Leah Fishman | Brews & Business with Jacob Dubois

brews & business jacob dubois


We would like to introduce you to Brews & Business, an interview series with our favorite people talking about, well, brews and business. We have been falling in love with long form content lately and wanted to add our own to the space. You’ll find us discussing our guest’s areas of specialty and just about anything we think you’ll find interesting. You can expect us to upload a couple times a month with new and exciting content. We wanted to give you as many options as possible so below you’ll find the full video and a downloadable audio file. Stay tuned, we will be posting our favorite parts of the video on our YouTube Channel.

We’re excited to kickstart our series with Leah Fishman, manager at Study Hall Co-Working Space. With such a multifaceted job, Leah has a unique perspective on community building, work environments, and hosting events. In this interview you’ll hear discussion about the future of co-working, worthwhile personal investments, developing personal habits, and so much more. Enjoy!

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Full Interview Transcript

Jacob Dubois:                  Welcome to Brews and Business. My name is Jacob Dubois, and I’m here with Leah Fishman. And as always, before we get into the questions, I want to make sure that we test the brew. So today we have a sunny yellow pilsner. Let’s give it a taste.

Leah Fishman:                 Let’s do it. That’s good.

Jacob Dubois:                  That’s pretty good.

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. Nice.

Jacob Dubois:                  I’m definitely impressed. Would you drink this, like where would you drink this, if at all, in your life?

Leah Fishman:                 Where would I drink it?

Jacob Dubois:                  Well like, is it-

Leah Fishman:                 Seasonal?

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah.

Leah Fishman:                 It feels a little summery

Jacob Dubois:                  Oh, okay.

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. Maybe in the summer.

Jacob Dubois:                  Perfect. Wonderful. If you want some more, just have at it. So Leah, what do you do?

Leah Fishman:                 What do I do? So I am community and events manager of a shared work space and event space.

Jacob Dubois:                  Cool. And is that all you do?

Leah Fishman:                 Okay, there’s a ton of different things that go into that. I guess that’s my official job title, but within that there’s a lot of different moving pieces and parts as far as management, and space design, and community gathering, and event planning, the whole works.

Jacob Dubois:                  Wow. That’s awesome. So I’m lucky because I’ve seen you work your magic, because I get to work at the place that you manage, and so it’s very interesting to watch from afar and see all the small, subtle yet important things that go into something like coworking, because you have a lot of people coming into the space.

Jacob Dubois:                  Is there something unique … Do you think it’s more style or purpose? Is it … Those little things that go into the space, is that just like you presenting your style, or is it more about the purpose of different items, or furniture, or whatever?

Leah Fishman:                 I think it’s both, and I think that ultimately it all works together to form sort of like an identity and sort of like a brand, branding imaging. So knowing that everything in a space that we touch is there for a reason, and everything was very carefully selected, and every choice that we make sort of feeds into the narrative that we’re telling about this really cool space in Vermont and the people that it attracts. So a lot of what I do is me wanting to do cool things in the space, but a lot of it has to do with the physical space itself, and sort of what it asks for, and the type of person that it attracts.

Jacob Dubois:                  Right. And so when I think about coworking spaces, I think … In my experience, I’ve been to a coworking space, a big one, and I think I was in San Francisco or whatever, and it was a very different experience. It was very automated and kind of really weird, because I didn’t know anybody, not that I would, because I’m in San Francisco. But no one was there to like-

Leah Fishman:                 To greet you, to like get you settled in.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah. Exactly. But here, it feels way different. Do you think that’s a product of maybe the brand, or is it just a product of the location, a product of Vermont?

