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Coworking empowers a lifestyle of diversity

Diversity is the product of community and collaboration blended together with openness. This is, after all, one of the key reasons people want to be part of a coworking environment. This allows them to diversify their vision and experience by collaborating with people from different backgrounds, interests, experiences, and thinking. By creating a community of experiences we try to bring together various perspectives and opinions of people who share a feeling of mutualism. 

Jelia

Jelia has always been looking for diverse experiences and new links. She has chosen Athens to be her new home and she recently joined our coworking community. Since it is one of our core values, we discussed why she is constantly seeking diversity both in her work but also in her lifestyle.

“We carry so many places within us and it’s through these places that we see everything new.”

Safe Passage Reunification

This is what it feels for Jelia when she travels to a new community and gets to meet new people. Coming from a diverse background herself, Jelia is originally from Senegal but she was born and raised in London. She is a lawyer at Doughty Street Chambers working remotely from Greece and she specializes in refugee law, human rights, and international criminal law. Working on a diverse range of issues in these areas, she provides legal assistance to unaccompanied child refugees seeking family reunification in Europe, and to victims of mass crimes seeking to access justice. Jelia joined Stone Soup in October and we had the chance to speak with her about her coworking experience in the diversity of Athens and the importance of inclusion in a community.

Travelling for diversity: Jelia’s background

Jelia studied Law and Spanish language at the University of Sheffield in the UK. She also studied in Barcelona for a year before pursuing a Master’s degree at UCL. After finishing her studies she worked abroad in different parts of the world from Argentina and Colombia to Cambodia. As a result, these travels truly enriched her vision of a world where diversity plays a core part. She first came to Greece in 2016, to work as a volunteer in the camp on Samos island. In 2018, she was able to come back to Greece for another volunteering stint, this time with Safe Passage. And that’s where her story with Athens begins.

Jelia at Stone Soup

Living in Athens: diversity seems familiar

Jelia has been living in Athens for two and a half years since then. For her, Athens is spatially diverse and is “becoming” culturally complex too. So, she loves the ecosystem of the center of the city because it is imperfect and not homogenous. Moreover, she enjoys the diversity of the urban small streets, the micro-neighborhoods, and the variety of independent coffee shops and small businesses. She also likes to cycle and walk in the area of “petroukaki”, which is the name she gave to the Petralona and Koukaki areas! In general, she highlighted the feelings of familiarity this imperfect environment creates in her. It reminds her of all the different cities she has lived in, like Buenos Aires. Driving in Greece is terrible like in Senegal too, she adds! Jelia notes that living in Athens has deepened her work because she is more directly exposed to migration. As a result, she can better understand the needs of the community she is trying to help.

Coworking in Athens: diversity in the workspace community

Jelia at Stone Soup

The choice of coworking in the diversity of Athens has offered her more work-life balance than London, she admits. The city doesn’t stress her out and meets her needs while she is trying to integrate. She decided to join a coworking space because she felt isolated and stressed working from home during the lockdown. She picked Stone Soup because the privacy she can have makes her feel settled. Now she laughs when she gets home and only has to say “Hi, flat!”. As a self-employed professional she needs both privacy and proximity to an everyday community. Her work and traveling experience add to her words about the elements she looks for in a workplace: “People always bring diversity and complexity and that enriches a community”. So, for Jelia, the coworking community should be a respectful place where people can express themselves without fear in these crazy times. She also works as a human rights consultant for the United Nations and NGOs. Her part-time work for the NGO All Survivors Project, which focuses on male survivors of sexual violence in war zones (gay, trans, non-binary), highlights the need for a safe space for everyone who challenges the norms.

Coworking for diversity in Stone Soup

The Stone Soup philosophy and Jelia’s work experience are based on the pursuit for inclusion and the expression of diversity. Here, Jelia adds, you can choose your friends because there are no office politics among the coworkers. Here, she gets to learn about tech and algorithms from Paulin and meet people who can be friends and not colleagues. She misses many things from pre-pandemic Athens though. But there is one thing she can’t wait to have once again: live concerts and drinks on the roof!

Jelia wears a mask

Meet the Cybersecurity experts among us!

The new generation of Stone Soupers contributing to brain gain and cybersecurity! They have studied and worked abroad, and they are now back to their homeland contributing directly or indirectly to the Greek ecosystem.

Meet Orestis and Nikos, the Greek members of CyberLens, a company focused on cybersecurity and privacy technologies, based in London, UK, and Eindhoven, Netherlands. “Our job is to use data retrieved from research and apply them in everyday situations” they tell us. CyberLens acts and responds to the European Commission’s open calls for various topics that require a solution. They collaborate with several partners and stakeholders to bring competitive advancements to the European market. The fact that they now operate in Athens brings the opportunity for more collaborations with Greek partners and organisations on such projects.

