9. Liz Elam - Entrepreneur and Curator of Link Coworking

Episode 9 - Liz Elam

Guest: Liz Elam, Entrepreneur and Curator of Link Coworking

In this Episode, we get the juicy download from Liz Elam on the Global Coworking Conference Unconference recently hosted in Australia.

Liz is a well-known veteran of the coworking industry. She opened her first Link Coworking space in Austin in 2010 and her second location shortly after. She was a founding member of LEXC, the League of Extraordinary Coworking spaces, and its president for the first two years. She was also the driving force behind CoShare, the industry’s association. And she took over GCUC several years ago and is driving it’s major global expansion. Liz has her finger on the pulse of coworking and where it’s going and often gets quoted by the press. Speaking of the press, in her spare time, she writes for entrepreneur.com.

In our conversation, Liz shares what most surprised her about GCUC Australia, GCUC expansion plans and where she thinks coworking will go in the next 5 years.

Insights from Liz:

Most people know "coworking" Liz...but I know a few very interesting nuggets about your passion projects outside of coworking. Can you tell us two things about you that no one would know from seeing you onstsage at GCUC or reading your articles in entrepreneur.com?  

Liz has always been a very avid and passionate photographer.  While growing up she wanted to be a lawyer or a photographer for National Geographic. The love for her camera and her iPhone 6 has prompted her to even start a Pinterest board for her pictures from her iPhone 6. She goes on to explain that photography “feeds and soul and makes her happy.” She also reveals that many people don't know that she attended Texas A&M and majored in journalism to fulfill her deep love of writing. She wishes she had more time to write, as it doesn't get to often.

GCUC Australia was your first International GCUC. What about the conference did you least expect?  

Liz was very surprised on the first day of the conference with how engaged everyone was in the conference as well as how everyone was very focused in the social media goal to attain #3 trending status in Australia. With the posting being done on Facebook, they were trending at #6 for Australia. Liz had a goal to get to #3 but the end of the conference, and after making an announcement at the conference they were able to meet their goal.

What  were the most interesting nuggets for those of us that couldn't get Down Under?   Liz explains that worldwide everyone is facing the same challenges in their coworking spaces. The only major difference is government impact and support-what works and what doesn't work. She goes on to list the difference in other countries ranging from governments making their own coworking space to other country governments paying people to hang out in their coworking spaces. What she finds most interesting is how coworking isn't happening in a “silo” but rather on a global level.

GCUC Toronto is next. What are you most looking forward to?  Liz  is looking forward to is seeing how Ashley Proctor chooses to localize GCUC Toronto. GCUC partners are given free reign of how to run their own show and plan their agendas. She is also excited about the Life After Coworking panel, a relatively unexplored topic around how people transitioned back into the work world of other careers after co-working.

Any tidbits you can share about more GCUC expansion?  Liz will be headed down to South America in October to start a GCUC conference there. They are also in the middle of building a website in 3 different languages- English, Spanish and Portuguese. Right now she is working on the agenda and tickets for South America, as well as working on expanding to other regions as well.

In your spare time, you run coworking spaces in Austin. What's next for you in coworking outside of GCUC?  Liz is forming partnerships focused on growth.  The plan is to open spaces together in a partnership and run them as a team. Her partnerships are focused on expansion in Austin. According to Liz running her own space “feeds her soul”, as it allows her to offer a haven to people to get away from the business world of cutter. He ability to offer a “respite from the storm” drives her to do this for other people.

With your global view of coworking, what is your crystal ball telling you about coworking in the next five years?  Liz predicts that in the future there will be incredible growth, consolidation, a lot of money flowing around, and a lot of  large players investing in the coworking market.

Where can we find you online?

Resources Mentioned in this Podcast:

Referenced in Podcast:

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PodcastJamie Russo