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. I mean, I think that the reason why we took the approach that we did with our space, which is tight-knit community, welcoming everybody, offering as much support as we can is because of the place that we’re in. I don’t think that anything like what you’re describing would ever work in Vermont. I think people would really push back against that and reject that sort of atmosphere, because then why aren’t you in some sort of corporate office. I think that people here really seek warm and welcoming spaces, and some innovation, and some creativity, and just a place that feels comfortable, and relaxed, and like a home environment but without the home distraction.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah, and that’s something that I really appreciate working here. It’s like, I don’t feel out of place. It feels very comfortable, but I also have that extra pressure of, I should be productive here-

Leah Fishman:                 Because there’s people all around you doing things.

Jacob Dubois:                  Right. Exactly.

Leah Fishman:                 So it’s really tempting to get sucked into watching YouTube videos, but then you look around you, and people are doing really cool, exciting stuff, so it’s a little bit of motivation.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yes. And of course, there is no giant fridge with whatever I made last night here, so.

Leah Fishman:                 That’s true. I kind of wish though.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah, me too. I wanted to ask about getting in deeper about coworking. Is there some version or vision you have as a whole for the coworking community? Not this one, but the whole industry in itself? Is there something that you see happening that’s going to be drastically different than today, in maybe five, ten years?

Leah Fishman:                 I think about that a lot, and I think that’s a really tough question, because the concept itself is so new. And I think that it’s already come really, really far in the last five, ten years or however long that the concept of coworking has been around, and people have been drawn to it.

Leah Fishman:                 But I think at this point, it’s pretty firmly based. We don’t have people who … When you think about coworking, you think about startups. You think about tech. You think about a lot of work culture, and I think it could start to transition more and more into like how we sort of like to brand ourself, which is a work club, and not a work space or coworking. So adding more social values in there, adding some more community, almost like a country club membership or something of the sort where it’s not just about working, but it’s more about community. And then adding in more things like being more integrative with artists, and maker spaces, and things like that. I think just broadening what people think about coworking, and yeah. I think the possibilities are pretty endless, which is cool and exciting, but also daunting if you’re in the space, because you don’t know where the beat will be in a few years.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah. I love that. I’m hoping for more of like a work club atmosphere where you join … You get to pick your environment. You’re doing work that’s always going to be work, but you get to pick your environment depending on the personality. So like, one work club be like hardcore fitness. You get there in the morning. You work out together, and then you do your work, or whatever. And another one may be luxury, and it’s super fancy, and you have the social interactions, but everything is gold, or I don’t know, glass, really high office-

Leah Fishman:                 Catered every day.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah, catered every day, exactly. And I think that’s kind of how gyms have evolved in a way. It’s based on personality nowadays.

Leah Fishman:                 For sure. Because there’s like a place that you can go in, do your own thing, get the workout done, and then skedaddle. And then there’s gyms with the spa, and the juice bar, and all that stuff where they’re trying to keep people there longer outside of just their workout. And I think that’s similar to what some coworking spaces are doing.

Jacob Dubois:                  That’s so cool. And I believe that coworking is really … As coworking grows, and corporate companies realize that maybe those aren’t the best environment for their workers, and they get more comfortable with remote workers, we’re going to see a huge explosion, as we’re seeing it now probably, but definitely coworking spaces are going to be everywhere.

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah, I think there’s a lot of education happening right now. I think this is still a while to go with the big corporate companies not understanding the value of allowing their workers to work remote, or hiring remote workers. But as soon as that switch happens, which I think will happen pretty soon, and I think it’ll be pretty drastic, that’s the part that’s exciting, because there’s going to be this huge flood of people who now have the opportunity to sort of work wherever they want and however they’d like. And spaces like you’re talking about, well-curated spaces that are just wildly different and offer different things are going to start popping up.

Jacob Dubois:                  That’s going to be exciting.

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. It’ll be really cool to see, and to see also how the sort of larger coworking spaces that have been around for years and years that have more of the corporate feel, how they sort of integrate into that new space too.

Jacob Dubois:                  Love it. Coming all the way back, when and how were you first introduced to coworking?

