Black History Month: Shakira Scott – Your Local Yoga Dealer

In honor of Black History Month, we are interviewing some of our current members making a big impact on our community.

Shakira Scott is the founder and lead instructor of Your Local Yoga Dealer. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Shakira’s classes focus on fostering inclusivity for all ages, genders and backgrounds. After gaining her accreditation from New York’s Yoga to the People, her mission was to educate others on the ways yoga can improve quality of life:

“I want to encourage people to be healthy; mentally, physically and emotionally.

Shakira is an instructor for both private and group classes, where she teaches at least 2-3 times per day at a multitude of different locations across the Bay Area! Her style is unmatched, as she incorporates afro-beat music into some of her classes, which is extremely uplifting and fun. She teaches in a variety of styles, such as Vinyasa and Yin Yoga. Effectively, classes range from intense conditioning to slow and meditative.

Working With Athletes:

In 2017, Shakira began working with Marshawn Lynch from the Oakland Raiders, which expanded her teaching technique to athletes. Further, her focus was on teaching players how to utilize yoga to stretch muscles for enhanced performance, strengthen flexibility and prevent injury. Since then, she has worked with others on the team such as Marcus Peters, Gabe Jackson and many more.

Black Representation in Yoga:

Shakira is an advocate for positive change within the community. After researching how Black communities were suffering from pain that could be prevented or softened by yoga, she was passionate about increasing Black representation in the Bay Area yoga scene. Specifically, she, along with the support from three others, founded Black to Yoga. It is a community yoga class where the instructors are people of colour. She was driven to change the perception and demographics of yoga practice, by offering affordable and accessible to classes to everyone:

“People of colour, plus size people, people who are in the LGBTIQ+ community… all people are welcome in my classes.”

Shakira is ambitious to destigmatize yoga as an out of reach practice to those who haven’t practiced before. Her work with kids, athletes and veterans are just the beginning of her journey to spread the wonderful benefits of yoga. She encourages, “There are no prerequisites for yoga. You just have to be a human being.”

Black History Month: Anthea Charles- Bridges from School to Work

In honor of Black History Month, we are interviewing some of our current members making a big impact on our community.

Anthea Charles is the Bay Area director of Bridges from School to Work, a non-for-profit youth development agency. She states, “Our mission is to transform the lives of youth through the power of a job. More specifically, youth who are and were in special education, ages 17-24”. Originally founded by the Marriot Foundation, Bridges is now celebrating its 30th Year Anniversary of breaking down barriers to employment in 12 different markets! Such areas include San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and many more.

“Our students get hired everywhere!”

As an Oakland local, Anthea spends the majority of her working week at The Port alongside Shannon, Lisel and Eric who make an amazing team. Having a workspace that showcased diversity was a must: “The majority of our students are young men of colour. It was important to me that they see people who are like that, that are professionals. Its inspiring for them! It looks like Oakland in here.”

Joining the team 23 years ago, Anthea has successfully expanded the San Francisco program into the East Bay Area. As a result, Bridges now serves our local youth in Oakland, as well as Berkeley, Alameda and surrounding areas. Her passion, optimism and drive are shown through her persistence to expand the program into more cities within the United States and her motto:

“We don’t focus on people’s challenges, we focus on what they can do!”

Anthea’s charismatic personality and determination to offer equal financial opportunity, to those who typically didn’t excel in the traditional education system, is admirable. In return, she explains, “Just watching their confidence grow… is one of the most gratifying parts of the job.”

Women to Watch: Vanessa Shaw of Human Side of Tech

The month of March marks Women’s History month and International Women’s Day on March 8th. Here at The Port Workspaces, we wanted to highlight women entrepreneurs as they share with us their victories, their struggles and the snippets in between.

In this third portion of the Women to Watch series we are glad to introduce Vanessa Shaw, Founder of Human Side of Tech. She works with organizations to improve team culture through design thinking workshops partnering with HR and talent leaders. The goal of these workshops is to unlock people’s creativity and give them the tools to implement changes in their organizations.

Before starting the company, unlocking creativity was a challenge for Vanessa herself: “Somebody told me I was too creative for my previous roles in companies, that it was like being stuck in a box”, she says, “for some reason that message really hit me and made me commit full time to go all in on my business”.

Even though Vanessa was determined to follow the entrepreneurial path, that didn’t happen overnight. She faced a lot of “false starts” before finding the sweet spot where she could really make an impact. “It took many trial & errors to find a client that really understood me and how I was adding value”, she shares, “once I found that one client that got it, I knew I was onto something and it was just finding more of those people”.

With the support from a client and being “a little bit of a rebel”, Vanessa was able to write her own rules. Her “secret sauce” in this path is to always speak the truth, not being afraid to ask difficult questions or be pretty blunt about her opinions:

“Have you ever felt like there’s a lot of bullshit at work? What I love to do is to just slay the bullshit out of business by speaking honestly and truthfully, speaking about my history personally and vulnerably, creating space for an honest conversation. I just want everyone to bring their badass self to work.”

Women to Watch: Molly Dowd of Wildshore

The month of March marks Women’s History month and International Women’s Day on March 8th. Here at The Port Workspaces, we wanted to highlight Women entrepreneurs with our Women to Watch series as they share with us their victories, their struggles and the snippets in between.

About Molly and Wildshore

We’re excited to feature Molly Dowd, CEO and Co-founder of Wildshore. A creative company that focuses on brand identity and strategy. Wildshore was born out of a series of conversations  about the future of branding and design, a field where Molly and her Co-founders were passionate about innovating.

After working with digital innovation projects in big companies such as Google, Target, Sephora and Tesla, Molly Dowd, along with her Co-founders; Larry Johnson and Chelsea Davidson felt they could use their experience to open their own creative company. Today, the company works closely with founders, entrepreneurs and marketers who are creating products that are impacting culture for good.

“I’m most passionate about the fact that we get to work so closely with other entrepreneurs who are equally as passionate about the things they’re building in the world.”

The path towards where they are now was not easy: “It does take a lot of guts and risk to do it and is also important to remember that success looks like a lot of different things, and for me, just having started a company is a success in itself”, Molly shared.

For her, the entrepreneurial path comes with its share of struggles, so it’s important to celebrate the small victories. “I feel like every single day there’s something new that I have to figure out, so a victory can be like getting in touch with an amazing company we want to work with, launching a new product onto the world or to get home in time for dinner with my kids, there’s a big range of things”.

On balancing motherhood and career.

“Balancing motherhood and career is very challenging. What I would say is for working moms, to be good to themselves – to forgive themselves and to allow some leeway in knowing that not everything is going to be perfect.”

In this case, she believes that having support from the family or from other women can make all the difference in realizing it is impossible to be perfect at all times, and that is OK.

A piece of advice Molly that she would share with her own two daughters is to be bold.

“Be bold in the decisions that you make, don’t hold back on the things you’re really excited about doing. I can say for myself there are some things that I look back and I wish that I’ve done and I didn’t because of lack of confidence, I didn’t think I could do it. More than anything I want them to feel like they have the space, the opportunity to do that, and to be unafraid.”

We hope you feel inspired by our interview with Molly and continue to celebrate your own small victories along the way – and most importantly, to be BOLD.