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Supporting women under One Roof

11 Aug 2016

Supporting women under One Roof Image

You might have noticed that there is a fresh new look to what was formerly a redundant office space at 77 City Rd.

The site is now home to One Roof – an innovative co-working space providing female entrepreneurs with access to purpose-built and affordable shared workspaces and business support networks.

One Roof co-founder Sheree Rubenstein (pictured) said the space was designed to provide women with a warm and welcoming environment to tap into business networks and build their own ideas.

“The vibe is we have boardrooms and we’ve got a lot of corporates coming in to use the space and things, but the intention is that it’s really homely, welcoming and warm,” she said.

“There’s something important in how you physically design the space but also how I foster it as a community manager and how I connect people and build the community.”

As a 28-year-old former corporate lawyer, it’s fair to say Sheree is already well ahead of the curve.

She co-founded One Roof with her American business partner Gianna Wurzl in early 2015 and the pair’s passion for empowering and supporting women has seen the initiative quickly go from strength to strength.

Gianna has since left Melbourne to establish One Roof in America and Sheree said they were committed to closing the gender gap that existed for women in business in as many parts of the world as possible.    

“Even in a very developed Western world there is still a massive gender gap in everything and particularly in entrepreneurship and in business,” she said.

“Studies show that there are factors that hold women back and that we’re not reaching our fullest potential and the impact it would have on the economy, society and community if we were all reaching our fullest potential is huge.”

According to Sheree, the underlying mantra of One Roof is based on a guiding philosophy of “mind, body and business”.

The program offers everything from workshops, seminars and workspace to meditation, yoga and mindfulness activities.

The pair first successfully tested the initiative in a rented two-storey AirBnB mansion in St Kilda over the space of a week last year and received a huge response as more than 400 participants attended.   

Having since moved One Roof out of a house in Malvern, developer Central Equity has helped it to secure a new home in Southbank and Sheree says she couldn’t be happier.

“It’s game changing, not only to have a space that’s really large and can accommodate for meetings for corporates, host events, have 60 to 70 people in here working, but then also the location,” Sheree said.

“People are now saying ‘One Roof; why haven’t I heard about you before?’ and it’s because we just didn’t have the space we wanted so it’s been amazing.”

With an infectious lust for life and a yearning to help others, it is clear that Sheree’s passion has already helped to support hundreds of women realise their potential in business and entrepreneurship.

She invited any local Southbank women in need of some inspiration and support to come and visit the space and tap into the growing One Roof community.

“Quite a few women have said they would have given up their businesses if they weren’t here. They quite literally come here and say they would have just let it go and gone back to their job,” she said.

“I see my job as being someone who can connect you. And how can I support you? I just see myself as a bit of everything. I think the biggest thing for people here is just being a part of a community.”  

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