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. So it was sort of an accident. I was working remotely for a media company, and I was working from home. And I didn’t really mind working from home, but that’s just because I didn’t know any different. I was used to working either in an office, or then sort of my living room and my couch, so it felt fine, but I guess I didn’t realize that there was something else out there.

Leah Fishman:                 And then I actually started having weekly meetings in my current coworking spot that I’m running now, and I just sort of realized that, wow, there’s something outside of my house. There’s an option. And I did a lot of research, and I learned a lot. And at this point, a few years back, we were sort of the only coworking space of our type in Vermont, so it was really exciting to learn. And through a bunch of strange events, I ended up running the space.

Jacob Dubois:                  Wow. That’s pretty cool. Do you think that … Is there a certain type of person that belongs at a coworking space, or is it just … I guess in general, given the different levels, like the work club, and then the just show up and get your work done and leave, should that be available … Is that for everyone, even if we forgo people that have to show up to an office?

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. I think where it’s tricky is thinking about the different models, I think there is a space for everybody. I think that there’s different sort of degrees of community and how involved a person can be outside of their normal work, so I think that there’s a good need for just a space where you can pop in and out and sort of do your own work, but just in an environment where you’re around people, and maybe during your 10 minute lunch break, you can say hello to somebody that you’ve never met.

Leah Fishman:                 But what excites me about shared work spaces is not sort of the concept of reducing your rent and sharing an office space with somebody, but about curating that really strong community and finding people who are excited and passionate, maybe about the things that you are, and maybe about totally different things. And then ultimately adding value to the physical place you’re in, so in our case, Vermont. If we do really cool things here, and we connect and inspire each other, then hopefully we can see some of that trickle outside of our physical space.

Jacob Dubois:                  I love that. And I think … Something just popped into my mind, and it’s kind of, it’s going back a little bit to the future of coworking, but I’m just imagining people that do different professions sharing one space, so the idea I thought of was like dog groomers. If dog groomers had one specific shop, and then they just got to share it, similar to hair dressers, I guess, because you can rent a chair or whatever.

Jacob Dubois:                  So if facilities and business like that became more rentable, that would really kind of make things interesting. Also, it could get a little frightening with someone like a dentist, I guess, where you wouldn’t know if they actually rent the building or if they just pay for a spot, I guess. But it’s interesting to think about that, like matriculated out to different professions that in years past, and maybe currently today, they need … You need a physical spot if you’re going to have a bake shop.

Leah Fishman:                 But do you?

Jacob Dubois:                  I don’t know, and maybe there’s a community bake shop now.

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. I mean, I’ve heard, in the restaurant industry, of multiple different businesses sharing just one kitchen, so there’s five different small restaurant type businesses that use the space different times during the day and all operate out of one space, which is similar, I guess, to what we’re talking about. It’s just pretty cool and innovative in a way to form those networks and community and also reduce costs, and waste, and be kinder on the environment, and all that good stuff.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah. I think there’s a local business actually that … They’re a commercial kitchen that you can pay for. I don’t know how it works, but if you came up with a granola bar, and you actually wanted to push it to market-

Leah Fishman:                 Oh, I could rent the kitchen-

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah.

Leah Fishman:                 … to get my feet off the ground.

Jacob Dubois:                  Right. I think they may actually produce it for you. I’m not sure how hands-on it is, but it’s for those … You just had a great idea for a granola bar. We have to make a thousand of them to distribute and see if they’re any good, because you wouldn’t want them doing that at the house-

Leah Fishman:                 Out of your kitchen.

Jacob Dubois:                  Unless you have a great kitchen, I guess. So moving from coworking over to maybe the content side, can you explain a little bit what you do? Are you creating, are you curating, are you-

Leah Fishman:                 The social content?

Jacob Dubois:                  Yes. Yeah.

Leah Fishman:                 Yes. So I have a little bit of a background, [inaudible 00:15:01] a good chunk of a background in social content creation and some social marketing. I mentioned I worked for that media company. So here it’s all about sort of experimenting and playing, because there’s not a whole lot of research on how to sort of market space and how to market vibe. That’s a really hard thing to communicate, and then how to target, who to target, and how to target them in the right way, just because shared work is such a new concept.

