#Gravi-Member Spotlight: Julien Duhautois

Thirsty Thursday anyone? I know I'm in! Good afternoon and welcome back for a NEW #Gravi-Member Spotlight! This week we are bragging about our favorite Frenchman, Julien Duhautois! You know what to do, but I will remind you! Keep reading!

Julien was born in Ottawa, Canada, but has a French nationality...he swears! His parents were just fooling around out of the country for a little while - TMI? We love it! He grew up in a town of about a million people in France called Templeuve, which is near Lille. In 2010 Julien landed in Iowa to finish his bachelor's degree in Art of International Trade as a foreign exchange student and has called Iowa his home ever since.

Julien keeps himself busy during the week by working as Senior Client Solutions Strategist for SmartLead, a company that offers integrated marketing services based out of Cedar Rapids. Julien has been working with SmartLead for 6 years and counting! Julien also began doing consulting work for Club Car (the golf manufacturer) this year! He has enjoyed the consulting work he has done thus far and hopes to do more in the future. "Hit me up with challenges; we'll find a solution together!"

When we asked Julien what he loves about Gravitate he responded with the impeccable care we have for our members. He adds that there is a great balance between members driving Gravitate forward as well as Gravitate driving its members forward! The two-way street is definitely necessary for success! Great insight! 

Here are a few fun facts about Julien!

- His main passions are traveling and tennis. "I love traveling because it opens the mind. It helps building empathy. Every country and city has a different history, culture, food item and lesson you can learn from." Julien enjoy tennis because it is one of the most difficult sports he knows. It is a physical, technical and mental game - something that is difficult to master!
- His favorite place in Des Moines is his home. With all of the traveling and exploring Julien does he enjoys coming back home and sleeping in his bed when he can!
- His go to happy hour drink is beer...because it's cheap and tastes good!
- His guilty pleasure is Peanut M&Ms, and he would like to add that he ate an entire "share" sized pack to himself in one day!
- Julien's go-to karaoke song is whatever yours is! You can always count on him to join you up on stage!
- If Julien were to swap places with another Gravitater for a day it would be Wes for the simple reason that his dedicated desk is in the best spot!
- His favorite family tradition is Christmas dinner! Julien loves how special his family makes it!
- If it were between Marvel and DC Julien would choose Marvel because they have a better sense of humor!

If you'd like to know anything more about Julien, or would like to connect to hear about the consulting services he offers definitely reach out to him! Julien is a treasured member and we are so happy to house him at our space! Have a fantastic weekend everyone and we will see you next week for another #Gravi-Member Spotlight! #graviout



#Gravi-Member Spotlight: Mackenzie Nading

Happy last week of August everyone! Boy does time fly! For this week's #Gravi-Member Spotlight we are featuring Mackenzie Nading, the Executive Director for the Iowa Wholesale Beer Distributors Association! Keep reading to find out what exactly her position entails and of course, learn some fun facts about this spectacular Gravitater! 

Mackenzie (or Mack as she likes to go by) was born and raised in the small town of Elgin, Iowa! She moved to Ames to attend Iowa State University "(Go State)" and graduated in 2014 with a degree in political science. She has called Central Iowa her home ever since!

To give you a little more detail about the Iowa Wholesale Beer Distributors Association and Mackenzie's role there, the Association is comprised of 19 independent Iowa Beer wholesalers covering territories that serve all 99 Iowa counties. As Executive Director Mackenzie wears many hats, a lot in the association management realm such as collecting dues and managing a budget, public relations and member relations! Her primary duty is helping the members of her team navigate state laws and regulations and ensuring they comply with all of the laws that affect the beer wholesaling industry. Another fun thing Mackenzie gets to do during the months of January through May/June is take part in the Iowa Legislative Session - lobbying legislators on laws that affect the beer and alcohol industry at the State Capital! How cool?! 

You may be asking yourself, "Wow what a position Mackenzie!" Mackenzie first found her passion for politics right after college while working as a clerk for a representative during the 2015 legislative session. Since then she has always found herself pursuing careers that are linked to the state legislative process, usually in a research or lobbying capacity. "Now I get to combine my love of politics with the world of beer, and as you can imagine there aren't many boring days on the job!"

