Finding "work that works with our lives"

Elizabeth Farmer is an integral part of the RISE community - in her physical location as a St. Louis office member, in her status as a Founding Member, and in the incredible value she adds to RISE every day. In addition to telling you about the theme of our programming every month (check out last week’s post here!) we also want to start showcasing more of our Members on the blog. We have such impressive women in our community - it only seems right to keep highlighting them!

Elizabeth is a Certified Public Accountant with decades of experience. She founded and runs her own firm, Farmer & Farley LLC, which has office space in multiple locations across St. Louis. RISE Collaborative is thrilled to be one of those spaces, and one where Elizabeth feels particularly at home. In the early stages of her career, Elizabeth had various other public accounting positions. She disliked the first of these positions because going to work meant leaving her first child. The next job she no longer disliked, but had to balance the demands of tax season with having an infant. In this second job, Elizabeth had the benefit of working from home and not being tied to one location at a cubicle. But eventually she wanted more ownership over her work, which led her to open her own firm in 2003.

Elizabeth said she didn’t plan on anyone else working for her at this firm - it was all about allowing her to work at separate locations, both home and an office. She was searching for a system that worked for her. But the firm started to grow and she started attracting employees who loved the flexible work environment Elizabeth created. They could work from home or at work, at whatever hours they wanted, as long as the work got done. Elizabeth’s employees were thriving and happy...but she wasn’t. Something was missing in this system she created, despite the fact that Elizabeth loved the environment she created for those working with her. She missed the connection of talking to people over coffee and making friends; the only interactions she currently had at work were with her employees and clients.

Around the same time, her son joined Farmer & Farley as a Practice Manager. For Dominick, having two small children made working at home a challenge. Elizabeth got an invitation to a coworking space called Nebula, and sent the information over to her son. Dominick visited the space and wanted to join on the spot. Within a month, Elizabeth said he was like a new person - going to yoga, getting together at the park with new friends, playdates with their kids. He created a whole life from this coworking space. Elizabeth was looking for that same “fit” and connection.

But when Elizabeth visited Nebula, it wasn’t her community. She felt that she didn’t fit in with the people, despite loving the concept and the feel of the space. Dominick told her, “you need your own Nebula.” And amazingly, Dominick soon found an advertisement for the grand opening of RISE Collaborative and sent it to Elizabeth. As soon as she saw it, Elizabeth joined, site unseen.

At first, Elizabeth used RISE for the social aspect. She loved being a Drop-In Member, but wasn’t using the open workspace for her business. She needed something more private and permanent, so she split an office at RISE 50-50 with another member. Less than three months after getting a shared office, Elizabeth’s new revenue stream more than made up for her rent. She then moved into her own private office and saw yet another jump. This time, her rent was covered in less than 30 days by new revenue.

Flashforward to today, Elizabeth feels like a leader at RISE. She’s cultivated important relationships and connections with other women here, and says she no longer feels alone. There’s a loneliness to entrepreneurialism, and being surrounded by other women who understand this “pioneering feel” is essential for Elizabeth.

In asking Elizabeth to reflect on the future of RISE, she said she’s “very excited that [RISE] is expanding to other cities. I think that I jealously want other people to be able to experience the personal and professional growth that RISE has brought my way. I feel that my life is happier and I’m more content, I don’t feel like I’m groping around for something that’s missing anymore. It all feels really present.”

We count ourselves lucky that Elizabeth found her “fit” at RISE. She brings such positive light and energy into the space, and we love seeing her journey as a member. We can’t wait for many more years to come with Elizabeth!

Are you interested in this type of growth? Looking to be a Founding Member in Denver or one of our dynamic members in St. Louis? Sign up for a St. Louis tour here or email to set up a coffee in Denver. Let’s get to know each other!