Posts by Suite Spotte


We have another inspiring story to tell you about one of our community members at Suite Spotte. This is the third edition of our Member Stories Series where we feature the lives and achievements of the talented people who make up Suite Spotte’s Go-To-Grow Community. Looking for inspiration?  Read on and see how one member has built a superior work life.

Maria Onesto Moran, Queen Bee at Green Home Experts LLC

Maria Onesto Moran does not stop moving. Described as someone whose hand and heart are always full, Maria’s time is split among her family, volunteering, and operating Green Home Experts (GHE). And she wouldn’t have it any other way.

As a WBENC certified women’s business enterprise, Maria founded and serves as President of GHE, The business evolved from a products distributor to an energy efficiency solutions provider.

Taking notice of the company’s increasing fulfillment capabilities, Maria helped spearhead the creation of the subsidiary GHE Fulfillment, which provides third party order fulfillment and kitting for ecommerce and Amazon sellers.

Since GHE and GHE Fulfillment are designated as essential businesses, operation was permitted to continue amid the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. However, it required quick and decisive action from Maria and the team to comply with the CDC health and safety workplace requirements. That included difficult enforcement decisions to keep the staff and workplace safe.

Thanks to the continued services offered through GHE Fulfillment and their overall safety success, Maria was able to grow the business despite the pandemic.

Persevering, Recognizing Strengths & Getting S*** Done

Maria makes things happen. That’s obvious to anyone who meets her. She admits that she doesn’t have one specific skill or marketable trade, but she prides herself on being able to recognize the strengths in people. Once she identifies what people enjoy and naturally gravitate towards, she is able to empower them further at GHE.

She believes in autonomy for herself and her employees as long as the mission gets accomplished. This means more workplace and schedule flexibility, and less tedious, bureaucratic rules. Her priority on employee empowerment stems from her past experiences in the workforce.

In an early work experience, a 16 year old Maria was folding clothes at the local GAP store one morning before the store opened. Staring at the mountain of unfolded clothes in front of her, Maria decided to pull up a chair and lock in comfortably.

To her surprise, the manager was quick to inform her that folding while sitting was against the rules. Even when Maria presented the logic of conserving energy prior to opening the store, she was shut down.

This turned out to be a formative moment for a young Maria and her burgeoning journey as her own boss. “Stupid rules are just plain stupid…Things that don’t make the employee happy or impede on their productivity don’t make sense.” That’s a lesson that stayed with her as she built GHE’s work environment.

As a believer in employee autonomy, Maria understands each person works differently and does her best to accommodate these differences. In her perspective, the typical workday works for some, but not others. “When people feel that their time is valued and their employer respects their individual circumstances and needs, they are more committed to their job and the business.” Maria never wants to be the obstacle in her employees’ lives, forcing them to miss important life moments. The happiness of her employees remains her utmost professional priority. 

Maria Onesto Moran is not only capable of juggling, but thriving while doing so. Playing sports, working, and volunteering while in school was the norm for her, especially coming from a family of self-starters. Her grandparents were successful business owners, and her father built his own legal practice. These role models were living examples of the rewards of entrepreneurial ventures, as well as the challenges.

As someone who gets things done, Maria couldn’t be better suited for the fulfillment sector. An entrepreneur herself, she is able to empathize with the business demands of her entrepreneurial customers. She knows the challenge of pouring everything into a business venture and reaching the point where help is needed. Maria and GHE Fulfillment feel privileged to join in at the latest stages of her customer’s production cycle. “Shipping the order is the most concrete representation of our customers’ success…of all the hard work they had to do to get to that point.”

The way people describe me is that my hands and my heart are full…between my three beautiful children, volunteering and my two businesses, there’s always something going on, but that’s how I like it.

Maria Onesto Moran

Being the Queen Bee of GHE and her Family

Maria always knew she wanted to be a major part of her three boys’ lives, and this desire was another important factor in her decision to be her own boss. She enjoys the flexibility that allows her to take her kids to and from school, go on vacations, and cook with the family.

