February 27, 2013

Biz Mama: Jamie Russo of Enerspace

Filed under: Biz Mama,Local (Chicago) — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am
Biz Mama: Jamie Russo of Enerspace

Left to right: Enerspace yoga session, Jamie Russo, and the Enerspace coworking space in Chicago

Biz Mama columnJamie Russo of Enerspace has a lot of start-up experience as well as big co consulting and brand management. Her passion is health and wellness, particularly helping people create a lifestyle that helps them excel at their business endeavors and achieve superior mental and physical wellness. After growing a health services company that became focused on getting employees at large companies engaged in their health, she conceived of this idea to fully integrate work and wellness.  The ability to self-select a work environment through coworking spaces is an explosive trend and she is shaping the ability to choose an environment that fosters optimal well-being. Chicago is the first location. Enerspace will be taking workplace + wellness national in 2014.

I was introduced to Jamie—a fellow West Loop business owner—through a mutual friend. I found that we had much in common, including children around the same age and a love of health and wellness. She loves to talk and write about integrating wellness into work space design and is available for speaking engagements and guest blogging (contact her).

Jamie Russo of Enerspace

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

I am the Chief Work + Wellness Officer of Enerspace which is a coworking space for entrepreneurs and mobile professionals. The first location has been open almost exactly one year and we just doubled the size of that location so I still wear a lot of hats. I have an outstanding woman running the space now and am trying to shift my focus to growing the business and writing and speaking about workspace design of the future.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

My daughter, Dagny is 15 months old. Our first “child” is a male mini GoldenDoodle named Miles J. He’s three.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

I had wanted to start my own business for a long time. A few years into the last start-up, where I had been the first employee but still not a founder, I was committed to making that happen. I got to a point where I just needed to be more in control of my life, both bigger picture and day to day. That was for me but also turned out to be very important to integrating a child into our family. While working on my business, I also got pregnant with Dagny. A famous Chicago architect once said “Make no little plans” so I forged ahead. I signed my lease in September, had Dagny on November fifth and started the build-out for Enerspace a couple of weeks after that.  I opened for business when she was three months old (and in the hands of an amazing nanny).

How did your business life change after having children?

Before I had a child, I was almost solely focused on career success. I worked long hours (nights, weekends), traveled a lot to meet with clients. I had an end goal in mind but wasn’t enjoying the journey. Now that I have a child, I have an unalterable commitment to doing what I am passionate about while STILL being successful. I just define my own success now.

I believe in working smarter, not longer, and I try to stay focused on designing my work around the life that I want to live vs. (barely) living around my work. This outlook is for my personal happiness, to help me to be a better mom day-to-day and to be a role model for my daughter.

Describe a typical workday.

Due to the nature of owning a coworking space and the stage that it’s in, there is no typical day. When I’m in Chicago, I get up at 5:30, go to Rowfit, then spend as much time with members and networking as I can. When I’m in the Bay Area, I get up at 5 am to get a start on priorities for the day and get organized. I go to CrossFit three times a week from 6 am to 7 am and other days I run sometime during the day to get my Vitamin D and to refocus and stay productive.

My ideal typical day would be: Get up, catch up on news, participate in social media activities, generate some content (blog post, book chapter), work out, make breakfast for Dagny while addressing any time-sensitive things going on at Enerspace. I have someone that runs the space but I am still very involved. Then, eat breakfast with Dagny, drop her at the sitter. Come home, answer emails, work on PR/Marketing, work on business plans for expansion, network for coffee or lunch, continue projects from the morning, catch up on a few personal things, take Miles to the dog park, pick up Dagny. Enjoy a healthy family dinner with my family. I try to doing significant work after Dagny goes to bed to a couple of nights a week. The other nights are spent with my husband planning weekend trips and watching Downton Abbey and Homeland.

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

Value your time. If you own a business that you can/want to grow, then think about what activities are taking time away from that growth. Cleaning your house, planning meals, buying groceries, cooking, getting the dog groomed.  Outsource those things.  In Chicago, for $15-$20/hour, you can have a very qualified individual do all those things for you.

