On a breezy June afternoon, four women convene to talk business – taking notes, exchanging ideas, heads nodding pensively in thought.
But instead of high heels, power pencil skirts and a boardroom table, this group of entrepreneurs gathers in easy chairs and couches donning sandals, flats, and casual wear to discuss the successes and barriers of their small businesses.
It’s the perfect space for this mastermind group: bright, cheery and comfortable. Which is really the perpetual vibe at SheHive, Ferndale’s new spot for women that offers coaching, classes and clubs in a warm, funky and feminine setting.
The host of the mastermind group and founder of SheHive, Ursula Adams, opened shop last October because she wanted to learn in a collective of women and pursue her true purpose, which is creating cultures and coaching people.
Prior to opening SheHive, Adams spent 20 years in nonprofit administration, where her experiences ranged from human resources and employee engagement to marketing.
Encouraging words are everywhere at SheHive. Photo by Melinda Clynes.“The SheHive, in many ways, is very self-serving, but what I wanted to be able to do was my job in a space where other brilliant, cool women were and where I could get my needs met,” says Adams. “At the same time, I wanted a place where women could go to learn all about themselves. Not just one facet of themselves but everything about themselves.”
So, while leadership development in the form of mastermind groups (SheHive hosts three), co-working space, coaching, and financial fitness classes are part of the mix, so are clubs like the Badass Ladies Supper Club, a book club and a monthly crafting and cocktails night.
“The people that walk in here are the ones that define this place,” says Adams.
Now eight months into the SheHive venture, Adams has had some surprises in how the definition has unfolded. One was seeing how much women just wanted a space to forge friendships. The clubs and workshops offer the venue to do that.
“Learning always takes place no matter what, but they're not coming here to broaden their horizons or any of that kind of stuff, they're just coming here to connect with other women.”
What’s also been surprising to Adams is the role that art plays in all the learning that happens at SheHive. Another shocker, how much women want to talk about politics, even post-election, and about sex.
“Sex comes up all the time. It's not something I normally talk about out loud, and it was coming up in almost every workshop.” So in February, Adams hired a sex therapist to conduct a half-day seminar.
Adam’s ultimate vision for SheHive is that it meets women at three different levels. The first is based on the need for a group dynamic: co-working, seminars, workshops and the like. The second is the one-on-one interactions and conversations, where women get more of their emotional needs met. This may be through talking about their future with a coach or their past with a therapist.
Then at the third or top level, women take it to an internal place. For Adams, that third level would be meditation, yoga or massage, which she envisions SheHive offering as it grows.
Adams has lived in metro Detroit for 30 years and feels like the region is ripe with opportunity for women to do their own thing beyond the traditional nine-to-five corporate job, if they so choose.
“What I'm finding for myself, and I think a lot of other women, is it just doesn't suit us anymore,” says Adams. “So many of us were trying to change that [corporate] system from within. That system, corporate America, needs to go the way of taxicabs and big Blockbusters. I think that female leadership is popping up because women are just creating new roles for themselves.”
“For me to be able to contribute to that, and particularly for women, to choose differently just feels really, really cool.”