We are excited to feature interview with CoworKite community manager, Helene Roselstorfer.
You’ve been hired recently. What made you become interested in CoworKite and apply for a job?
I personally have been interested in the coworking/remote working environment for a long time. By chance I bumped into a group of remote workers a few years back when I visited Tarifa, Spain, to learn kitesurfing. Today, Tarifa is known for being the only hub for kitesurfing digital nomads in Europe. I have been involved with the community in Tarifa over the last years in various roles: as a remote worker, kitesurfer and host of events. Lately, the desire to contribute and co-create excellent coworking environments that serve and exceed members’ expectations has grown upon me. CoworKite offers a unique opportunity to combine coworking and coliving activities with a healthy lifestyle connected to the beach and the ocean. I am ready for this new challenge and I very much look forward to adding my skills to CoworKite activities, meeting interesting people…and learning from the experience.
What is your role at CoworKite?
At CoworKite I will act as Community Manager and I will help keep the community growing. As Community Manager I will also create and coordinate CoworKite activities and be the main contact person for our members’ questions and requests. We also plan to keep developing the existing coworking space in Cape Town and launch a new workation project in a spot that is not yet very well known for coworking and coliving – in many ways undeservedly so: Mauritius. There are lots of ideas for the upcoming year, so stay tuned. 🙂
It is impressive that you speak five languages. How did you learn them?
In Europe it is quite common these days that people speak one or two foreign languages (or more) in addition to their mother tongue. Over the past 20-30 years, the European countries have formed closer bonds and we need common languages to communicate and interact with each other. In addition to my native language, German, I was taught English and Spanish at school. Having an interest in foreign cultures and connections, I later studied Norwegian and Russian. Traveling and studying abroad has helped me deepen my knowledge and refine my skills. Unfortunately, language skills deteriorate quickly when not used on a regular basis: My Russian for example is very rusty at the moment, as I have not used it much over the last two years.
Have you ever been to Cape Town and Mauritius?
Even though I have traveled quite extensively for most of my life, the African continent is still a rather unknown part of the world for me. I have never been to neither South Africa nor Mauritius and I cannot wait to explore the countries together with fellow CoworKite members. One feature that makes CoworKite remote work program unique is that we have a local host on each program, providing opportunities for participants to dive into the local culture. In South Africa I personally look forward to discovering the country together with our members: Apart from kitesurfing on the main kiting beach in Blouberg – where our office and apartments are conveniently located – I am a passionate hiker and outdoor lover. I cannot wait to climb Table Mountain together with fellow coworkers and get a glimpse on the rich wildlife in Krueger National Park and other places. As far as Mauritius concerned, I am really excited to be part of the first workation activities ever hosted on the island. When thinking of Mauritius, most of us consider it as a luxury place where you are forced to spend a lot of money when making your way around the island. But that is not necessarily true when taking advantage of local knowledge. What is not well known yet is that Mauritius offers great opportunities for entrepreneurs starting new businesses. Information on how to establish an offshore company on Mauritius and other business-related themes will be an essential part of our workation on the island during June to August 2018. Besides, the kitesurfing is supposed to be really good there too. 🙂
Nowadays, there are many remote work programs and company retreats for tech startups and digital nomads. How will CoworKite make Cape Town and Mauritius workations special for participants?
What makes the CoworKite remote work program special is the close connection to the beach and the healthy lifestyle that unfolds around the ocean. Our Cape Town office as well as all coliving apartments are within walking distance from Blouberg beach. If you are a watersports lover working remotely and/or enjoy beach life while working away, then CoworKite is the place for you to be. Another aspect that I already mentioned briefly is the fact that members get to enjoy a really local experience: When working remotely, we often end up getting a bit stuck in an international expat environment. It is great and has many advantages, but then on the other hand what would be the purpose of spending time abroad if not getting to know the local surroundings and culture? At CoworKite it is our aim to provide you with both: At each destination a local host ensures there is opportunity to experience local culture, cuisine, activities and to meet people and entrepreneurs from the region. At the same time, the Coworkite office makes for a really international work environment. On a business level we focus on diversity – no matter if you are a developer, consultant or social entrepreneur, whether you have an artistic profession or are into social media: We appreciate the various backgrounds and fields of expertise of our members. With 30 working desks on two floors, the CoworKite office has an excellent size: We clearly distinguish ourselves from the big coworking environments, offering a more exclusive setting with a personal touch. We want to make sure members have the possibility to know all another personally to draw inspiration and discuss business ideas if they want to. The experience is rounded up with a range of activities that we offer to members in the fields of business, watersports, health, excursions and local adventures which are open to all members. Nothing is a must: Feel free to pick the activities that create value for you.
You have an extensive background in event management. What kind of events in general have you organized so far?
I have been enrolled in event management ever since my student years. Back then I contributed to organising different international students’ meet-ups, excursions and events. Throughout my professional life as an employee I delivered administrative support for various high-level events, including lectures and speeches by ambassadors, ministers and representatives from international organizations. Getting a group of people together and do something that creates value and/or is fun for all of us is something I enjoy both on private and professionally. Via my own health project Helene Moves I have organized and hosted different types of health camps and retreats in Europe. I particularly enjoy connecting various groups of activities that support a healthy lifestyle with regard to nutrition, physical activity and mental focus. From both clients´ and my own experience I am convinced that trying to live healthily with regard to all aspects of life makes you both feel better and perform better. We might add a tiny bit of Helene Moves flavor to CoworKite activities over the future…We would like CoworKite activities to be a valuable addition to members’ schedules, supporting them to gain knowledge, keep developing, as well as to enhance their personal and professional performance.
You’ve left a well-paid work environment in high-level administration, event management and finance in 2015. Since then you have been living a nomadic life working on your own projects. How have the decisions you took and the people you have met in the last two years impacted your life both personally and professionally?
Leaving my life in Vienna is a decision I have not regretted a single moment. Despite having a so-called “regular” life working in different office environments as an employee for some 10+ years, my life has always been rather unconventional – or at least this is what my good friends would probably tell you. 🙂 One of the results of taking a step out of my regular routine is the fact that I find a lot more satisfaction in what I am doing and where I am moving both personally and professionally. I continue going through moments of serious doubt and struggles. It feels, however, that whatever I struggle with now contributes to my personal development and this is good. What makes my nomadic existence so rewarding is the people I meet. On all my travels I have come across very interesting personalities, made friends for life and let myself be inspired by the stories they tell and the lives they lead. The remotely working community features a particularly interesting range of people, as the so-called unconventionality shines through all aspects of their lives: the working environment, how they run businesses, how they establish and create “homes”, work/life balance and overall lifestyle in general. Not only have I made great friends within the community, but we have also created business opportunities together and keep cooperating on various levels. I very much look forward to meeting both old and new nomad friends in South Africa and Mauritius and to forming new professional and personal bonds. Last but not least I would like to mention though that it is equally important for me to remember my roots: My family and childhood friends have been sticking around for longer than I can think of and they know me from the inside out. Knowing that they are there and support me in whatever I do makes me very, very grateful.