The moms that I know that own businesses, and don’t seem like they’re on the ledge half the time, get other people to do these things for them so that they can either make more money or have the leisure time and flexibility that you deserve for working so hard/smart.  If you can bill a client $75/hour, then it makes economic sense to pay someone $20/hour to take your dog to the groomer. Save your down time for value-added activities like enjoying the dog park with your dog, eating dinner with your family, or getting a manicure!  For $100/week you could eliminate your errands enjoy your weekend and maintain your health and sanity.


Chicago, Illinois / San Mateo, California
Facebook: enerspace
Enerspace Blog

October 24, 2012

Client stories: Tribe Wellness

Filed under: Client Stories — Tags: , , , , , , — lidia @ 10:59 am

Tribe Wellness empowers parents to raise healthy kids. With a focus on healthy “real food” nutrition and physical activity that engages the entire family, they provide parents with the information and guidance they need through health education and coaching programs.

Owner Amy Nadelen is a mom, wife, and entrepreneur.  She began Tribe Wellness, Inc. in 2012 to combine her passion for health & wellness, with her education & business experience. She brings almost fifteen years of varied experience in the health care field. She earned her Masters Degree in Health Promotion and Education from the University of Rochester’s School of Nursing. Her career path has taken her from community outreach for the county health department, to working as a Wellness Strategist for a health insurer, where she developed and implemented employee wellness programs. Amy is a Certified Worksite Health Promotion Manager, as well as a Wellcoaches® Certified Wellness Coach.

Amy Nadelen of Tribe Wellness

Amy I met through a mutual friend (coincidentally, also named Amy). I was looking forward to working with Amy to design her branding and marketing materials because I love working with people who are excited about their new business, not to mention my interest in health and wellness. Being a mom myself, we also found we had things in common along the way.

Amy Nadelen of Tribe Wellness

Tell us a little about your business

Tribe Wellness provides health education and health coaching programs to parents to help them raise healthy families.  Our primary focus is on clean eating—eating a real food, unprocessed, balanced diet. We love to help parents convert their “picky eaters” into “healthy eaters”. Our programs include My Tribe Eats Clean, a four week telephonic coaching program that educates parents on healthy, clean eating and helps them to develop a customized real food plan for their family. We also help families get active through our My Fit Family programs, along with our transformational 12-week health enhancement program called Our Healthy Tribe. We have an active Facebook Community, along with a regular blog called “Kids Eat Clean”, and a monthly newsletter “Health Tips for My Tribe”.

What do you love best about your job?

The flexibility and autonomy that it offers. Allows more balance between work life and home life. I can create something that is truly mine in a way that allows me to positively impact other’s lives.

How has your past work experience influenced your current career?

It has helped me to become very goal-oriented, fine-tuned my business expertise, and gave me a great foundation in the arena of health and wellness.

What do you like best about working with Lidia Varesco Design?

Lidia’s creative and immediate understanding of my needs.

What is your favorite project that we’ve worked on together?

My logo. I am ALWAYS getting complimented on it! It is helping me to establish a very strong brand.

What has being a mom taught you about business?

The need to be flexible at all times! Sick kid? Work from home, move your schedule around, get things done on the weekend or after bed time. The “work day” is no longer defined by a standard 9-5 schedule.

Learn more:

Tribe Wellness

Rochester, NY (they serve clients regardless of geographic location)

twitter: @tribewellness
Facebook: TribeWellness

Biz Mama Featured Project blog post:

Tribe Wellness branding and marketing materials

September 17, 2012


Filed under: Health & Wellness — Tags: , , — lidia @ 5:19 pm

The view from my yoga mat

I used to be an avid yoga enthusiast. I even did prenatal yoga quite regularly when I was expecting. And then I had a baby. Who didn’t sleep for the first 10 months.

Now that Little One’s just over a year old and sleeping well, I’m slowly getting back into my yoga routine. One of the things I missed was how great yoga made me feel—especially during busy weeks when I logged a lot of computer time. A regular yoga/stretching routine even helped me bounce back from a case of wrist tendinitis, so I can’t sing its praises enough.

The benefits of yoga for a busy biz mama

  1. It melts away the day’s stress—and pulls back my (computer-induced) hunched over shoulders
  2. It allows me one glorious hour to myself, where I don’t have to worry about anyone being fed, changed or walked
  3. It clears my mind of any work tasks and prepares me for the weekend with my family

I’ve been taking outdoor yoga classes in a park near my office, so it has the added benefit of spending an hour in fresh air and sunshine. Friday can’t come soon enough!