Featured Member: Tamara Payne & Dawn Shannon, Ensemble Coworking – Fort Worth, Texas


Where are you located?

We are in a small suburb called the Near Southside which is south of downtown Fort Worth, TX. We are in the Medical District of FW and have several great restaurants that are within walking distance – right next door and across the street.

How many members enjoy your coworking space?

In our 5,750 sf space, we have 11 private offices, 9 dedicated desks, open flex desks for 75. We also have 2 conference rooms, a large training room and a media room for photography and podcasts including mics and a soundboard. We currently have about 50 members.

What is the reason you opened your coworking space?

There is a thriving entrepreneurial community here in Fort Worth; yet, at the time we starting planning for our space, there were very few coworking spaces here in town. We wanted to create a place where small businesses, entrepreneurs and mobile professionals could be inspired to get work done in a collaborative & supportive environment. Our mission is “To grow businesses and invest in people through collaboration, connections and community.”

Why did you join Cowork University?

We joined Cowork University in order to connect to other coworking owners and to see how we can support each other in this coworking journey.

How is Cowork University supporting you and your ideas?

The monthly video calls are so fabulous – being a part of this group is a great way to stay connected to other coworking owners, to share thoughts, ideas, struggles and successes with others who are living your dream right along with you. It’s great to see coworking spaces who are just starting up as well as those who have been open for several years. The insights we get from each meeting are beyond valuable. Plus, when you can openly and honestly share your struggles with others who “get it”, it makes you feel like you are not alone and that others have gone before you, figured it out and are still standing strong – it gives us HOPE!

Are you involved in any additional coworking projects (other than your space)?

We recently participated in a coworking panel discussion with two other Ft. Worth coworking space owners. The discussion allowed us to better educate the attendees about coworking and why it is such a needed concept – not only in Fort Worth but nationwide. Also, Tamara recently won an award for being a 2017 Mentor of the Year through the Fort Worth Business Press. She has coached / mentored three winners of local business plan competitions! One of them was a TCU student who won the Elevator Pitch; the other was a Top 10 finalist for the Fort Worth Business Plan Competition and won the People’s Choice for Best Pitch; the final one was the actual winner of the Fort Worth Business Plan Competition! He won $8,000 cash and a ton of other in-kind prizes from sponsors, including free membership at Ensemble.

What excites you the most about the future of the coworking industry?

This may sound pessimistic, but without a doubt there will be another bust in the economy. When that happens, coworking spaces have an advantage. Corporations will begin downsizing and those people caught up in that will begin to reevaluate their lives. Company owners will look to cut expenses while laid off employees may actually decide it’s time to follow their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and start their own business. Affordable workspace as well as finding connections to resources and people who can help them grow their new business will be key. Collaborative Coworking spaces will be the perfect work environment for those people. At Ensemble, we provide support, community, collaboration, encouragement, and a space for them to get out of their homes and back into the “workplace” – it just looks and feels different. It’s INSPIRING! We are super excited to be a part of this community and are looking forward to seeing the growth of Cowork University.


Other insights you’d like to add…

After 16 months of being “open for business”, I would highly encourage those who are thinking about starting a coworking space to take the advice of those who say build your nest egg first, have several months of expenses saved to cover you for the first year or two, if possible; but, if that is not where you are and don’t want to wait, get ready for a bumpy ride. Stay strong and surround yourself with smart and encouraging people who will lift you up when things get tough – because they will. On a more positive note, coworking is a great industry. It gives people who don’t fit that “corporate mold” a place to be themselves and to grow their businesses. We love being a part of that community and can’t wait to see the evolution of coworking. We are excited to see how it grows and morphs over the next few years.


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