and it’s odd that I would walk that far since there are like 40 restaurants along the way, but I do.

For coffee, I go for Mugs.

What’s a quirky talent that you have?

I can move my chin without the rest of my face. I used to be able to actually grab a pencil with it. I think that might be my only talent.

John: I can attest to this weird and highly-amusing gift. I’m sure you have other talents, Mark, but if that’s your only quirky talent than it’s good enough for me.)

What’s something we don’t know about you?

I was actually born in Australia and traveled around the world until I was 18 months old. I don’t remember any of it, but I have a deep sense of wanderlust now.

Mark’s dad was an exploration geologist whose work took them to Africa, New Guinea, Bali and elsewhere. I felt stupid for not knowing where Bali was until I looked it up and realized it’s smaller than the park I walk my kids to. Anyway, back to Mark …

Mark: Danish was my first language. I was bilingual from the start but mostly Danish was spoken in the home.

I’m also addicted to karaoke.

What makes Cohere unique?

What makes Cohere special is the community, which is a bit cliché. I think we all say that. But a Coherian has to be a willing participant in that community. That’s what makes coming to work fun for me.

What’s your favorite thing about the physical space?

That’s tough. I’m gonna go with the overall structure. There’s not one big room. You have the main work area, you’ve got the kitchen, the living area, the small conference room, the large conference room—I’ve used all of them. I like all the different options, the variety, and I don’t have a favorite.

Let’s stay on the topic of favorites.

  • Favorite pastime: Hockey. And Mark will totally check you if provoked so if you’re gonna act like a tool make sure you’re wearing hockey pads.
  • Favorite song: “Comfortably Numb,” by Pink Floyd
  • Favorite book: Whatever I’m reading at the moment—I love to read. If I don’t like the first 50 pages I just move on to something else, but I get really into books so after the first 50 pages I have to read all night.

Currently reading: Waking Gods, by Sylvain Neuvel.

(I guess with a name like that it’s only natural to become a science fiction author.)

Interested in trying out Cohere? Snag a free day pass and visit us!

John Garvey is a Cohere member, business journalist and marketing copywriter. You can see his portfolio here

Meeting Space in Fort Collins

It can be hard to find just the right meeting room or conference space in Fort Collins. If you add Old Town or “free” to the mix, it gets even harder. Whether you’re planning a free meetup group or need a place to host a board meeting or company retreat, Cohere has you covered. Check out our affordable and sometimes free meeting spaces in Old Town Fort Collins.

Conference Room (ConferEssence Room)

We designed this space to banish the bland and bring a little softness to the cold hard meeting rooms around town. By using a softer color and goddess-inspired accessories, you can bring your group or team into this refreshing conference room and not feel too corporate.

Stats: Seats 12 around a large table or 20 in a circle or horseshoe configuration.


  • Wifi
  • Whiteboard
  • Projector
  • Smart TV flatscreen with apple tv or hdmi port
  • 4 tables on wheels
  • up to 20 stacking chairs
  • window
  • restroom is adjacent in hallway
  • $20/hour* or $120/day

Find a time to host your meeting on our Cohere Conference Room calendar at the bottom of this page.


If a meetup group needs free space to work and can give us some word of mouth, we offer our coworking area to their groups for free on weekends.

Stats: seats 9 at desks and 2 at standing desks for a total of 11 people.


  • Wifi
  • natural light
  • restrooms
  • kitchen/coffee
  • $40/hour* or $180/day

We donate space to meetup groups on a case by case basis so email Angel here to inquire.

Small Meeting Room

Sometimes you just need to meet a client or two and wish you didn’t have to do that at the coffee shop. Our small conference room is perfect for freelancers and entrepreneurs who want to host meetings in a professional setting.

Stats: 4-5 around a rectangular table with comfy chairs


  • Wifi
  • whiteboard
  • window
  • restroom is adjacent in hallway
  • $15/hour* or $90/day
  • coffee for you and your guests

Find a time to host your meeting on our Small Meeting Room calendar at the bottom of this page.

Meet the Cohere Coworking Members: Chrysta Bairre

The Cohere coworking blog continues this week with a series written by Coherians ABOUT Coherians. We talk about their pastimes, specialties, why they joined a coworking space, their favorite places in Fort Collins and what keeps them attached to Cohere.

