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.

Typical.

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

Mellow.

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.)

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

www.liveandlovework.com

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.

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