Love Your Life

Popular Houston coworking space hosts event that's all about the hustle

Networking and collaboration are encouraged at WeWork. Photo courtesy of WeWork

If you have a side hustle — and these days, who doesn't? — you won't want to miss this event. WeWork and the Houston Rockets are hosting a party and panel discussion about the art of the side hustle and creating a life you love.

On February 27 from 6-8 pm at the WeWork in the Jones Building (708 Main St.), you can sip, snack, and listen as the panelists offer up their advice.

Set to share are CJ Paul, Chris Paul's brother and manager; Mario Elie, Houston Rockets legend and three-time NBA champion; Gretchen Sheirr, chief revenue officer for the Houston Rockets; David Gow, CEO of Gow Media, InnovationMap's parent company; and Roniel Bencosme, WeWork Houston's community director.

All attendees will be entered for a chance to win a basketball signed by the Houston Rockets players.

Paul is president of CP3, LLC, a nonprofit corporation founded in 2005 that strives to positively impact individuals and families by leveling the playing field in education, sports, and life. The foundation's emphasis on community involvement has won it the NBA's Community Assist Award three times in Chris Paul's 10-year career. The foundation partners with Feed the Children, Make-A-Wish, Salvation Army, B&G Clubs, LA's Best Afterschool programs, Leapz & Bounds, and a number of other organizations. Paul is also managing partner of Ohh Dip!!! Productions and oversees CP3 Basketball Academy.

Elie was drafted in 1985 by the Milwaukee Bucks and played 11 seasons before retiring. He won two NBA championships with the Houston Rockets in 1994 and '95, and then another with the San Antonio Spurs in '99. In 2007, Elie was inducted in the New York Basketball Hall of Fame, and was named one of the top 10 players in Houston Rockets history. That same year, Elie began his coaching career with the Dallas Mavericks and currently works as an assistant coach for the Orlando Magic.

Now in her 18th season with the Houston Rockets, and her third as CRO, Sheirr is responsible for the sales, service, and overall revenue strategy for the organization. In 2017, Sheirr was named one of Sports Business Journal's Forty Under 40, which annually recognizes the top young professionals in sports business. She is also a founding board member of WISE Houston, serves on the board of Target Hunger, and is a member of the Executive Women's Partnership.

Not only is Gow head of InnovationMap's parent company, but he also oversees CultureMap, SportsMap, and GiftingMap, and he owns the highest-rated sports radio station in Houston, ESPN 97.5FM, and SB Nation Radio, one of the country's largest national sports radio networks. Prior to entering the media business, Gow was first CFO and ultimately the CEO of Ashford.com, a company that grew from $1.2 million up to over $50 million in revenue. As CFO, Gow managed a successful IPO, raising over $75 million with Goldman Sachs as the lead underwriter. As CEO, Gow grew a profitable corporate gifts business to complement the company's e-tailing business. Ashford.com was sold to GSI Commerce in 2002.

Come early or stick around to check out this WeWork location, which is housed in a building full of history. The Great Jones Building originally housed offices for Texaco when it first opened in 1908, but now, more than a century later, WeWork claimed it as its first Houston location.

A modern layout gets a few Art Deco touches — a nod to the JP Morgan Chase building next door — along with an impressive collection of local artwork. Incredible views, cozy coffee corners, a new-mothers' room, and micro-roast coffee, fresh fruit water, and draught craft beer are just a few of the awesome amenities that WeWork members can enjoy.

Reserve your free Side Hustle tickets here.

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Building Houston

 
 

Juliana Garaizar is now the chief development and investment officer at Greentown Labs, as well as continuing to be head of the Houston incubator. Image courtesy of Greentown

The new year has brought some big news from Greentown Labs.

The Somerville, Massachusetts-based climatetech incubator with its second location at Greentown Houston named a new member to its C-suite, is seeking new Houston team members, and is in the process of transitioning into a nonprofit.

Juliana Garaizar, who originally joined Greentown as launch director ahead of the Houston opening in 2021, has been promoted from vice president of innovation to chief development and investment officer.

"I'm refocusing on the Greentown Labs level in a development role, which means fundraising for both locations and potentially new ones," Garaizar tells InnovationMap. "My role is not only development, but also investment. That's something I'm very glad to be pursuing with my investment hat. Access to capital is key for all our members, and I'm going to be in charge of refining and upgrading our investment program."

While she will also maintain her role as head of the Houston incubator, Greentown Houston is also hiring a general manager position to oversee day-to-day and internal operations of the hub. Garaizar says this role will take some of the internal-facing responsibilities off of her plate.

"Now that we are more than 80 members, we need more internal coordination," she explains. "Considering that the goal for Greentown is to grow to more locations, there's going to be more coordination and, I'd say, more autonomy for the Houston campus."

The promotion follows a recent announcement that Emily Reichert, who served as CEO for the company for a decade, has stepped back to become CEO emeritus. Greentown is searching for its next leader and CFO Kevin Taylor is currently serving as interim CEO. Garaizar says the transition is representative of Greentown's future as it expands to a larger organization.

"Emily's transition was planned — but, of course, in stealth mode," Garaizar says, adding that Reichert is assisting in the transition process. "She thinks scaling is a different animal from putting (Greentown) together, which she did really beautifully."

Garaizar says her new role comes alongside Greentown's return to nonprofit status. She tells InnovationMap that the organization originally was founded as a nonprofit, but converted to a for-profit in order to receive a loan at its first location. Now, with the mission focus Greentown has and the opportunities for grants and funding, it's time to convert back to a nonprofit, Garaizar says.

"When we started fundraising for Houston, everyone was asking why we weren't a nonprofit. That opened the discussion again," she says. "The past year we have been going through that process and we can finally say it has been completed.

"I think it's going to open the door to a lot more collaboration and potential grants," she adds.

Greentown is continuing to grow its team ahead of planned expansion. The organization hasn't yet announced another location — Garaizar says the primary focus is filling the CEO position first. In Houston, the hub is also looking for an events manager to ensure the incubator is providing key programming for its members, as well as the Houston innovation community as a whole.

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