Chrysta Bairre

Career Coach • Speaker • Author

Chrysta came to Fort Collins from the Denver area in 2003 rather than relocating to the East Coast with the company she was working for (Good call). “For me, coming to Fort Collins was a clean slate that felt really good,” she recently told me.

“I had worked at a staffing agency in Denver and I had the inside scoop on a lot of companies that were hiring there. It made me think that I didn’t want to work for them.”

(That makes me think of some bullets I could have dodged.…)

One of the catalysts for Chrysta’s business was her work/life balance blog which started drawing a lot of attention five or six years ago.

“I was finding that more and more people were coming to me for advice and really valued my counsel, and I was happy to give it. And I had people tell me ‘You should do this for a living.” I think the first time someone said that to me, I was like, ‘Do what? I don’t understand.’ I really didn’t see how that would work or what it would look like.”

By and by, that idea took shape, Chrysta received her career coaching certification and a company was born. She helps people get un-stuck in their careers, increase their influence, earn more and, for business owners, get more clients.

Although Chrysta has a personal office below our shared workspace, she spends a lot of time among us coworkers. She’s kind of a mover and shaker, always planning workshops and events including her women’s networking and leadership Meetup She Leads.

What’s something you find especially rewarding about your work?

What I find most rewarding about my work is when someone that I’ve been working with, or someone that’s just come to a workshop or speech I’ve given, is able to achieve one of their goals because of something that we’ve worked on together.

Looking at examples of people in my life and how I’ve helped them achieve more in their lives has always been a source of great reward for me.

What’s a quirky talent of yours?

I can plug my nose with my upper lip—built in nose plug! I thought everyone could do this and I brought it up to a group of my friends and realized that there was no one in the room other than me that could.

What’s your favorite walkable neighborhood restaurant or shop?

I for sure love to go to Avo’s (Avogadro’s Number) for Tempeh Tuesday because their tempeh burgers are the best, and Ace Hardware is a lot of fun. There’s all this kind of weird stuff in there that’s kind of cool.

… I mean there’s helpful stuff too. (It’s a hardware store.)

What makes Cohere unique?

What I love most about Cohere is the community that’s been built around the members. I love that in the living room there’s this nature painting that has a UFO in it. I feel that that painting is representative of what kind of community Cohere is and of its members.

For the most part, I think we’re all a little bit oddballs. We’re pretty mainstream, but we all have our little quirks and we come together in our quirks and we create this beautiful quirkiness. And that’s what I love about Cohere—it’s that element of uniqueness and comfort with just being whoever you are.

Yeah, that was the weirdest picnic I’ve ever been to.

I also feel like Angel’s a visionary in many ways and I like how she’s always doing something to improve the community and the space. There’s little improvements happening all the time. … She’s always finding ways to create a space that’s more comfortable, that’s better, more progressive.

What makes a good Coherian?

I think it goes back to that quirkiness. Most of us are creative in some form or another, so creativity, but also a willingness to show up authentically, even if that means being a little bit weird. Not being weird on purpose, you know, but…

John: Like Fort Collins weird as opposed to Boulder weird.

Chrysta: Yeah, right? But I also think people that care about the community, who want to be part of it and engage with people and make connections.

You want to spend time with people that are quirky and fun but also genuine and heartfelt. I feel like that’s something that I think every member I know here has in spades.

What’s your favorite pastime?

I have so many … I’m actually am a huge nerd, so in general being nerdy about anything that I’m really into, whether it’s a certain musician or band, science fiction, horror movies. I like to be around my nerdy peeps, and I like to go places where I can find my nerdy peeps.

I have a coloring book collection that I’ve been working on since my teens and I haven’t counted in a while but I probably have more than sixty. Other people are invited to color in my coloring books to—I just have one rule that they sign and date it.

Chrysta was ahead of the curve on that one.

Interested in trying out Cohere? Snag a free day pass and visit us!

Our blog is pretty awesome.
What are you looking for?

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Stay in touch with news and events from the Cohere community with a monthly subscription to our newsletter.

The only spam we like is fried. We assume you feel the same.