Rowan Tree: A Coworking Community to Support Challenges and Joy

 In RT Blog

Written by Rowan Tree Member Laurie Levine, LCSW

A Surprising Evening of Connection

My good friend Roberta said, “Come over, I’m having an event for a new co-working space.” I wasn’t sure what co-working was and my inner cheapskate wasn’t into spending money for wine I don’t drink, but it included a photo shoot and my website was due for some new headshots. So, on a late summer evening, I cut a check and headed over to “Shots and Shots” hosted by Rowan Tree.

When I arrived two cute bubbly women greeted me; at first I couldn’t remember their names, and then I didn’t know which was which.  Many other young female business owners mingled about; one woman with a beautiful smile and bright red lipstick particularly stood out.  I also met a woman who had been at my synagogue and we played a bit of Jewish Geography (aka Six Degrees of Separation). It ended up being a nice evening to connect.

Coworking Focused on Women

A few weeks later, Roberta started co-working at the newly opened Rowan Tree space. I have an office where I see my psychotherapy clients (which I love) so I had no need for this new enterprise, but I popped over one day to visit Roberta.

When I entered I was stunned. Rowan Tree is beautiful; it is warm and welcoming and has twinkly fairy lights. The two bubbly women were there and excited that I had visited. They told me that they loved my proofs from the headshots. I was shocked that they even knew who I was; it was at that moment that I realized how genuine they were and began to appreciate the magic that is Rowan Tree. Roberta took me for a tour where I saw how the owners had planned and thought through every single detail.

I drove the two miles to my office and kept thinking about this warm twinkly place. “I don’t need it,” my head said. “I have an office.” “But it’s so cool there,” I argued back, “and they have really good tea.” “But why pay money (see above: cheapskate) for a workspace when you have a cozy office a stone’s throw away?”

Do I Need a Coworking Community?

I did some more research and decided that a Community Membership would be an economical way to become part of this new and growing group of women entrepreneurs. On a gray December day in between clients, I raced over to the “Treehouse” and sat with Kate, one of the two owners whose name I finally remembered.  And, like that, I had put down my roots at Rowan Tree.

This place has become a second home. I cannot walk into the space without being greeted and hugged by one of the many members.  I have spent hours sitting across a desk from Danielle admiring her bright red lipstick and as much time chatting with Jen about synagogue politics, work and family.  Amy, co-owner and graphic designer, whose name I also now know, collaborated with me to create a special graduation gift for my daughter. There are no strangers at Rowan Tree; the newest member is a potential friend, colleague, or referral source.  

A Community to Support Challenges and Joy

As the new school year begins, I am thankful for this warm place that is so welcoming. I am personally transitioning into a new phase and am grateful to have Rowan Tree as a loving safety net.

I am suddenly an empty nester; I drove my youngest child to college last week. Bus schedules, bag lunches and tri-folds for the science fair (I will NOT miss those) are in my rearview mirror. I have no carpools to drive or sports banquets to attend.  It is a very emotional and bittersweet adjustment.

Last week I was at a Sage Session at Rowan Tree. This is a private monthly meeting for members where we gather to share challenges (professional or personal), looking for sage advice from our brilliant co-members.  When it was my turn, I spoke about my impending empty nest and immediately had everyone’s attention. They were compassionate and understanding and already planning a night out with food, fun and distractions to keep me afloat.

This community.  This Rowan Tree. This is a place that I know I can slip into if I am sad, anxious or brimming with joy; these are my people and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

About the Author

Laurie Levine is  a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Virginia.  She received her Master’s in Social Work degree from The Catholic University of America in 1991 and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Brandeis University in 1987.

Laurie worked for Prince William County for 14 years with foster children, high risk adolescents, in the schools, with substance abusing populations and doing group and family therapy. She was employed with The Child and Family Counseling Group from 2005-2012 working with adults, adolescents, families and couples. She now has a thriving private practice in Herndon.

Outside of the office, Laurie is active with her family and in the community. She finds that her life experiences, both rewarding and challenging, help her to be compassionate and understanding when working with clients whose life experiences often mirror her own.

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