Crucial moments of challenge and doubt like mortgaging the house or not taking a paycheck for years are worthwhile sacrifices for her to be able to enjoy time with those closest to her. None of it was easy starting out, and Maria’s husband held her to the promise of sticking with it for at least 5 years. With the support of her family and colleagues, the business began to flourish in 2014. 

What does a mother of three, business owner and life-aholic do for fun? When she can find a moment in her busy household, Maria loves gardening. She calls it her happy place and therapy. She also enjoys kickboxing. In her words, “I either like planting things or punching things.”

Quarantine allowed her family more moments to consciously enjoy each other’s time. Despite being good at it, Maria recognizes that being busy isn’t necessarily something to be happy about. This rare time in quarantine allowed for things to slow down a bit for the family.

Leveraging Flexibility and Wisdom Through the Suite Spotte GTG Coworking Community

Suite Spotte’s coworking community is especially important for someone in Maria’s position, as her leadership team is small. Seeking outside perspectives is often the best way to float ideas before bringing them to the table internally. 

In one instance, GHE Fulfillment was competing for a sizable proposal that would’ve been a game changer. Maria was shocked to learn that they did not win the proposal. While struggling with crafting a message to attain feedback from the prospect, Maria reached out on her coworking community Slack channel.

Thanks to her coworking colleagues, Maria was able to get the advice and words needed to request honest feedback from the prospect. She received insightful feedback from the prospect and applied what she learned to be better prepared for future opportunities.

Maria Onesto Moran is the Queen Bee, a dedicated mother, a badass, and someone who sees and empowers others. Her ambition, perseverance and empathy are always welcome in the Suite Spotte coworking community.

Read More

Welcome to the latest edition of Suite Spotte’s Member Stories Series where we feature the lives and achievements of the talented people who make up our Go-To-Grow Community. Whether your story is similar, or wildly different, we know that you will be inspired by how our members work independently, yet collectively, to achieve success.

Ebvomien (Ebe) Osaigbovo, CPA and Founder of SWM Planning

Ebe Osaigbovo considers himself an outlier; from his Nigerian roots to his natural aptitude for math and finance. Raised in a Chicago suburb (Oak Park) by parents who emigrated from NIgeria, he thanks them for his enduring entrepreneurial drive and the values of hardwork and accountability; which have served him well in building his own thriving business.

With a CPA and 10 years of financial services experience under his belt, Ebe established his company, SWM Planning (Smart With Money) in 2017. SWM helps individuals and businesses achieve their financial goals in three ways: financial coaching, small business CPA services, and income tax planning & filing.

Ebe found that the COVID-19 relief programs for impacted small businesses were a critical resource for many business owners, but also caused much confusion and anxiety for most. HIs client base grew because he was able to reduce the complexity of the programs with clear, concise communication; and advise his clients on how to leverage the safety net to keep their businesses going through the pandemic. 

Entrepreneurial Spirit and Self-Determination to Achieve the American Dream

Ebe witnessed his father’s humble beginnings to build a new life for his family in America. From driving cabs to working in fast food restaurants, his father eventually launched a successful medical device repair business. His mother’s drive to contribute to the financial success of the family led her to work at a Garrett Popcorn Shop, and then on to a career in healthcare. Through the professional journey of his parents, Ebe witnessed the feasibility of the American Dream.

Embracing his parent’s drive and self-determination, Ebe and his siblings set high expectations for themselves.  He fed his burgeoning entrepreneurial spirit at a young age by offering seasonal landscaping services for his neighbors.  As he moved on to college he applied what he had learned from his parents and his small landscaping business to other money-making ventures — a dropship operation for home decor, the sale of affiliate products online, and insurance sales, all while keeping his studies a priority.