Leah Fishman:                 So most of the stuff that I do … There’s a couple different tiers. There’s sort of the member outreach, and the member marketing and education, and how we communicate as a group. And then, Burlington as a whole, so lot of sort of social, Facebook, Instagram, working on building up some really good content on blog platforms, like Medium to sort of share what we learned with maybe our community, but then maybe people across the country and across the world who are thinking of doing something like what we did.

Leah Fishman:                 So I wish I could say that I have it dialed in, and I know exactly the direction we’re going, but it’s more about playing for me right now, and testing the waters, and seeing what works. Photo, video, copy, just doing all of it.

Jacob Dubois:                  Right. And that’s really … I mean, it sounds like that’s your only option right now, but I think it’s one of the best options.

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. I agree.

Jacob Dubois:                  Because if there’s no baseline, then you might as well start trying things, and if it works, “Hey, let’s do that again.” Or, “Let’s never do that again.”

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. And I’m not that excited about … I don’t think that there’s, at least where we’re at, a lot room of room for us to do traditional, like print advertising, or T.V., or radio. I don’t think that’s going to attract the people that we want to attract or engage the people that we’re interested in, so I think sort of like grassroots … We’ve put little money into marketing at this point. It’s just producing really steady content that allows people to look inside of our brand and get a really good vision of who we are, and what we do, whether it be from a quick scroll through our Instagram feed or a quick browse of our website. And then word of mouth. Lots of people are really excited about it, just running the word.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yes. Is there one thing, without limits, you would want in your work space? Like, money is not an issue. Just this one thing, what is it?

Leah Fishman:                 I mean, I think of a million things honestly. I feel like there’s always room for growth, and improvement, and cool things that can be done.

Jacob Dubois:                  Maybe one that’s a little more selfish or silly, specific to you, not-

Leah Fishman:                 I mean, I would love if we could have dogs here all the time, if this was a dog-friendly space, which I know there’s plenty of shared work spaces that are dog-friendly. We try to be conscious of allergies. And like, upping our food and coffee game, which is … It’s pretty good, but if we could do a little bit more of a regular catered lunch routine, or have some more food amenities, that would be cool.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah. Maybe someone out there wants a sponsor and input on some lunch for us? That would be great.

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. Set up a coffee bar with espresso.

Jacob Dubois:                  A little coffee cart in here. That would be wonderful. Yeah, I think that a doggy playground would probably be pretty epic, both on a practical sense for people with dogs, because I know that’s very expensive to have them cared for during the day, and then also just like all the health benefits of having puppies around.

Leah Fishman:                 And spaces are sort of looking deeper into not just what they think that their members need and want, but a lot of spaces are starting to consider actual feedback. So there’s a really cool space that’s all over the country now. I guess they’re all over the globe, called The Wing, and they’re a female-only or female-identifying only coworking and shared work space.

Leah Fishman:                 And they’ve talked to members and done a lot of research, and they just started opening up daycares in a lot of their facilities, a lot of resources for new moms, for single parents, which is pretty cool. And I think that you can set up a really great space for them to take it to the next level and say like, “Hey, you’re a human. I see what you need. I see what you want. Let’s make that happen so this is the best space it can possible be, and it actually makes sense for your day to day life.”

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah. Yeah, that’s wild. And that got me thinking of, what if these work clubs, coworking spaces get so big or have so much pull that eventually you get healthcare through them? Like, you go in as a group, and if there’s 500 self-employed people, you could all get one specific plan.

Leah Fishman:                 That’s really interesting. I’ve never thought about that. I wonder if anybody has.

Jacob Dubois:                  Or like tax benefits. I’m sure there’s clubs that offer reduced rates for different things, but health benefits would be very interesting.

