Test your idea, and then test it again. Almost like a continuous cycle — test, collect feedback, make adjustments and test again. With WorkClub, we’re constantly making positive changes based off of feedback we may receive from venues, customers, online reviews, etc. We’re building a product for our community and we need to make sure it’s ticking all of the boxes, daily.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tori Donnelly, Co-Founder and Head of Social at WorkClub.
Tori is a native Midwestern from a small town in Minnesota with a passion for coffee, running and traveling. She is co-founder and Head of Social of WorkClub which connects the UK’s remote workforce with workspaces and meeting rooms across the UK. She is mom to Scarlett, a 1-year old baby girl and today business calls and meetings often come with her cheeky plus-one.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I was born and bred in Minnesota and thought I would always live ‘close to home’. However, one day I met my now-husband and business partner, Nick and the rest is history. Five years later, I came to London to study for my MBA and used to escape the chaos of the student library to study across the road at a local hotel. It was this first experience of seeking a quiet, productive workspace that got us interested in creating a business that could help others do the same.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I would not exactly call it a ‘mistake’, however I decided to give birth at the exact time as we were closing our first round of funding. Thankfully, we managed both! I learned to simply ‘control the controllables’ — everything else, navigate the waters and push on.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
I’ve been fortunate to have several strong and encouraging people in my life and throughout my career, from college professors to industry experts.
I utilize certain mentors (and connections) for advice whenever I encounter issues, have questions, need a bit of knowledge, etc. It’s difficult to identify any single story to share about the impact they’ve made on my life, however, I feel that the impact can be seen in the culmination of how far WorkClub has come.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
Generally speaking, I see disruption as a positive. Being disruptive is evaluating what we’re doing and how we might be willing to change it.
With that being said, no disruption is purely “positive” or “negative”. It really just depends on what perspective you are viewing this new change through because disruption is not always comfortable until you make it to the ‘other side’.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- Work smarter, not harder. This is essential to surviving the entrepreneurial journey. It’s part of the main ‘framework’ behind why I started WorkClub.
- Test your idea, and then test it again. Almost like a continuous cycle — test, collect feedback, make adjustments and test again. With WorkClub, we’re constantly making positive changes based off of feedback we may receive from venues, customers, online reviews, etc. We’re building a product for our community and we need to make sure it’s ticking all of the boxes, daily.
- Believe in yourself. This goes for all of us, am I right? Your business and/or idea will not succeed if you don’t believe in the heights you can achieve.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
We’re living through exciting times for the world of remote working. I’m on a mission to change the way people like you work, forever, and we’ve only just begun. Subscribe to our newsletter here for some exciting updates on where we will be focusing our efforts over the next few months.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Let’s be honest — juggling mom-life and running a startup is no easy task! As much as I love being a young mom, I do feel as though I am ‘secluded’ at times working from home. Scarlett always has to come first, so she’ll often be sat with me on business calls and meetings. Luckily , she’s normally really well behaved but babies can be unpredictable so I have to be prepared to move things around at short notice. As our workspaces start to open back up and return to some sort of normality, I will definitely be planning days out of the house. The great thing about this all is that most of our workspaces are kid-friendly and this is becoming more and more common. I think it’s so important to show Scarlett from a young age how to be an entrepreneur and I’ll continue to focus on this.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?
Great question! Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Work is a mindset, not a destination.
Get up, commute, get to work, make coffee, settle in at your desk, turn your computer off, commute, workout, get home, make dinner, go to bed, and repeat. Sound far too familiar?
Now is the time to stop and consciously ask ourselves what we can do to ensure our careers continue to provide us with the fulfilment we need in the years and decades to come.
WorkClub is the way forward and I want to enable remote professionals across the UK and beyond to work from anywhere.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
From the book mentioned above —
“Option A is not available. so let’s just kick the shit out of Option B.”
This quote speaks to me. I came across this quote in the book Option B back when I was just learning how to manage my grief journey. I had lost my sister, my dad was just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and option A was not available. Option B it was and what a journey it turned out to be.
How can our readers follow you online?
Our handle is @workclub, however, my personal account is @torianndonnelly — I’d love to connect with you!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!