Episode 12: Neighborhood Coworking: Coworking in the Suburbs at 25North

Coworking is not just big shiny offices in urban cores. It’s about meeting the diverse needs of people, i.e. community, workplace, accessibility, tools, infrastructure. In my ongoing series on neighborhood coworking spaces I’ll talk with Mara Hauser, founder of 25North Coworking. Mara is creating an experience that is focused on meeting the needs of her community, a suburban town outside of Chicago. I’ll ask Maura to share her journey in creating a coworking space in her neighborhood.

About Mara

Mara Hauser is an entrepreneur, an interior designer, a mother of two, and the driving force behind 25N Coworking. A graduate of the University of Illinois with a degree in Interior Design, she has been bringing her unique and innovative visions to workplaces nationwide for more than 30 years.

Although her corporate design experience spans numerous industries and company sizes, her forte is designing workspaces for enterprise companies with 10 or more locations. This includes corporate offices as well as businesses in the hospitality and banking arenas. Attuned to the interplay between worker and office environment, she has now turned her focus to crafting inventive workspaces for the home-based entrepreneur, independent worker, and contingent employee.

Mara’s design objective is to efficiently utilize space, furniture, and equipment to leverage productivity while also satisfying a worker’s fundamental needs for privacy, comfort, camaraderie, community, and convenience. Her experience in hospitality and customer service influences her as she works to build environments fit for creativity, collaboration, and community engagement.

A resident of Geneva, IL, Mara is actively involved in numerous civic and philanthropic activities that support the local community, small businesses, and women in business:

• Active member of the Chicago Area Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)
• Founder of the Center for Business Education, Innovation and Development (CBEID), a not for profit entity formed to foster economic well-being in the Fox River valley area (Northern Illinois)
• Represents suburban coworking by serving on the Executive Board of the League of Extraordinary Coworking Spaces (LExC, for short), a global network of coworking spaces with a common standard of excellence
• Recent participant on the City of Geneva Business Improvement and Retention Committee
• Volunteer for the Geneva Film Festival
• Among her many philanthropic projects, Mara and her family formed the Heart To Heart Foundation, which supports research on hard-to-match heart transplant patients.
• 25N Coworking is a member of the St. Charles and Geneva Chambers of Commerce, and is active in the Geneva Women in Business (GWIB) organization

Mara is also the recipient of multiple awards and honors including:

• 2014 Women of Distinction by the Kane County Magazine
• 2015 Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for innovation by the Daily Herald Business Ledger
• 2015 Mayor’s Choice Award by the City of Geneva (For significant contributions in business and real estate development after transforming a former bank into a 25N Coworking)
• 2016 Preservation Partners Star Award for preserving and restoring the building housing 25N Coworking in Geneva

Mara and her husband, Randy, are the parents of two daughters, Samantha and Emily. Samantha is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in biomedical engineering and Emily is a senior at Geneva High School. An active family, the Hausers and their two dogs, 13-year old chocolate lab Cocoa and 5-year old yellow lab/golden retriever mix Macie, enjoy vacationing in South Haven, Michigan, whenever possible.

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