There’s Something in the Air Here by Renee M. Powers


There’s something in the air here.


No, it’s not the coffee or the fresh flowers. It’s an energy, an attitude, an electric current that flows through the cells of every ModernWell woman.

I initially joined ModernWell to have a space to finish my dissertation. At the time, I thought the spa-like atmosphere would be a salve to help me wrestle the research I hated into a few hundred pages that I didn’t want to write to finish the degree I had no desire to finish for a career I wasn’t sure I wanted to pursue. I thought, I’ll be surrounded by writers, maybe I’ll feed off their motivation and energy.

That’s exactly what happened. I fed off their motivation and energy. But it wasn’t the way I anticipated.

I moved to Minneapolis right before Thanksgiving in 2017. I’m originally from South Bend, Indiana and spent 10 years in Chicago collecting graduate degrees. When my partner’s parents decided to move out of his childhood home, we decided to buy it and finally set down roots in Minnesota. We’d been talking about it for years and I was excited to have a space of my own. I was also worried I’d be lonely. Before we moved, I began scouting coworking spaces on Instagram. As a women’s college graduate, I was instantly drawn to Minneapolis’ first woman-only coworking space, ModernWell. I toured the space before there was furniture and signed up that day. I was learning to listen to the whisper that told me, This is where you need to be. But I had no idea why. Why here? Why now?

I began my new normal, settling into long hours of work at the cozy chairs by the back window or the tall table near the coffee. Every minute of my dissertation felt like torture. I fell into periods of depression, convinced I was a failure and I’d never finish. Meanwhile, I watched the ModernWell women around me defy all expectations. They were building businesses, publishing books, securing contracts, organizing events, launching non-profits, connecting their asses off. I didn’t know these things were possible until they were right in front of me, day in and day out.

I had a Little Mermaid moment. I wanted to be part of that world.

These ModernWell women modeled a portrait of a self-assured, successful, wholehearted woman and the whisper in my heart got louder. It told me I could be one of those women. I already am a ModernWell woman, I just need to take the next step.

I tapped into the energy the way a syrup harvester taps a tree – slow, methodically, then all at once. I began rewriting the stories I’d believed about myself, that I’d never finish my dissertation, that I was a failure if I didn’t, that academia was the only path forward, that I’d be a disappointment if I dropped out. Instead, I let the inspiration sink into my bones. I sat at that tall table and asked, What if? What if I went a different route? What if moving on wasn’t a failure? What if this is exactly the time to do it? What if it’s not too late for me?

ModernWell gave me the space to question everything and the assurance that it would work out. Because I saw it everywhere around me. This feeling buzzes through every inch of the space. So I harnessed it and leapt.

In July of 2018, I sat at the tall table by the coffee and bought the URL that I began to build into a thriving subscription box business. ModernWell women were instrumental in getting this business off the ground. They spread the word, they contributed product, they signed on as subscribers, and they connected me to others. They are a living testament to community and collaboration over competition. And when self-doubt crept in (and continues to show its face regularly), ModernWell women are the first to reassure me that I matter, my business matters, and it’s all going to work out better than I could ever hope. They believe in me when I can’t believe in myself.

ModernWell women know they’re here to change the world. And now, I finally know that too.

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