#WhatDrivesHer: Christina Disler, Founder of Werklab

Follow Christina’s journey in the XT5 on Instagram: @cdisler

“Through discomfort comes growth.”

That’s the personal mantra of Christina Disler, founder of the Vancouver co-working community space Werklab. Learning how to grow personally and professionally are things Disler knows intimately, having gone from running an HR department to opening her own business by the age of 26. But these lessons aren’t ones she learned easily.

Disler witnessed the challenges of entrepreneurship firsthand, having grown up with her father running his own business out of the family home. She eventually shared in these endeavours with him after she started working at the company, climbing her way up from an entry-level position to the head of HR as they rapidly expanded. It was by growing into this role that Disler learned what truly motivated her. “I never fit into the mold of corporate,” she says. “I now know I wasn’t passionate about HR. I was passionate about people. I was passionate about engaging them and assisting them in creating their dreams, even if it meant them leaving our business because they wanted to go off and start their own thing.”

“I was passionate about people. I was passionate about engaging them and assisting them in creating their dreams.”

Realizing she could be doing more to help people follow their dreams, Disler left her HR job and opened Werklab less than two months later. Having seen her father initially run his business from their home, Disler knew what it would take for her to design a space where workers could thrive outside of the corporate norms. “I’ve been exposed to working, connecting and nurturing relationships with so many top multigenerational entrepreneurs in the city,” she explains. “I feel a sense of responsibility to give back and help others in getting to their goals and being part of that supportive process in their growth and development.”

“At Werklab, we’re driven by relationships and the power of human connection. It’s an inclusive community designed for the curious and the doers pursuing their own hustle.”

What Disler has created is more than a co-working space: it’s a community of like-minded individuals looking to grow in their work as much as their personal lives. “At Werklab, we’re driven by relationships and the power of human connection,” she says. “It’s an inclusive community designed for the curious and the doers pursuing their own hustle.” The unique layout of the space reflects this idea, with flexible work areas as well as spots where people can converse and collaborate. “Any kind of innovation is driven through creativity,” says Disler. “When you get stuck and you’re trying to problem solve or work through a challenge, chances are you need to move around, whether it’s going to a stand-up desk or the bean bag corner or having a conversation in the café area. I wanted it to be an inspiring space.”

The collaborative environment is as much a part of the inspiration as Disler’s insistence that people who come to Werklab become members invested in the community. “I want people to feel safe here,” she says. “I want people to feel vulnerable, like they can admit that they’re having a challenge with work or that they feel like this is their home. This is their stomping ground.” Fittingly, Werklab members share a passion for the space and the growth that it fosters, often staying well beyond work hours for different events with local entrepreneurs and thought leaders. “That’s the ‘it’ factor of Werklab,” says Disler. “The people. They are our champions.”

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