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It was August 2017, and there was a knock on Ryan Smith’s door.

It was August 2017, and there was a knock on Ryan Smith’s door.

On the other side was Ryan Allred, an acquaintance from church. Hurricane Harvey had just flooded the Smith’s Houston-area home, and Ryan Allred was there – unprompted – to help with cleanup efforts. Over the coming days, the two Ryans would grow close as they rebuilt not only the Smith home, but the homes of many others in the community.

Community was top-of-mind for Nathan Lenahan as well. The Dallas-based Army veteran received a call from the Texas National Guard to deploy to Houston for relief efforts — the very same day he was to start a new job at WeWork, the global coworking company.

Nathan and more than two dozen other WeWork employees came together to volunteer and rebuild Houston-area homes, and it was there that he reconnected with Ryan Smith, a former colleague at the BYU Cougars football team. Ryan saw firsthand WeWork’s commitment to community, but when asked if he’d consider joining the company, said he’d only leave his employer, the Houston Astros, after the franchise won a World Series.

Just months later, the Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the 2017 World Series and the next fall, Ryan had relocated to Salt Lake City to lead WeWork’s growth in Utah as its Community Director.  It was the sense of community seen in Houston
that attracted Ryan to WeWork, which is dedicated to helping its members make a life, not just a living.

“Community is at the very core of what we do at WeWork,” said Ryan. “Every day, our team comes to work focused on helping our members thrive and grow.”

Since Ryan came to Utah to lead WeWork as its Community Director, the global coworking company has opened three locations in the Beehive State: Innovation Pointe in Lehi, and two Salt Lake City locations at The Gateway, named Gateway 1 and Gateway 6.

It is at Gateway 6 that Ryan sees a familiar face everyday – Ryan Allred, who moved with his family to Utah to run the WeWork Gateway 6 as Community Manager. The Ryans and their colleagues are focused on helping members, including startups, succeed. WeWork’s business model allows it to accommodate a company of any size, from large enterprises (one-in-three Fortune 500 companies are WeWork members) to single-person startups.

Startups looking for workspace have a number of options, including hot desks (access to shared workspaces and conference rooms), dedicated desks (desk space in a lockable office with 24/7 access to conference rooms and amenities) and standard private offices.

Members have access to any WeWork in the country, and amenities like WiFi, printing services and drip coffee help startups focus less on overhead and more on building out their business.

For many startups, the largest benefit of a WeWork membership is the networks created with fellow entrepreneurs. Eatables, a provider of healthy snacks, was WeWork’s first Utah member and quickly found customers in both WeWork and other members. Beyond that, Ryan and his team curate events for members focused on helping companies grow, and often invite groups like 1 Million Cups into WeWork’s Utah locations.

“At the end of the day, I feel successful if my members are successful,” said Ryan. “We couldn’t be more excited to be in Utah at this time, and look forward to welcoming even more startups into our doors.”


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