“Always look for ways to change up your days…” See how DJ Dashti of Workville thrives among the competition

Always look for ways to change up your days. Get out as much as you can and get as much inspiration as you can to continuously improve your company. Take time to meet with your members whether it be lunch or drinks after work. Maybe have breakfast in your space and constantly look for ways to increase engagement with them. Making the effort will solidify your relationships and will lead to a higher retention rate guaranteed.

I had the pleasure of interviewing D.J. Dashti. DJ is the CEO / Co-Founder of Workville, a premier Coworking space in the New York City. He has a passion for creating a happy and productive workspace for his members. DJ is experienced in real estate brokerage, development, custom build-outs both residential and commercial. He credits his attention to detail, unparalleled customer service and exceptional management team for Workville’s ongoing success.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

When we first started Workville there were many skeptics. Everyone from my partners, friends, and my family I had never built or run a company before. Especially because it’s not like Workville was already physically built and I was just chosen to run it. We actually physically built every inch from the ground up. Keep in mind I had never even been on a construction site before this. I was forced to learn and learn fast. I embraced the challenge and as the project progressed so did my confidence and voice. I had to keep a positive attitude and even while the skeptics had consistently expressed their concerns. I trained myself to tune out everyone and transform negative energy into positive and swift action.

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Workville on paper was either going to be public success or a public failure. In my eyes…. Workville was ONLY going to be a success. It was a chance for me to show my parents that if given the opportunity, look what I can do. I really only wanted to show them and my partners, whom took a shot on me, that the bet on myself and our team was going to pay huge dividends.

So, how are things going today? How did Grit lead to your eventual success?

We are in a really exciting expansion phase. Workville started in 2016 with one floor (15,000 sq ft). We quickly doubled, adding a second floor for larger team offices. It was really exciting, members came to us telling us they were expanding out of their 6-person offices, so we built them the space to expand into. Internally, we are always focused on refining operations and maintaining our high-quality customer service and brand. I’m fortunate to have the most incredible team. Everyone from our maintenance staff, our community manager ( Sabrina Lam), our President (Sue Bernstock), cares so much about the experience we create, maybe sometimes even more than I do which is crazy. They don’t look for a pat on the back, they literally just keep on going and going. That mentality is what’s gotten us where we are today and will propel Workville as continue our inevitable expansion.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

There was one time when I accidentally forgot to invoice a member company for their first 4 months in our space. I remember I was freaking out with my bookkeeper and was like “what am I going to do? “ Luckily, they were super cool and understanding and let me invoice them double each month until we caught up. FYI, this company was one of our founding members and I couldn’t be more grateful for all of them. They understand, we’re a start-up like many of them. Things happen but when they do, we have each others back. We’re really all in this together. My lesson I learned was to simply cross check every invoice with our member list each month. It’s great I can at least laugh about this now haha.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Each year Workville takes part in TechDay. I round up a crew of my members and we all go together. We like to create fun collaborative environment.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Always look for ways to change up your days. Get out as much as you can and get as much inspiration as you can to continuously improve your company. Take time to meet with your members whether it be lunch or drinks after work. Maybe have breakfast in your space and constantly look for ways to increase engagement with them. Making the effort will solidify your relationships and will lead to a higher retention rate guaranteed.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My cousin/partner Jacob Aini. It was his idea to get me involved in this project and he had to vouch to his partners for me to even get this opportunity. At first I was asked to put a pretty large investment to become a partner. Since I didn’t have the funds I had no choice but to decline. 3 months later I did a huge client appreciation event/birthday party. This was an uncomfortably very expensive party but I had to throw it. Jacob invited his partners to the event and they all got to meet me and my family. The next day Jacob called me for a meeting after vouching to his partners for me, they simply were willing to take shot on me and let me get involved without the initial investment. I will always appreciate what he’s done for me to get in the position I am in today.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I had the opportunity to visit Puerto Rico. A good friend Anthony Delgado who is the founder of Disrupt Puerto Rico,. He invited myself and Jason Malki from Strtupboost to attend a meet up he was doing one weekend. We thought, what a great way to engage with other startups there and get out of the city haha. We were there right before thanksgiving and Anthony had to the idea of distributing turkeys to families in Santurce Puerto Rico. We got introduced to one of the community leaders who took us to the families in need. On behalf of Strtupboost and Workville we gave 50 turkeys to families ahead of thanksgiving. It was an experience that I will truly never forget.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I would start a Shoe Drive. I feel like people have an abundance of them so why not spread the love to those who deserve to and need to get around comfortably. This will encourage more activity which creates progress.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

FB: DJ Dashti

Insta @DJDashti

@WorkvilleNYC