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah, so you’re taking people that don’t have that. They don’t have that office culture. They don’t have those benefits, so if you have a bunch of those people and get them all together, then there’s opportunity for things like that to happen.

Jacob Dubois:                  That would be wild. We should look into that.

Leah Fishman:                 We should.

Jacob Dubois:                  Getting off of coworking and onto some more personal questions, what is one of the best or most worthwhile investments that you’ve ever made? This could be actual money, or time, or you could kind of take it wherever you want.

Leah Fishman:                 That’s a big question. This answer might be really cheesy, but I think that for me at least, fully investing in myself. Like, putting all of my energy, and my time, and my resources into growing and learning, and I think that applies to a bunch of different things, whether it be in my personal life and learning as much about me and who I am as I possibly can.

Leah Fishman:                 And then business, like trying out different things, not being afraid to take risks and put myself in positions where I’m not sure if I’m going to succeed, and then pushing myself through. I think that you’re the only person that’s going to 100% fully believe in yourself all the time, so you might as well go big and go hard.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah. And I think that takes constant attention too, because-

Leah Fishman:                 For sure.

Jacob Dubois:                  … if you come up with this idea, and you fully believe in it, and you pitch it to somebody, you’re often going to get shot down, but you need that built up confidence that you’ve worked on throughout the weeks, months, years-

Leah Fishman:                 To keep on going.

Jacob Dubois:                  … to say, “Hey, no, I actually do think this is a good idea. Let’s pursue it.” Or, “Actually, I think it would be good to go to yoga,” or whatever, even as simple as that, which is wild. It’s also really fascinating.

Leah Fishman:                 What about you? Can I flip that on you?

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah, sure. I think mine’s certainly probably a spinoff. And actually, when I was real young … I mean, I’m still certainly working on it, but when I was really young, I got drawn to this one quote, and it’s, “Self education will make you a living …” Actually, it’s, “Formal education will make you a living. Self education will make you a fortune.” And I’ve always thought that was really cool, and I’ve used it to different degrees throughout my life.

Jacob Dubois:                  I try to use it more and more, because when I was … As you grow, you realize that paying more attention to what you do and how you do things is really important, how you feel, and so I think spending … I mean, a lot of it is just spending the time to understand what’s going on in my mind, and then how that affects directly my performance in every facet of life.

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. I feel like you do that a lot. I feel like you’re pretty good at that.

Jacob Dubois:                  I am very self-aware, I think. But I haven’t nailed the … I have a lot of habits that I wish I had, but-

Leah Fishman:                 Well, everybody does. You never know it completely. But being aware I think is a big part of [inaudible 00:24:13].

Jacob Dubois:                  But it’s so wild to see, like you can be aware, self-aware at some degree, and then like … For me, I know that I know nothing about the person that I want to be in 20, 30 years, which just blows my mind. That’s really sad, because … It’s not sad in a … It’s just like, frustrating for me, because I want to-

Leah Fishman:                 You want to know [crosstalk 00:24:42]-

Jacob Dubois:                  I want to unlock all those things, but they’re so far away. Anyways, I want to talk a little bit about when you’re … And there are some assumptions here, so if you’re okay with them, just shoot them down. When you’re feeling unfocused, what’s the remedy for you?

Leah Fishman:                 Another good one. I think that there’s a couple things, depending on the circumstance. I think that I can go one of two ways. I think that if I’m aware of how unfocused I am, and I’m feeling sort of like I’ve got the brain power to do it, but sort of like my body is acting up against me, being hyper-organized really helps. So just like getting in, digging in deep, and getting it done, so that I’d be creating really strict schedules, or lists, or cleaning up my inbox, whatever I have to do to complete a task and get back on track, and then hopefully that sort of gets me going in the right direction.