The Great Recession was in full swing as Ebe approached his final year of college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. To stave off any challenges he may encounter finding a job after graduation, he wisely added accounting to his arsenal, with a double major in Accountancy & Finance. Ebe’s sales experience proved to be a valuable differentiator among the CPA community. He had developed strong relationship-building skills and had what many others didn’t…he knew how to sell. To this day, his reputation for building strong client relationships serves him well.

Ebe defines success not just about making money. From visits to Nigeria and seeing the devastating poverty, along with his own parent’s journey taught him not to take life’s opportunities for granted. He saw a need and an opportunity to leverage his knowledge and business skills; and in 2017 took a leap of faith when he started SWM Planning right here in Suite Spotte.

Embracing Life Through Family and a Little Levity

Ebe relishes spending time with his young son and wife Jeannette. His greatest priority is ensuring that his son grows up with as many opportunities as possible. He loves teaching him new things and watching him grow. Asked how he’d feel if his son follows in his dad’s entrepreneurial footsteps, Ebe eagerly replied, “Maybe I’ll invest in him!”

Common stereotypical descriptors for an accountant such as an introvert or number-cruncher, don’t come close to describing Ebe. He’s a bright, witty, fun-loving guy who uses levity when taking stock of a situation. Not one to mind a good party with fellow CPAs, Ebe is also fond of travel having recently enjoyed a trip to Niagara Falls.

Adapting and Growing in Suite Spotte’s Coworking Community

Living only two blocks from Suite Spotte’s Forest Park workplace, it was only a matter of time before Ebe walked by and his interest was piqued. He joined Suite Spotte the same day that he toured and met Sue Reardon, Co-Founder & Community Connector. It didn’t take long for Ebe to take advantage of the Go-To-Grow coworking community to support him as he faced the fiscal challenges of all new businesses: balancing client growth and expenses, and managing for scalability. He stayed focused on growing the business, while Suite Spotte ensured that his workplace needs adjusted in line with his business needs.

Ebe and Family

Many CPAs fall into a trap of growth tied to seasonal tax work. Ebe knew he needed to expand beyond that if his growth goals were to be achieved. He took a risk and invested in an online advertising resource that targeted year-round clients who trusted SWM Planning for their monthly accounting services, as well as ongoing financial advice. This growth area coupled with his COVID-19 relief financial services quadrupled his revenue in a year. 

Ebe is many things — a father and family man, a CPA and finance wiz, and a highly driven entrepreneur.  He is also a living example of ambition, grit, humility, and graciousness. Working with like-minded members at Suite Spotte keeps him motivated and focused. Whether offering ideas or embracing ideas from others, Ebe recognizes the value of belonging to a flexible, welcoming community that has your back.

Read More

Suite Spotte’s greatest strength is our Go-To-Grow community with members who are ambitious, amicable and passionate about collaboration. As part of an ongoing series, we will publish a member story each month. These stories will highlight the talents and unique perspectives of our members,  and share their business and career success. All with the intent of inspiring you to achieve your own personal success. 

Dr. Shital Vora, Co-Founder and CEO of Global Brigades

Dr. Shital Vora, Ph.D. is the Co-Founder & CEO of Global Brigades, a U.S. based nonprofit that mobilizes undergraduate volunteers for development work in underserved communities around the world. Her colleagues describe her as a highly approachable and humble leader in her field. After speaking with Shital, we could not agree more. 

How a Medical Student Sought to Empower Underserved Communities

Shital has been a force from the start. Her education began on a rigorous medical undergrad track, specializing in physical therapy.  As many medical students know, med school allows for few breaks or time off, including summers.  Shital‘s strong desire to travel abroad to experience the variety of cultures the world has to offer, made her question whether she had chosen the right career. 

A chance meeting with a physician known for his selfless work to improve conditions in Honduras offered Shital and a group of fellow students an opportunity to join one of his trips to support a local Honduras medical clinic.  This trip proved to be an eye-opening and life-changing experience. 

