Today we’d like to introduce you to Shatha Barbour.
Shatha, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I moved to Phoenix in the summer of 2010, taking a break from a corporate career at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, to focus on myself, spend time with my little kids, and explore possibilities. What ended up happening shortly after we moved here is falling in love with Phoenix, starting a nonprofit with other amazing women, and exploring the idea of starting a new business. However, I found that starting a new business was difficult and overwhelming when you are new to a city and don’t have contacts and resources to direct you. It was around the time of the spring of 2016, I started the journey of opening Hera Hub Phoenix after a friend kept encouraging me to connect with a movement starting out in San Diego to create a hub for women–a place designed by women for women!
This professional, yet relaxed workspace would be a place to help women launch their companies or grow their companies in a collaborative work environment where like-minded individuals are out for a greater purpose and mission to help women succeed. I absolutely loved the mission and vision of being able to help women locally and globally push the needle on creating success because ultimately when women succeed, it translates into a ripple effect on the community in every sector with better outcomes for the economy, education system, political system and environment.
However, it wasn’t as easy as I had expected to open up a shared workspace for women. It took almost 2 years of looking for the right location, partnering with local cities, their economic development offices, and also developing relationships with women’s groups and organizations that are also on the same mission of empowering women. After all of this hard work, relationship building, and resilience grounded in active patience, Hera Hub Phoenix opened its doors on April 2nd of 2018. Hera Hub Phoenix is designed as a beautiful landing space and launching pad for the women of Phoenix in all industries and backgrounds.
It has already started to truly become that space for the community, with many organizations and women coming through space, hoping to join and thrive collectively. Although we are not exclusive to only women, we are female-focused, providing a zen-like atmosphere and cultivating a culture that especially resonates with women. In her free time, you’ll find Shatha hiking the peaks around Phoenix, teaching high school students about leadership and community service, sitting on boards to local organizations, and spending quality time with her husband and three kids.
Shatha’s personal vision:
To enable women globally to grow professionally and personally in collaborative environments so as to cultivate these female leaders to have a positive impact on their local communities in all sectors: the economic system, education system, political system, and the environment with love, compassion, understanding and commitment for progress for all.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
By far, this has not been a smooth road. I honestly thought I could have Hera Hub Phoenix open withing maybe 7 months… yet, it took almost 2 years! Some struggles that I faced include similar struggles that many female entrepreneurs face, one of them include access to funding and not receiving enough funding. I was rejected time and time again for capital to start the business. Another challenge was finding the right location and building. I wanted a space that wasn’t too large, yet a decent size to create a shared workspace environment, in a location that was accessible to women, close to amenities, and willing to work with professional women.
One of my missions was to streamline life for women who are really busy and already wear too many hats in one day. I wanted to be close to amenities where women can get their work done at the hub, and get their life done easily next door before heading home. Also, locating the space that was central for women across the valley to access and in an environment that they felt safe to work in should they have to stay late. As the market in Phoenix became hot, trying to find that sq ft footprint became increasingly difficult until I finally walked into a building that I absolutely loved!
Please tell us about Hera Hub Phoenix.
Hera Hub is a spa-inspired, shared workspace and business accelerator for women business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals. This flexible work and meeting space provide a productive work environment for women. Hera Hub members have access to professional space to meet with clients and to connect and collaborate with like-minded business owners, thus giving them the support they need to be prosperous. However, Hera Hub is much more than just a shared workspace; it’s a growing, passionate community of like-minded professional women who find the additional resources, such as special classes, workshops, and one-on-one support essential for their business growth. We have 5 private offices and 3 membership options for members to join into.
What I’m proud of is cultivating a community that is on a mission to empower and support women both locally and globally. Our members have access to locations in San Diego, Washington DC, Atlanta, Sweden, and other cities on the way that shares in the same mission to connect and collaborate to lift and support each other’s successes. I believe a couple of things set us apart from others They include the attention to detail and intentionality that we created in our workspace. Also, the members that join buy into a higher mission and are here to create a culture where everyone succeeds and we all celebrate each other’s success.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Ahhhh… my childhood. Lately my fondest memories include summer trips I would take to Syria, mostly because I know that my children will never experience those blissful, idyllic, yet historic trips to an ancient land with Roman ruins, souks/markets, castles, beaches, and mountain landscapes because of the war that has destroyed and continues to destroy this beautiful country.