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Felena Hanson — Founder, Hera Hub

Felena Hanson (FH): When I say I want to build 20oo locations and help 20,000 women across the world launch and grow their business, people will like pull back and, like, oh my gosh, wow, that’s daunting, how are you going to do that?

I get the phrase ‘that’s aggressive,’ all the time. And I say ‘would you have said to me if I was a man?’

CARD: Felena Hanson — Founder – Hera Hub — San Diego, California — USA

SOT: Hello, ladies! 

FH: Hera Hub is a shared work and meeting space. We focus on female entrepreneurs. My competition is someone’s spare bedroom and Starbucks.

SOT: Go big or go home (laughter).

FH: I was born in a fairly small town on the central coast of California and I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. My father had a floor covering business. Very exciting – carpet, tile, hardwood.  My mother was an artist and a performer.

My parents were married young and probably not the best suited for each other. And so when they finally decided to divorce there was a fierce custody battle.

The impact this had on me was I’m fiercely independent. And I really decided at a young age that I would not be dependent on somebody else.

CARD: Felena graduated college with a business degree in 1995. She began a career in marketing.

CARD: When she was 22, she was in a life-threatening car accident.

FH: I broke about 27 bones in my arms, legs and face. I was in a wheelchair for about three months. And, boy, what a great wake-up call, to really give you some perspective. I really stepped back and said, ‘okay, what am I doing with my life?’

CARD: Felena  decided to leave her corporate job and moved to San Diego.  She started her own marketing firm – working from home.

FH: Working at home is, frankly, convenient and, obviously, cost-effective but it has its downsides. Distractions: I live with my long-time boyfriend and his son and sometimes it can be hard to focus.

And, also, isolating, frankly. You stick a woman in a room, staring at a blank wall, talking to her cat for 8 years…that was me. And it’s hard to innovate, it’s hard to think about new ideas.

CARD: Felena knew other business women facing similar challenges.

CARD: She began to explore the potential of a shared workspace business.

FH: What I found is, in many, many cases, these coworking spaces were targeted to a younger, high-tech demographic. So a lot of times it’s a bunch of dudes, in skinny jeans and headphones, with, and you know, rock music playing in the background. It’s not quite at the stage of my life what I’m looking for in a workspace.

So my concept was to take this coworking world that was very male-focused and apply a spa aesthetic to it. Nice lighting, soft music, running water.

CARD: But realtors were reluctant to rent to her.

FH: This is a new business and a new concept and I got a lot of people going ‘What, workspace for women? What is this? What, you want to rip the whole center of the place out and open it up? You don’t want cubicles? What are you talking about’

CARD: After three years, Felena finally secured a place.

CARD: Using her life savings and a loan from her father, she opened Hera Hub in August 2011.

FH: One of the common misconceptions about a female-focused workspace is that we’re all selling each other jewelry, and that’s not true. These are professional women who simply need a space to work, on a flexible basis, they need a place to meet clients outside the coffee shop and they need that sense of community.

CARD: Members include accountants, attorneys, management consultants, and educators.

SOT: Any thoughts about Friday? So far so good. Ok, awesome.

CARD: After just a year, Felena opened two more Hera Hub locations in San Diego.

FH: My goal over the next five years is to launch 200  Hera Hub locations internationally, so I’ve decided to franchise the business. I have confidence in it because I believe what I’m doing. And why not be confident? What’s the alternative? Being meek and scared? That’s no way to live life!

Credits:

Producers – Victoria Wang and Sue Williams
Director – Sue Williams
Editor – Merril Stern
Director of New Media and Outreach –  Colleen DeBaise
Director of Photography – Sam Shinn
Associate Producer – Nusha Balyan
Assistant Editor – Matt Strickland
Social Media Coordinator – Heather Mangal
Music – Killer Tracks

Photos Courtesy of:
123rf

© Ambrica Productions