Women focused co-working space offers ‘beacon of progressiveness in Sumner County’

The house is full of distractions and the coffee shop down the street is packed — now what?

Enter The Collab; Sumner County’s only women focused co-working space.

Designed as a co-working space for women and event space for all, The Collab co-founders Emma Holland and Fabi Cordaro jumped on the chance to offer a space that allows nearby professionals to be productive, inspired and to connect with others.

All kinds of leadership, business and entrepreneurial roles co-work at The Collab, such as: certified public accountants, realtors, financial advisors, fashion consultants, freelancers, marketing positions and more.

“It really runs the gamut, and we love that because we’re building this network of women who come from all different walks of life and have different experiences and different expertise and we’re building this community where they can really learn how to connect,” Holland said.

Pictured left to right: Emma Holland, Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown, Fabi Cordaro and Gallatin Chamber of Commerce CEO Kim Baker.

Cordaro and Holland connected in 2021 during a Mom’s Night Out event, expressing a shared need for community with other women in a similar stage of life.

“Fabi and I, along with two other women, started The Women’s Collaborative, so it’s like a free community group for women where we decided to start hosting monthly happenings,” Holland said.

These monthly happenings ranged from a Mom’s Night Out to having lunch or a happy hour social gathering.

And in those monthly meetings, Cordaro saw another need emerging.

Women of all walks of life — work from home moms, business leaders, entrepreneurs and 9-5er’s — needed a dedicated space to get things done.

Co-founders Fabi Cordaro and Emma Holland opened The Collab to provide women a place to work and grow together in Sumner County.

“Fabi really had this calling on her heart to find a way to connect them and support them more, so she started hosting these master classes… with lots of different leaders from across the country that she would connect with online, and hold Zoom meetings as a way to virtually connect,” she said.

“That was really powerful just to see that all come to life, just a way to support other women and have other people in our area learn about them,” she said.

Women-only co-working in Middle TN

Not long after, Holland and Cordaro began looking for a physical space to better support women in the community.

“A space where we could consistently meet, consistently share and grow and build together, because there’s not currently a great place to do that,” Holland said.

Located at 132 Maple Row Blvd., Suite 640, in Hendersonville, the multiracial women owned and operated co-working space may be one-of-a-kind in Sumner County, but not Middle TN.

The Collab offers women a place for community and co-working in Hendersonville.

Other women-focused co-working spaces have popped up around the Greater Nashville area in recent years.

Here’s a few in the Middle Tennessee area:

Remote workers themselves, Holland and Cordaro set out to learn more about the world of co-working last year.

“What does co-working look like? What does women-focused co-working look like? Who else is doing it?” Holland asked. “So, I started researching and learning more and more,” she said.

Co-founders Fabi Cordaro and Emma Holland opened The Collab to provide women a place to work and grow together in Sumner County.

Co-working is an ever increasingly popular communal work environment among remote professionals across the country, which proved to be what the duo was after, though it needed a little tweaking.

“What we need is different from that because we are looking for a way to also build community, not just as a space for women to come and work, but really a space for women to come and connect with each other and grow together personally and professionally in a safe space that allows them to be inspired and thrive,” she said.

The rise of women dedicated co-working spaces

One thing Holland and Cordaro realized in their research was that women-focused spaces are popping up everywhere and rapidly.

Co-working spaces reserved for women are an emerging niche across the country, not just Middle Tennessee.

These dedicated spaces for women serve an important role, empowering women to conduct business and network on their own terms.

The Collab offers women a place for community and co-working in Hendersonville.

And women often find more support and resources available in women-dedicated spaces that traditional offices lack, such as pregnancy and breastfeeding support and amenities.

Integral to the design of The Collab were things like a pink velvet couch, a room dedicated to breastfeeding and pumping and an open kitchen.

“We added a kitchen with a huge island because… I think for men it’s maybe the golf course where a lot of discussions happen, but a lot of times for women it’s around the kitchen table and also the island, it’s bringing people together,” Cordaro said.

Another integral part of the design is the rainbow doormat that welcomes guests.

The Collab offers women a place for community and co-working in Hendersonville.

“We have members that are part of the LGBTQ community… it’s not just women in the conservative sense,” Cordaro said. “And we do feel like we are a beacon of progressiveness in Sumner County.”

“We know that’s different for our area, but we know we’re not alone,” Holland added.

Interested in The Collab’s co-working or event space?

The Collab opens its doors on nights and weekends. Take a look at what’s coming up.

The Collab will host a September Free Coworking Day on Sept. 8, from 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., wrapping up the day with its Open House from 2 – 5 p.m.

Katie Nixon can be reached at knixon@gannett.com.

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