Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.”
This is just one of many inspirational pull quotes found throughout the Emerald, a co-working space for women that recently opened in southern Scottsdale last month.
And they’re words that set the tone for what the space represents: empowerment, inspiration and collaboration among women of all professional backgrounds.
“We’re really trying to offer as many different opportunities for women to learn and grow their businesses as well as have some social experiences just for networking,” said Abby Leadon, co-founder of the Emerald.
The Emerald is a 4,300-square-foot workspace with open seating, private offices, dedicated desks, a conference room, a library, a vanity wall, a café and a quiet room where moms can pump if they so choose to.
It’s a far cry from your typical office space.
The Emerald – located in the Quad business complex off Thomas Road and 64th Street – looks more like a chic, on-trend hotel lounge, swimming in luxe furniture and striking black and gold-hued lighting and decor.
“When we found this space, it just spoke to us,” Leadon said. “It had everything we wanted and needed and dropped on us last minute, the 11th hour.”
Leadon and co-founder Ashlyn Rowe found the office space in July – just four months before doors opened.
The idea of the Emerald came to Rowe in 2017 while reading a Forbes article.
Rowe had always wanted to start her own company, but she felt she didn’t have the right network or connection to help her.
That’s when Rowe reached out to Leadon about starting their own collaborative workplace where women could gather, exchange ideas and inspire one another.
“I’d rather work with women,” Leadon said. “I feel like we bounce ideas off each other a little bit easier. Plus, with the support network, we feel we’re always overwhelmed with inspiration and motivation from other women.”
Rowe is a realtor, philanthropist and has worked in the entrepreneur industry for the last 10 years. Leadon is, too, a philanthropist and marketing consultant. Their expertise combined makes them a power duo.
“Ashlyn and I work really well together as business partners, and I think that’s really hard to find,” Leadon said. “I feel like we’re the yin and yang of one another. She inspires me.”
The Emerald offers three membership plans, a three-month, six-month and 12-month plan. Prices range from $95 to $850 per month, and each package offers varying amenities, guest passes and event, conference room and co-working space access.
Before the Emerald even celebrated its grand opening party on Nov. 14, they already had 30 members, and Leadon and Rowe expect that number to increase substantially over the following weeks.
“It makes us feel like we’re doing the right thing because everyone’s so excited to have a home base to go to meet other women and feel inspired by each other and really create a community,” Leadon said. “The amount of connections women has already made with one another before our space even opened ... we can only imagine what’s going to take place as soon as women get in here.”
So far, members run the gamut.
In addition to accountants, interior designers, trainers, authors and business coaches, “we’ve got realtors, we have bloggers, boutique owners, we have women that are charitable and work in nonprofits,” Leadon said.
Auctioneer Letitia Frye is a member, too.
“Letitia is a huge inspiration,” Leadon said. “Just her story of how she’s a self-made woman, literally. She’s a self-taught auctioneer, and she built her business from zero. She’s incredible.”
Frye recently gave a talk on “how to prepare for the unseen as you climb the ladder from act one to act two in your life” on Dec. 10.
All events held at the Emerald are open to members and non-members, and they’re meant to help women charge ahead professionally – be it taking new, fresh headshots or learning tips and tricks from entrepreneurs and mothers, alike, at their roundtable events.
“It’s taking the fear out of it and hearing the real life stories of other women and feeling like you connect with them,” said Leadon. “Now you have a friend and an advocate because it’s that much easier when you have a supportive network of women who stand behind you and what you’re doing.”
These events are what Rowe and Leadon say sets the Emerald apart from other co-working spaces, including Thrive Coworking for Women, which opened in January in Gilbert.
“Events are not as well-driven over there, and we offer a pretty extensive event platform here at our space,” Leadon said. “We’re really trying to offer as many different opportunities for women to learn and grow their businesses, as well as have some social experiences just for networking.”
As far as the name “The Emerald” is concerned, it almost literally fell into Rowe’s lap.
“My daughter brought home a picture,” Rowe said. “It was her first school picture, and they had done the Popsicle sticks around it for the frame, and on the picture they had written, ‘You’re a gem.’”
Rowe took it as a sign. She had already been considering using “emerald” in the name, but this moment sealed it.
“It was something that was different,” Leadon said. “It was elegant. It’s feminine, and the color green has really nice themes associated with it.”
Themes of growth, money, new beginnings all came to mind for Rowe – plus “the fact that emeralds are multifaceted,” Leadon added.
Shortly after, they came up with the tagline: a creative workspace for the multifaceted woman.
“So, we call all our members our ‘gems,’” Leadon said.
The message Rowe wants to get across to not only their gems, but to the community as a whole is that this is the time and the year of the woman.
“We’ve gotten here by really showing society that we can do it all,” Rowe said. “We can be moms, we can be friends, we can be wives and also have amazing businesses.”
The Emerald may have been open one mere month, but Rowe and Leadon are far from slowing down.
They’re already looking ahead at space No. 2.
“Hopefully that will be in the works later next year,” Rowe said. “But five-year plan – big picture – we’re looking multi-state.”