For Shital, the experience changed her perspective on service to communities in need. She immediately understood that direct and actionable solutions could be implemented that offered self-sustaining and long-term positive change for the residents of underserved communities.

Returning from the Honduras trip inspired by the impact they had, Shital and her classmates explored the work of organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and the Peace Corps.  However,  the license requirements and time commitments were prohibitive. For someone as determined as Shital, the next logical step was to start her own organization to overcome these barriers. Soon after, Global Brigades was born.

Dr. Shital speaking with colleague

Fast-forward ten years to today,  over 600 universities have partnered with Global Brigades under Shital’s leadership. Students throughout the U.S. travel to six countries desperate for their knowledge and support to vastly improve the conditions in their struggling communities. 

Global Brigades’ mission is to reduce inequalities within the communities they serve by empowering them to rise out of poverty. Their teams of  85,000+ volunteers work to create systems that provide clean water and in-home sanitation, save lives by increasing access to health care, and provide the necessary know-how to develop businesses and community-owned banks that bring greater prosperity to the community.  Global Brigades doesn’t just offer a one-time quick fix, they prioritize the long-term nature of their work by positioning dedicated leadership teams local to these communities to ensure sustainable success.

A Global Leader, Mother of Three, Lover of Good Cooking & Indie Rock

What does it take during a pandemic to lead an international organization that depends on student teams to travel to underserved communities offering much-needed solutions?  Resilience and a strong belief in your purpose. 

The pandemic caused a host of health and personal challenges, yet Shital and her team continued to fulfill Global Brigades’ mission.  By pivoting from on-site support of their communities to virtual advisory and consulting solutions, Global Brigades was able to ensure the progress these communities made would continue. 

Dr Shital with children

Despite the safety and personal challenges of the pandemic, like many of us, Shital found opportunities during early quarantine to slow down and live in the moment. Shital is the mother of three young children in addition to the ongoing work she performs for Global Brigades with her husband, Pallav, the organization’s General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer. Even prior to 2020, she has always valued the importance of unplugging from her work and being present with family. The effects of the pandemic furthered her conviction that family must be prioritized above all else.


A healthy work-life balance (a theme in her life) means Shital enjoys activities that go beyond the scope of Global Brigades. Cooking has always been a big part of her life. The time during lockdown allowed for a deeper exploration of new recipes, both through food and mixology. The latter would inevitably lead to impromptu family dance parties and virtual concerts. Neighbors knew that if the house was bumping Radiohead or My Morning Jacket, don’t come knocking!

Being a Part of  Suite Spotte’s Go-To-Grow Community

For the past few years, Suite Spotte has always been the home away from home for Shital and Pallav.  However, over the last year, it has been a special oasis for the two as they alternated in-office shifts amid the quarantine. The workplace amenities and welcoming community have been instrumental in Global Brigades’ continued growth and operations…and in maintaining Shital and Pallav’s sanity.

An example of the value of community, Shital cites her experience with Suite Spotte’s HOT Seat, a monthly time for members to connect and share ideas, knowledge, and perspectives. Shital posed Global Brigades’ challenge of decreased revenue caused by the pandemic at a HOT Seat brainstorming session. Among the suggestions offered by the members was that she explore public relations to increase exposure to the organization. 

After the HOT Seat session, Shital gave the ideas offered further consideration and decided to hire a PR agency for Global Brigades.  Months later and after a few prominent interviews and features, she confidently stands by the investment. 

Access to members who are not part of Global Brigades, yet can relate to the challenges she faces and offer her objective feedback and viable solutions is priceless. She now stresses the value of being part of an engaged coworking community.  

The embodiment of perseverance, smarts, compassion, and philanthropy, it’s easy to see why Shital fits in so naturally with Suite Spotte’s Go-To-Grow Community.  Members with a need to connect, and a willingness to selflessly share ideas and resources, combined with a desire to belong and be accepted for who they are, create the magic of Suite Spotte’s coworking community.  It’s this magic that results in a superior quality work life.

