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Tori and Nick Donnelly of WorkClub: “Honesty ”

Honesty — A key component to any successful relationship, business partners or not. One thing I love about Nick is that he’s not afraid to correct me when I’m wrong or tear apart a piece I’ve worked hard on for the better. Oftentimes, I’m defensive at first, however, our goals are aligned and honesty generally leads to […]

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Honesty — A key component to any successful relationship, business partners or not. One thing I love about Nick is that he’s not afraid to correct me when I’m wrong or tear apart a piece I’ve worked hard on for the better. Oftentimes, I’m defensive at first, however, our goals are aligned and honesty generally leads to a better end-product. We have each other’s best interest in mind and we are both fully aware of that.


As a part of our series about lessons from Thriving Power Couples, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tori and Nick Donnelly — founders of WorkClub, productive workspaces and meeting rooms for remote employees across the UK and beyond. The couple met at University in a small town of Winona, Minnesota and since, have married, founded a business and had a baby girl, Scarlett. They wanted a life & career that ‘worked for them’, not the other way around, and the rest is history.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you two to your respective career paths?

We moved to London after having spent a few years together in Minnesota. For Nick, it was home, however, for me, it was a big change! I was at school every day in Kensington completing my MBA while Nick was working full time. I used to escape the chaos of the student library on campus to study across the road at a local hotel — oftentimes where I’d meet Nick who was then working remotely. 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. This period of our lives heavily influenced our decision to embark on the WorkClub journey.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you two got married?

We had a busy end to 2019 as I was having a baby, while we were raising our first round.

I actually went into labour the night before our Crowdcube campaign went live. Thankfully, the team pulled together and all went well. 4 days later we had closed the round at £350k and had a new baby daughter — all around a very exciting time in our lives.

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?

Early 2018, Nick and I were visiting a number of hotels to sell the WorkClub solution. This one particular meeting was with the owner of the hotel and he wanted to meet at seven. We assumed 7am. The following week, we left our flat in Surbiton at 5:30am to make sure we were in London for 7am. We arrived in good time, looking sharp and we sat down where instructed. By 7:30am we were wondering what was going on and now the waiters were feeling so sorry for us that they were offering us a free breakfast. We declined, and continued to wait. By 8am we still had heard nothing from the hotel owner. At around midday Nick gets a call from the owner to say he meant drinks at 7pm. Lesson learned that day, always get an electronic confirmation of date and time. We still turned up for 7pm cocktails and we did sign a partnership with the hotel the next day.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

For us, what has always stood out is our company values and our drive to change the way people work, for the better.

However, from an outsider’s perspective, a lot of people speak highly of our incredibly diverse team. We have team members from across the world and it’s incredible to see everyone engaging and thriving together on a daily basis.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes, our B2B proposition will soon be going to market, introducing a set of new features that will make it easier than ever for teams to transition into a hybrid-workforce.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

Let people be people, give them all the support they need to thrive.

What are the “5 Things You Need To Thrive As A Couple”? Please share a story or example for each.

Support — We are both each other’s number one fan, through thick and thin. We feel most connected when we accomplish things together, rather than separate.

Honesty — A key component to any successful relationship, business partners or not. One thing I love about Nick is that he’s not afraid to correct me when I’m wrong or tear apart a piece I’ve worked hard on for the better. Oftentimes, I’m defensive at first, however, our goals are aligned and honesty generally leads to a better end-product. We have each other’s best interest in mind and we are both fully aware of that.

Communication — Nick and I have very different working styles. He likes to be transparent about what he’s working on and bounce ideas back and forth along the way, while I’m very much the opposite. I like to get on with my work in my own space and talk about and review the finished product. We’re both very aware of each other’s working styles and we very much respect that.

Balance — It’s all about a good work-life balance, am I right? Whatever that may be or look like to your own personal situation.

Boundaries — With our busy lifestyle, alongside our 1-year old baby girl Scarlett, we make sure to set boundaries as to when we will ‘unplug’ together. After all, we are business owners and our business does take up a majority of our time (and energy!), so some nights it’s just ten minutes to unplug and chat.

You are people 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 we 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?

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill — This quote speaks to the both of us.

WorkClub, like any startup, has had ups and downs. Times were not always ‘easy’, however, together, we kept pushing forward because there’s always another day to press on. And so happy we did so!

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky would be a great pick. Nick and I take a lot of inspiration from Brian and his company. Brian doesn’t seem like your typical startup CEO, which is probably why he is recognized as one of the worlds greatest leaders. In addition to his dynamic personality, Brian is obviously a very determined guy that doesn’t give up. If Brian does read this, let’s grab a bite at Al’s Breakfast in Minneapolis.

How can our readers follow your work online?

Follow @workclub for your daily dose of workspace inspo!

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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