We have another South High School success story for your record books. Melanie Ulle grew up in Wash Park and is a South High alum. Together with her friend and Co-founder Virginia Santy, Ph.D., they have created Women In Kind (WINK).
Women in Kind, the first and only full-service co-working community founded by women, funded by women, designed by women, for women. WINK opened its doors the first week in August in North Park Hill. Offering a range of services to support women in business and the business of life, with a response to the many pain points working women often face.
Virginia and Melanie address the question: What would it look like – for the first time ever – to create a workplace designed for women, for the specific professional, social, cultural, economic, and family challenges they face, from the ground up? Not as an after-thought, not as an “add-on,” not as a supplemental “work-life balance policy” or a storage-closet-turned-lactation-room. The answers Santy and Ulle have come up with, embodied in WINK’s space, philosophy, and amenities, are not only good for women, but for families and all professionals.
“This is not about a mani between meetings or a yoga studio on site, although Mel and I are both fans of a good shellac and a yoga break,” said Santy. “This is about recognizing a decades-old trajectory of women and work, ongoing trends wherein top companies continue to struggle to recruit and retain women talent – or worse, participate in sexist corporate cultural practices – and the growing yet too-often unsupported promise of women entrepreneurs and small-business owners.”
Women in Kind supports women professionals through a variety of amenities designed to not only address business needs, but home-life and personal needs as well.
Amenities include professional development workshops specifically designed for women small-business owners and entrepreneurs, a formal mentoring program, networking events, family and personal meal-service, laundry service, wealth accumulation workshops, social events, fitness camps and running groups, eldercare advisory services, personal assistance services, and onsite, on-demand childcare in fully-equipped playrooms. Meeting and events spaces are also available.
“Our goal was to anticipate every pain point in working women’s lives, and try to address it for our members,” said Santy. “We want women to feel supported and valued.”
“Any working mom knows in-service school days or snow days are a nightmare,” said Ulle. “The loss of productivity on those days can be really detrimental to solo-preneurs or small business owners. Rather than trying to work from home with your kids running around, or hauling them to your meetings, come and work at Women in Kind. Our playrooms are designed to keep kids busy so moms can work. They are also separate from the rest of the building so our members without children have comfortable and quiet work places, too.”
“We are seeing a lot of interest from larger businesses who recognize securing a membership for some of their valued women employees is a great way to provide a range of services the company itself is not necessarily in a position to offer. It’s also about the exposure to a community of strong, hardworking, resourceful women who are eager to move their businesses and professional lives forward,” Ulle added.
We support all entrepreneurs but have a special place in our hearts for women-owned businesses and kickass women in general. So with that, we applaud you Virginia and Melanie for breaking walls and opening doors for women in Colorado. Your vision and progressive work have paved the first steps in this movement. Bravo! For more information, please visit womeninkind.com