One entrepreneur builds a community of women
By VICTORIA CISNEROS, Student Writer
Originally, the office walls were a shocking orange and blue. Additional construction was a clear need, and time seemed obsolete. Despite the many trials of the past three years, Kayla Pendleton (2014) was all in. She rolled up her sleeves, painted each room by hand, and in the Fall of 2017, she opened Her Space, a ‘business center for women.’
Well aware of her entrepreneurial spirit, Kayla majored in business administration marketing at Fresno State while simultaneously running her own event planning company. Two months after graduation, Kayla moved to San Diego and began work at the same agricultural company as her father, becoming their first and only marketing employee.
“They allowed me to work remotely, and that’s what kind of led me to San Diego, because well if I can work remotely, then I can live anywhere, so, hmmm, where do I want to live,” she said with a giggle.
But San Diego wasn’t always the paradise she had imagined. The joy of trading in her blazers for pajamas and the spontaneity of mid-day hikes were offset by the loneliness and isolation of a one-woman department over 500 miles from the office.
“My heart would be pounding just talking to the stinking cashier at the grocery store because I didn’t know how to talk to people anymore,” she said.
In her search for a private office, Kayla found Hera Hub, ‘a female-focused co-working space’ that gave her the sense of community she was missing. After just four months on the coast, Kayla moved back to Fresno and hoped that someone had caught onto the co-working model.
“I twiddled my thumbs for two years going ‘When is someone gonna open one of these things?’… and finally, I realized, ‘What if I did it? Maybe I’m supposed to do it.’”
For the next six months, Kayla collaborated with the owner of Hera Hub and thought she would eventually open a valley location instead of starting from scratch. But, when it came time to sign the contract, Kayla walked away. She had a different vision for the company and wanted something to call her own.
Forced back to the drawing board but undefeated, she pushed forward, asking people exactly what they wanted from a co-working space and hunting for the perfect location.
Kayla settled in North Fresno and opened the doors just three days after returning from her honeymoon. Today, the space is home to about forty members whose access ranges from collaborative spaces to private offices.
In catering Her Space toward the female business professional, Kayla hopes to teach women “what to do, what not to do, and how to be successful.”
“As a woman in business, you face totally different problems than men would, and at the end of the day, I really wanted to focus on those needs.”
Since the company’s earliest days, Kayla has seen women begin to embrace their truest selves. One member found Her Space while completing her own gender transition and launching the beginnings of a company.
“As a man he was very shy and didn’t put himself out there in his old job, but now, especially being involved with the community here, she’s…come out of her shell, and…that has been the most amazing…I’m getting chills even talking about it…amazing, amazing thing to watch happen over the last year. She’s really finding her own.”
In what started out as a personal journey to reclaim her sanity, Kayla’s serendipity created a thriving, unbreakable community of women.
“I didn’t know how much [Fresno] needed it, until I did it, and then the people just started pouring in. And it was really magical. … And It’s finally starting to blossom.”