Leah Fishman:                 And then on the total flip side, sometimes I just say like, “Screw it. I’m going to give myself this moment, allow myself to be unfocused, and then maybe I’ll sort of find my winding way back on track.” So I think it depends on what we’re talking about and sort of how important the task or the thing at hand is, and then how I’m feeling. I’m pretty feeling-based, sort of whatever feels good to me at the moment, and whatever feels like it will be the most productive choice.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah. I resonate a lot with that. I think I get unfocused a lot, or I feel like I do. And sometimes I’m okay with it, and sometimes I’m not. And so I’ll wager with myself and say like, “Okay, I get this one non … Maybe an entertainment piece of content, or whatever, and then I have to get back to it.” And so I think we’re pretty similar in that regard, depending on what it is. Because clearly deadlines are deadlines. You’ve got to roll when the clock’s ticking.

Jacob Dubois:                  Do you think that Burlington, Vermont, the place that you live, has a bit of an effect on your life, or your work, or how you feel?

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. How could it not, really? I mean, I’ve been here … I moved here from Chicago. I moved here by myself, because I wanted to escape. I wanted to get away from sort of the culture that I grew up in, and the city, and I’d never been here before I moved here, but I just felt like Burlington had the right vibe for what I was seeking.

Jacob Dubois:                  That’s bold.

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah, maybe stupid, but I think … And I was right. I think that the people that are attracted to Burlington, while everybody’s wildly different, everybody’s sort of seeking similar things, which is really quality of life. I think that … We were just having a conversation around here the other day about office culture, and how here in Burlington and in Vermont, people are pretty good about clocking off either at five or before five, to prioritize things that make them happy, whether that be friends, or family, or going for a swim or a hike, or just things that get you away from your computer and your laptop and get you out enjoying and interacting with the world.

Leah Fishman:                 I think there’s a really big emphasis on that here, which definitely drew me to this spot. I think that I try to bring as much of that into the shared work space as possible, like I try to kick people out of here at five, but I think that maybe we’re the only place that can get away with doing that, and have it make sense, and be part of the narrative of the space. So I think just sort of overall quality of life and happiness, for me to live in a place where I think that people are excited about engaging, and excited about community, and where it’s not 100% about work all the time feels good to me and feels human.

Jacob Dubois:                  So you pick your season, but on a Saturday in Vermont in or around Burlington, where are you? What are you doing?

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. I’d say I’m probably more active outside during the warm summer months. I’m pretty good at flying solo and just getting out. I do a lot of time at the lake with my dogs, and swimming, and exploring some of the small towns around Vermont. I feel like there’s so many cute little downtown spots that nobody ever steps foot in, which is pretty cool. Yeah, just enjoying hanging out on Church Street, and grabbing a beer with a friend is fun.

Jacob Dubois:                  Nice. The Vermont city tour, as I call it, is well, city. But I’m trying to do a similar thing of just you know, wander down to Montpelier, and then some other smaller ones along the way. Because I think that’s what makes Vermont pretty unique is, I mean, the people for one, but also those locations where it’s very tight-knit community. Everybody has to go to the general store kind of deal, because it’s the only one they have, and so everybody knows everybody, and they can sit there and talk, and have different viewpoints in some cases.

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. And that Vermont, as a whole state, is small enough where you have access to all of those little communities and those pockets. Where if you’re in a huge state, there’s no way you’re going to explore all of those cool little communities. You can drive an hour or two-

Jacob Dubois:                  And get to most of it.

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. Yeah.

Jacob Dubois:                  It’s really cool. Do you have a new habit that you’re working on?

Leah Fishman:                 Oh.

Jacob Dubois:                  Or still working on. I guess it doesn’t have to be new. A habit that you’re working on.

Leah Fishman:                 I mean, I always have things that I’m working on. I mean, a lot of it is sort of like personal lifestyle habits, like you and I have talked about, like packing my lunch every day, because mind you, that benefits my day to day work without having to run out and spend money.

