Bring out the big scissors. This week, a brand new co-working space opens in Bozeman. Located in the hip and rehabbed Cannery District, Sky Oro is a co-working space designed by women, for women. Though men are certainly welcome to use the space, Sky Oro founders Amanda Diehl and Christina Calabrese call the space a women-centric community space.
“The truth is, we’re not women only,” Calabrese explains. “We’re just women focused.”
As the number of remote and freelance workers continues to rise globally, co-working spaces will, too. In 2018, research from Coworking Resources shows that an estimated 2,188 spaces were opened worldwide. Of those co-working spaces, 1,000 are in the U.S. This year, data shows nearly 700 new spaces are set to open in the U.S. in cities like Bozeman with “budding startup cultures,” research states.
Men have long enjoyed access to clubs and associations where they could be mentored, supported in career and stimulated socially. For working women, those spaces have been less ubiquitous. That’s where Sky Oro comes in. It will offer women a place to take meetings, collaborate with others and work in an open-concept room with couches, cozy chairs and tables of varying sizes. There are no designated cubicles. Floating shelves for a take-a-book, leave-a-book library line the south-facing walls of the space.
Exactly what the space will look like on a typical workday is yet to be seen, Calabrese says. On a Monday morning, for example, she expects Sky Oro members will be hunkered in with mugs of coffee or tea, (provided to members by local Treeline Coffee) getting a jump on the week. By late Friday afternoon, she suspects there will be emails among members inviting one another to share a glass of wine and unwind. Both are exactly what Calabrese and Diehl had in mind.
In the space between Monday’s hard work and Friday’s unwinding is a Sky Oro calendar of events centered around professional development, social connection, health and wellness and social causes. Members enjoy access to eight events each month. Events are offered before hours, during lunch or after typical business hours to help accommodate schedules.
Sky Oro currently has 242 members. Some of those are scholarship recipients and some memberships are provided as a company perk. Among those members are entrepreneurs, business owners, part-time employees, remote employees, political activists, nonprofit and community leaders and working moms.
Sky Oro working moms have a cozy feeding/soothing room, if they bring their baby along. For Calabrese and Diehl, this touch is personal. Both women are new mothers. A feat itself (not to mention opening and operating a brand new co-working space while maintaining full-time jobs). The pair of founders also represent the kind of women they hope flock to Sky Oro. Diehl is a remote worker who wanted a place to connect with other women in real life. But not just any place. A space with driven, connected, passionate women. Calabrese works in Big Sky in real estate development alongside members of her family. She wanted to create a space where other professionals could get out of their silos and learn about what’s going on in the community.
Both women are passionate about Sky Oro being a place for growth and mentorship. The initial cohort of members was asked to write down one big goal or intention for the year. So far, those intentions run the gamut from personal to career. To accomplish those goals, members have already started meeting up and sharing ideas.
As Bozeman continues its trend as the fastest growing micropolitan city in the nation, flocks of new arrivals bring jobs from elsewhere and look toward a place like Sky Oro to form important business and personal connections. Calabrese’s hope for her first year in business?
“Establish relationships first, and then talk about doing business,” she says.