Working as a "one-woman shop" Mackenzie was skeptical about working alone. Spoiler alert...she hated it! She then began the hunt for a work space that she could share with others without necessarily doing the same work. That's when a friend pointed her to Gravitate and she has been hooked ever since! "I love learning about all the different careers that exist in this office space. All of my past work experience has been on the bureaucratic side, so learning more about startups and seeing the collaboration happen within this work space to help each other succeed is extremely addicting. Even though my job doesn't really reflect that of anyone else's, I feed off the energy put out by all the diverse and hardworking individuals here."

We all definitely feed off of the energy put out in this entrepreneurial space and love that our members feel it too! 

Since Mackenzie works in the beer industry she has provided a few fun facts about wholesalers in Iowa:

Iowa Beer Distributors:
- Employ 1,343 people
- Pay $102.2 million in wages and salaries annually
- Have a $1.7 million economic impact in their communities (support of charities, local events, and economic development)
- Pay $104.4 million in federal, state and local taxes
- Have a total state economic impact of $579 million annually

And now a few fun facts about Mackenzie herself:

- Aside from politics, Mackenzie is passionate about black coffee, any dog she comes in contact with (shoutout to Herc for being her favorite coworker), Iowa State Cyclones, Minnesota Vikings, tattoos, and Harry Potter! 
- Her favorite place in Des Moines is the Animal Rescue League (which is technically in Ankeny hehe)! She loves spending time with all of the rescue animals and supporting the resources to help them find homes!
- The best concert Mackenzie has ever attended was Ed Sheeran. Ed is one of her favorite artists, but he is known to put on the best live shows and Mackenzie can definitely attest to it. In her words, "The only music comes from his guitar, a loop pedal, and his own voice. It's an unreal experience!"
- The fun fact Mackenzie is most proud of is that she has met Michelle Obama...wait...I should rephrase that...Michelle Obama pulled Mackenzie's hair. Yup. Mackenzie welcomes you to stop by her desk to hear the full story anytime! You bet I will be!

Thanks for reading our 13th #Gravi-Member Spotlight! Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend full of relaxation, family and, as always, creativity! #graviout

#Gravi-Member Spotlight: Stephanie Chin

"The word coworking won't be a word in the future, it will probably just be the way we work."
- Rahul Prakash, Partner at Hatch Today

Thursday's are my favorite day of the week because it means a NEW #Gravi-Member Spotlight is here! This week we are featuring Stephanie Chin, the Community Impact Officer for Income at United Way of Central Iowa. Keep reading to hear about Stephanie's adventure to Des Moines and what she likes to do during her free time in this awesome city!

Stephanie was born and raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland). She has lived in plenty of large cities including Atlanta, New York and most recently Washington D.C. While in D.C. Stephanie worked for United Way Worldwide where she collaborated with a great team at United Way of Central Iowa. During an email exchange with the Chief Impact Officer at the Central Iowa location she was jokingly asked, "You wouldn't want to move to Des Moines, would you?" They talked. Turns out Stephanie did! Stephanie has lived in Des Moines for just about a year now and we are happy to have her with us!

As the Community Impact Officer for Income Stephanie leads United Way's income and financial stability work. In other words, she "helps people get better jobs, better skills, manage their money better, and gain access to income supports like free tax preparation." During her time here Stephanie has heard that finding talent is Des Moines' #1 challenge. She feels like now is a "unique moment when employers are looking for good employees, and the nonprofit sector is working with good people looking for good work. Sometimes those two groups will miss each other, and we'll be looking increasingly towards increasing that match. I strive to help everyone operate near their potential while expanding it." 

You may be asking yourself, "If Stephanie works for United Way doesn't she already have a building and office to work out of? Why would she need a membership at Gravitate?" Stephanie utilizes her membership for reasons other than the average member. Here is what Stephanie has to say about her experience with Gravitate. "Research shows that real economic growth in a community often comes from homegrown talent and organizations. Gravitate is one of the first places I went to hear how folks in Des Moines and Central Iowa look at creating new solutions for the community. I like that the space is more than just space, it's an ecosystem to bring folks together who want to create new and emerging solutions for the community. From a United Way of Central Iowa perspective, hosting meetings like the OpportUNITY open house in a space like Gravitate helps us reach new audiences and offer a different feeling for meetings that could use a more creative space than what we have at United Way of Central Iowa. I occasionally join for a free coworking day, or coffee to try to listen to voices throughout Des Moines and Central Iowa, so I'm not just listening to the people I talk with regularly at work. It helps me stay grounded in the multitude of voices across the community." 

