Creating Space for More Than Work
That idea of catering to all aspects of a person’s life resonates with a new generation of employees who prioritize a work-life balance. At The Gathering Spot in Atlanta, life beyond work is the emphasis, not an extra.
“We do not view ourselves as a coworking space,” says Gathering Spot co-founder Ryan Wilson (C’12, L’15). “We are a private club that has access to coworking as an amenity.”
Wilson and TK Petersen (B’12) opened The Gathering Spot in 2016. Equal parts private club, social scene, and professional setting, the 25,000-square-foot space caters to people across industries, including corporate executives, entrepreneurs, early stage tech companies, politicians, and people in the film and music industries.
“We saw an opportunity to combine the best elements of private membership clubs and coworking spaces,” Petersen says. “We wanted to elevate the concept to a higher level, with a space that could care for the whole person, including their professional and social lives.”
On a typical day, a member might come in and have breakfast at the full-service restaurant, attend a members-only seminar on tax planning, reserve a video conferencing room for a meeting, join a happy hour that includes an exclusive film screening, and then end the day with a midnight brunch party. The Gathering Spot organizes about 20 members-only events each month, and the programming never repeats.
“We are creating a community where, on any given day, the person to your left or your right is a person you want to meet,” says Wilson.
Membership requires an application and an interview process in which one of the key questions is, “What animates you outside of the office?” Wilson and Petersen curate their membership to include people from different industries, age ranges, and backgrounds. Approximately 60 percent of members are women, who might have been excluded from the private membership clubs that inspired The Gathering Spot.
“We think that is representative of this market and also just the way the world is moving,” Wilson says. “We want more people to have a seat at the table and be not just present, but well-represented in the community.”
The Gathering Spot will launch its second location in 2019, in Washington, D.C., with plans to announce a third location by the end of that year.
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