Leah Fishman:                 In my sort of personal time, I do a lot of writing, so I try to put a lot of focus on my own stuff, sort of like signing off of work and then digging in even deeper and doing my own work, so that’s the thing I’m trying to establish. Yeah, there’s a lot that I’m always sort of playing with.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah. That’s good though. I think that’s … It seems to me that you like doing a lot of different things and making sure that you’re testing the waters with a lot of things and feeling them out. Is there something that helps you turn work off, or is it pretty easy for you?

Leah Fishman:                 Honestly, I think it’s pretty easy for me.

Jacob Dubois:                  You’re just like, “I’m out.”

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah, and I think maybe that’s just how I’ve always viewed work, and maybe I’ve been really lucky where I’ve been a part of cultures where that’s supported and appreciated, so I know that not everybody’s that lucky.

Jacob Dubois:                  That’s huge.

Leah Fishman:                 But I think that I love my work, and a lot of what I do revolves around other people working, so a lot of my sort of head space is thinking about work, and vocation, and how people make money, and how they create. But yeah, like I said, I think there’s so much more to a person than what they do, and that’s just always been a priority for me is to give myself that permission, and then to see that in other people. I’m not asking, “What do you do?” when I first meet someone, but like, “How do you spend your time?” Or, “What keeps you busy?” Or, “What excites you?” Stuff like that.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah. I love that. I am such a fan, and I was just going to ask you, what do you say to people when they ask you what you do, and whatever. You’re just at the bar or with people that are friends or friends of friends?”

Leah Fishman:                 I think, I don’t know. I probably switch it up, because I do so much, but I think I talk about working in community space, and then sort of recognizing that’s a very broad and could be confusing thing.

Jacob Dubois:                  And people are always thrown off.

Leah Fishman:                 Yeah. Yeah, but I think that that could [crosstalk 00:34:08] apply a lot more also to what I’m physically doing in the space, because a lot of what I’m doing in my personal life is ideally to sort of be a part of the bigger community as well.

Jacob Dubois:                  Right. Yeah, so it’s funny you brought this up, because when I go to some of these events that most people are asking those questions, because it’s networking or what have you, a lot of times I’ll ask, “What do you do for fun?” Which I think you were talking about, and then I’ll ask … If I actually want to know what they do for work, I’ll say, “What do you do to make your money?” And try to be a little more specific, because a lot of times when people ask that question, it’s implied like, “Where do you work? What do you do?”

Jacob Dubois:                  But also, it’s broad that we can abuse it. You know, people who are not giant fans of that question, like me, could say something that has nothing to do with how I make a living. It’s like, “Oh, I’m writing a book currently.” They’re like, “Wow, that’s so cool.” I’m like, “No, it’s really hard.”

Leah Fishman:                 You’re making [crosstalk 00:35:15] off of it.

Jacob Dubois:                  I haven’t really started it. I’m just outlining it, you know? And people, then they get super curious, because they’re like, “Well, how do you afford writing your first book?”

Leah Fishman:                 Not everybody wants to identify with their job, with what they do to make money, so I think it’s important to recognize that people are in charge of their own narrative, and they should tell and share the stories they want to share.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah. I think I’m in that boat too, and I think we should empower people to answer those questions how they truly feel they should be answered, not just … I mean, if they are, if they identify as an accountant at whatever, then that’s fine.

Leah Fishman:                 Right, and I think that I’m also in a space where a lot of me identifies with what I do, which is cool and lucky, but leaving room for the extra stuff too.

Jacob Dubois:                  Love it. What keeps you excited in the morning? Sorry, let me rephrase. What keeps you excited to wake up in the morning?

Leah Fishman:                 I think I’m pretty driven just by simple things. Waking up, and having a routine of taking my dogs for a walk, and getting outside, and getting fresh air before I start my workday, thinking about the cool people that I’m going to talk to throughout my day, whether that be deepening relationships that I already have with members of the space and learning more about them, or getting new and fresh faces in here. That’s always my favorite, is when I can meet someone brand new and see them experience the space for the first time, but then also have myself grow, learning about what they do and broaden my horizon. Yeah. I think those are both exciting things.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yes. A little time check. I don’t want to hold you too long. Would you have preferred that I showed you these questions before we did this?