Who is who?

Nikos has lived his life moving from Athens to Utrecht and then Brighton due to his studies and now he is back to Athens using all his knowledge and experience. Nikos speaks Greek, English and Italian and may help you if you need any clarification on the concepts of cybersecurity and privacy issues while browsing on the web. His passion is to scan research projects and deduct useful outcomes that can be utilised in the proposals they are working on. He thinks the most accurate approach of cybersecurity in filmography is Citizenfour, a national security documentation with Edward Snowden regarding one of the biggest news stories of our time.

research cybersecurity
cybersecurity

Orestis has studied and worked in England for 4 years and returned back to the Greek capital a year ago. Orestis speaks Greek, English and German. He is a master of disaster regarding all cybersecurity and privacy topics and when he is not busy saving the world, he is dancing latin dances! Orestis considers the way hacking is depicted on screen as misinformation. He agrees with Nikos’ view of Citizenfour, and he adds Zero Days documentary to the list.

Tips from Cybersecurity experts

Being involved professionally with the web often makes you the ambassador of its proper and safe use among your company. Here are some tricks Nikos and Orestis shared with us on how you can protect yourselves when using the web.

  • Security incidents usually happen when you try to avoid paying for an online product (e.g. illegally downloading a game, streaming a movie/tv-series from non-official provider). But, hey! You know what they say; “if you don’t pay for a product, usually you are the product”. So, you better thoroughly consider the risks before you act.
  • When you create a password it is better not to use information such as date of birth, because they are very easily traceable. Instead, you could use password managers or use medium length sentences; such as “switch off the led lights tonight”.
  • And last but not least, try not to use the same password for all your accounts. But everybody knows that..right?..right! hmm..! Well, yes, it is wise to have that in mind as it makes us extremely vulnerable if one of our accounts is part of breach (such as the ones we hear on the news..).

Learning opportunities between European Creative Hubs

 

Next week we will be flying to Spain to experience at first hand the coworking life in  Malaga and more specifically in the creative hub The Living Room (TLR).

Olga Paraskevopoulou (founder of Stone Soup) and George-Carey Simos (Digital Strategist, Stone Soup resident), will spend 5 days in the beautiful Andalusian city in order to learn and exchange best practices, engage in learning experiences and knowledge transfer as well as to co-create and present a joint event at the hosting hub.

Stone Soup was selected by the European Creative Hubs Network (ECHN) and the Goethe-Institut and was awarded the Peer 2 Peer mobility grant. During the exchange Stone Soup and The Living Room Coworking will share experiences on how to scale a hub from a small operation to a successful and profitable business with space management technology and automation as a key component. We will also look into the great synergies that can happen, if we operate an agency within our hub and work on impactful projects with our members.

The exchange programme is supported by the Creative FLIP project, which is co-funded by the European Commission. Creative FLIP supports healthy & sustainable ecosystems related to Finance, Learning, Innovation & Patenting for CCIs in Europe. The project is implemented by a consortium of six partners, spearheaded by Goethe Institut Brussel and the European Creative Hubs Network.

Coworking life is bringing people together

Operating from a coworking space brings many changes to your professional and everyday life. Poulcheria Tzova, an architect who resides at Stone Soup for almost 3 years now, shares her perspective.

According to Poulcheria, the thing she enjoys the most is that she gets motivated to keep on working even the days she feels the least like it. The way she describes this impact on her productivity resembles the effect of the population of a school of fish

coworking life

In nature it is common to encounter groups of fishes who are staying together for social reasons and swimming in the same direction in a coordinated manner. In a similar way, a dynamic coworking environment motivates one to be committed and keep on fighting their own battles so that they won’t stay behind but they will follow the destination of the larger group that is forward.

On days where I feel tired or disappointed, I enter this space full of people and see them overcome difficulties no matter what they face. Along with them, I find the strength and courage to continue too.

Giving and taking

Poulcheria’s favourite part of the day is when the magical little exchanges among the members of the coworking community happen. They occur either consciously or unconsciously but that is irrelevant because they are very impactful either way.

Stone Soup Working Space

I love it when I am asked for advice. I feel useful offering to others and at the same time I feel as I am returning the favor because I am also receiving so many things from them, even if they don’t realise it.

Tips for the new generation

As an experienced professional Poulcheria gives value to the workspace itself. When we asked her what would be her piece of advice for the new generation of architects, she responded;

detail-driven

“It is said that in order to become an architect you have to own the three O’s;
 1. Observation 2. Observation and 3. Observation !
This is one of the most essential qualities you need to own in order to succeed in every task you undertake. No matter what the workspace of your choice is, try to build a pleasant working base, but never forget how important is for our profession to be responsible, serious and detail-driven.”