We love that each member has a different reason for joining the Gravitate community and are happy to be able to serve those individual needs. 

In her spare time Stephanie enjoys grabbing a good book and heading to the Sculpture Park to soak up some sun! Stephanie is passionate about using what she has learned so other people don't have to struggle as much to figure out what they should do. For this reason, in her spare time she is usually found offering her insights to others through informational interviews. On 4th of July this year she helped someone with a mock interview - that's dedication! With that Stephanie would like to say that she is happy to meet up with anyone who would like to talk with her! She can be reached at Stephanie.chin@unitedwaydm.org.

Have an exhilarating weekend Des Moines! Don't melt during this upcoming heat wave, or do - up to you! See you next week to brag about another one of our awesome Gravitaters! #graviout

D&D at Gravitate: Coworking leads to tabletop adventures

D&D at Gravitate: Coworking leads to tabletop adventures

Most people know Gravitate as a coworking space for entrepreneurs, freelancers, remote workers and others, but not everyone knows about some of the awesome things that go on behind the scenes. Gravitate is a breeding ground for partnerships, free-flowing ideas and new adventures.

A prime example of this is Dungeons & Dragons. For over a year now Gravitate members and others get together every other week to partake in the structured, yet open-ended role-playing game.

#Gravi-Member Spotlight: Matt Fiscus

Hello there! Welcome back for another #Gravi-Member Spotlight! This week we have the pleasure of introducing Matt Fiscus to you fine people. He is a floating member at our downtown location bringing laughs, cats and his staple ringtone for all to enjoy. Keep reading for a little bio and some fun facts about this one-of-a-kind Gravitater!

Matt was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa before moving to Des Moines 3 years ago. Matt loved Council Bluffs, aside from the casinos which caused people to refer to it as Council-Tucky for some reason, but made the move to be closer to friends and family. 

Matt works remotely as a Business Analyst for DocuStream Inc. - a company whose primary business function is to work with Community Health Plans in the San Francisco bay area on compliance with State and Federal requirements. This is a long winded way of saying they help the Community Health Plans operate within their budget, which can be difficult because administrative efficiency isn't always their strong suit. DocuStream does things like enrollments, integration, and everyday processing of their correspondences to and from providers (doctors), while also typically handling their reporting back to the Federal government and any new projects that come down the pipeline.

Matt initially came to Gravitate because his company liked the pricing and leasing options our space offers, but he personally likes us because of our awesome community. "It is a community of some of the smartest people I know. Coming to Gravitate every day has been great for networking because it has allowed me to market myself in a genuine and personable way, simply due to the fact that people recognize me and my work ethic."

Matt's biggest passion is the healthcare industry. Having worked in this industry for nearly 8 years Matt has seen quite a lot of things that need improvements. Particularly he wants to  work to ensure that everyone receives the quality of life you would expect from living in the United States!
The nerdiest thing Matt does in his spare time is play Skyrim!
His favorite place in Des Moines is on his bike...I assume exploring the Des Moines Bike Trails and Downtown!
His Dungeon and Dragon's name is Bruce Willis! NOICE!
Matt's guilty pleasure is anything his girlfriend Mallory makes - which I would like to note that Matt and Mallory met through Gravitate! #matchmakerstatus
His go-to midnight snack is coconut water...I'm trying hard not to judge that one!
Matt would max-out his credit card on a trip to Japan!
His hidden talent is playing the guitar and writing songs! 
Matt prefers Marvel over DC for one reason - AVENGERS!
If Matt could switch places with another Gravitater it would be Julien Duhautois because he has been working on his French accent (Julien is French) and because he is killer at SQL, which Matt admires!
Matt's family has a pretty awesome tradition that his dad started randomly. It consists of calling up a family member on their birthday and singing Happy Birthday at the top of your lungs while they have to sit there silently and listen to the whole thing. You don't even wait for them to say hello - you just start singing the moment they pickup! That's gold!

Thanks for reading about our Healthcare Junkie. Matt brings tons of joy to our community and we are so happy to be able to share a teensy bit of him with you! See you next week for another #Gravi-Member Spotlight! For now...#graviout