Leah Fishman:                 No. Yeah, I feel you’re probably getting more honest and authentic answers, even if they’re a little jumbled without too much thought or planning.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah. I like that. I want as close to the first thought that you have as I can get.

Leah Fishman:                 Because you’re getting my gut reaction, even if it’s not necessarily maybe what I would have wanted to say right off the bat. That’s what you get.

Jacob Dubois:                  Perfect. Do you think that in five to 10 years that there will be a lot more automation with things that shouldn’t be automated? So for example-

Leah Fishman:                 Example? Yeah.

Jacob Dubois:                  … one that will probably break your heart, and actually this has happened kind of sort of, but I’ll say it anyways. There’s a system in place that walk your dogs for you regardless of the day, or regardless of the time.

Leah Fishman:                 Like a human dog walker?

Jacob Dubois:                  No, no, no. It’s not a human.

Leah Fishman:                 What?

Jacob Dubois:                  I don’t know why I’m just thinking of this.

Leah Fishman:                 So what was the original question?

Jacob Dubois:                  So the original question is in five to 10 years, do you think some things will be automated that really just should not be?

Leah Fishman:                 A thousand percent, yes. Because I place a lot of value on people. I think that that’s what makes the world work, and those interactions, and those opportunities … I think that we’re going to get to a ridiculous place where … I don’t know. I feel like that’s not why humans are here, to sort of like substitute connection and passion with sort of like automation and machinery. I see value in it to a certain extent for growth and development, but I don’t know. I feel like I’m a big fan of makers, and creators, and people who are hustling to make a living, and yeah. That would be sad for me, especially the dog example. Also, I wouldn’t trust that.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah, a robot with your dog.

Leah Fishman:                 No. No way.

Jacob Dubois:                  It’s kind of scary, but there’s cameras, and like, you could fall-

Leah Fishman:                 Who’s going to love the dog?

Jacob Dubois:                  That’s true.

Leah Fishman:                 Is it going to provide full feedback on how the dog is feeling, how the dog acted?

Jacob Dubois:                  Or respond-

Leah Fishman:                 Like it was emotionally gauged, sort of how the walk went.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah, I don’t know. I’m not sure.

Leah Fishman:                 I hope not.

Jacob Dubois:                  Yeah, I hope not too. Anyways, I just wanted to thank you for sticking around and answering some questions. Do you have anything that you’d like to share with the audience, any call to action, or a plug, or anything?

Leah Fishman:                 That’s the hardest question you’ve had. I think … You know, the space that I work out of, Study Hall in Burlington, Vermont, is a really rad space. And I think that what we’re doing, while it’s not totally unique, there are spaces like ours all over the space, I think that the way that we operate has a different span and a different feel, and yeah. I encourage people who do work solo, work remotely, freelance, or if there’s someone who wants that for themselves, if they work for a big company but they want to break free and sort of make their own way, to look into spaces like this, community spaces.

Leah Fishman:                 Even if you’re not ready to take the plunge, to network and meet people, learn about experience. Get a lot of feedback and tips, and then hopefully have a network around you to support you while you take that big step, whether it be sort of professionally or in your personal life. I think that having people around you is so very important. And whether that’s a park space or another space, I think there’s a spot out there for everybody.

Jacob Dubois:                  Cool. Perfect. So if you’re looking to check out Study Hall, studyhall.space is the web address. You can find them on Instagram and Facebook as well.

Leah Fishman:                 At Study Hall Space.

Jacob Dubois:                  And if you’re interested in coming to the Study Hall, I think Leah does the tours, so-

Leah Fishman:                 I do the great tours.

Jacob Dubois:                  You can check it out. Thank you for turning in. We’ll see you next time.


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