Read More

Biggest Distractions

 

When starting out, working from home sounds ideal. After all, you have plenty of space in your home office, there’s zero commute, and you can work in your yoga pants. Plus, it’s free.
But is it really? With all of the distractions that come from working from home, your choice may actually be costing you business.
See if any of these “big distractions” ring true for you:

 

1) Children and family

Just as you sit down to write that big proposal, the phone rings. It’s your husband at the office. He’s forgotten his lunch and was wondering if you could drop it off.

 

After swinging by his office and returning home, you barely have enough time to return emails before you have to take the kids to soccer practice. At 5pm, you just wonder how the day got away from you.

 

Working from home sometimes doesn’t feel like working (or even if it does, other people assume you’re not), so you get pulled into managing your family instead of your business.

 

Working in a coworking space, on the other hand, makes you feel like getting down to business. And family members who were once quick to ask for favors will now have to think twice when they know you would have to leave your “office”. All of these leads to more networking and a better business.

 

2) The Kitchen and all its goodies

More than 36% of Americans report that they have gained weight since working from home. And it’s no wonder when you can wander into the kitchen at any moment to grab a snack.

 

Trying to think of how to word an email? Grab a bagel. Just finished that big project? Make a sandwich. Avoiding making that phone call? Nibble on a cookie.

 

Not only does the snacking hurt your waistline, it also adds up quickly in the “wasted time” category.

 

While grabbing a snack at your local coworking space is nothing surprising, most spend the time talking business ideas or networking instead of just eating. A coworking space can help your snack time decrease, and change that wasted time into networking time.

 

3) Desire to finish household chores

Those increased breaks (read “wasted time”) don’t always include food. Some can be much sneakier but just as nefarious. And its name is “chores”.
Have you ever avoided work by doing the dishes? Have you done a little laundry between projects? How many times have you gotten distracted by a spot on the floor, only to find, an hour later, that your floor is spotless and your work isn’t any closer to being completed?
If we’re in the house, it’s hard to strictly concentrate on work when there are so many home projects calling to us.
The solution is to completely separate your home and work life. When you’re working out of a coworking space, you’re completely focused on your work. When you go home, those lingering chores then get done. With this compartmentalization, you’ll see both your work and your house-hold work improve.

 

4) No Access to Office Equipment

Not having access to a fax, copier or scanner might get to be a sticky situation as your business grows. And not all of us are willing to shell out the big bucks to purchase that equipment on our own. Plus, do you really want a copier taking up space in your home office?
A coworking space, however, is set up with business in mind. They have all the technological amenities that will sustain your business ready for you to use at the drop of a hat.

 

5) Using the television as “company”

It can get lonely working from home, and the temptation is there to turn on the television for background noise. After all, you can still concentrate on work as long as you don’t actively pay attention to the television, right?

 

Wrong. Research shows that people cannot multitask as well as they think they can. You may not even notice the television pulling your attention away until you send off a document with a misspelling or an email to the wrong recipient.

 

It’s important to work in a distraction-free area where your work doesn’t have to compete with
background noise. Your professional reputation depends on it!

 

Coworking spaces supply enough “company” by the other entrepreneurs and small business owners who are also members. But when it’s time to work, you can fully focus in the quiet of the space, sure that your work is getting your full attention.

 

When you’re working from home, the numerous distractions make it near impossible to get anything done without superhuman focus and discipline. Working out of a coworking space eliminates the top distractions and provides you with a productive place to call your own. If you haven’t tried a coworking space yet, it’s never too late to start getting productive.

Book a tour at the Suite Spotte and see what we are talking about.

Read More

Subscribe To Find Out What's Up at Suite Spotte

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Suite Spotte.

You have successfully subscribed to What's Up at Suite Spotte!

Pin It on Pinterest