My First 30 days at Hub101: A Freshman's Journey

By Rose Soiland (Doer at Hub101).

This is my first year at California Lutheran University and the first time I’ve been on my own. I’m from northern California, where the people are hippies and the beaches are cold. When I closed my door for the last time I so looked forward to college for the people and independence, but I slightly dreaded the schoolwork.

Before school started I vowed to get involved in a myriad of activities on campus and maybe even get a job to expand my social circle. So when I heard about the job fair on campus in the first week of school, I apprehensively decided to see what was there.

When I rolled up at the job fair a little after it had started, the various tables, surrounding the entire outside of the gym, were already infested with small crowds of students trying to find a job just like me. As I wandered around the fair comparing the options, one table in particular sparked my interest, partly because it's sign wasn’t straightforward about the job description. It was the Hub101 table, and I remember Greg Monterrosa and Content Creator Molly Strawn smiling openly at the table while I walked up to ask about what Hub101 was.

I talked to Greg. I talked to Molly. Loved them, but I still left a little unsure about what Hub101 was, although I thought I’d give it a try. I left my resume and hoped that I would fit in if I got the internship.

Not long after the job fair I found an email in my inbox asking me to set up an interview with Greg. I’d never encountered this innovative way of making appointments before. I set up the interview and the day of, I drove to a business building off campus excited for one of my first interviews. I walked in, passing the vacant front desk and unsure about where I was going. What I found during my explorations were classrooms, a kitchen, some guys playing ping pong, conference rooms with various people meeting and some couches.

Cool space.

What ensued was less interview and more of a professionally laid back ‘get to know you’ session with a ‘let’s give you a tour’ segment. Ever since that interview I am what you could call a ‘doer,’ another term for an intern but reflecting more confidence in the subject. From the start my supervisor sets us up for success; for doing instead of just dreaming about it.

Mr. Monterrosa made sure to point out that at Hub101, “... the attitude is that there’s never a bad idea in the space, which is refreshing. No idea’s a bad idea.” And this attitude carries into the events we have that serve to pursue innovation.

Just recently we hosted a hackathon* at the Hub, as I call it, which was inspiring to attend. *Hackathon: individuals with varying skillsets spend a weekend competitively working to organize an idea according to a specific theme.

This event was themed Hacks4Health which encouraged participants to create with nutrition and wellbeing in mind. I had never heard of a hackathon before I helped make it happen, so I went in on Friday knowing only that people and food were going to be present. Perks: Dole sponsored the hackathon by sending crates of free healthy snacks our way for the whole weekend.

Groups formed who then spent the weekend building their concepts and leading up to a powerpoint presentation meant to sell their idea to a panel of judges. Winning a 5k cash prize was a group that presented an app for future mothers that would increase accessibility to prescription medication for infant health.

What I learned is that events that Hub101 holds help to encourage people, especially those of the younger generation, to create, invent and to pursue leadership. Facebook and Google both started in a dorm room and a garage because they didn’t have other options. People have revolutionary ideas, but sometimes don’t have a place to build on them.

Whenever someone asks me where I work, I sometimes have to just awkwardly chuckle. It’s difficult to explain where I intern because it’s not Starbucks, where you can just say “I’m a barista” and everyone understands. It’s not straightforward because it incorporates a myriad of purposes. From my perspective, the Hub is a community space to get work done and to make ideas happen. It’s for entrepreneurs. It’s for conferences. It’s for starting businesses.

For students it’s a place to hone in on our skills, develop as individuals, attend and participate in innovative events and then transform our passions into actions.

It sounds cliché that we ‘develop as individuals’ but what I mean is exactly that. Being in a professional workplace surrounded by role models and, in my supervisor's case, mentors, makes spreading your wings much easier.

As for doers, the Hub offers experience, personal development, an adorable puppy who chews on her water dish, community, and perspective. What I love about the environment is that it fosters creativity, it’s open to varying skillsets, and I always leave happier than I came.

Just last week I asked someone if he’s passionate about what he does. His answer: “About winning? Yes.”

When you hear the words ‘Champ’ and ‘Amazing’ often enough it rubs off on you. I love walking out of work looking for an opportunity to make someone’s day better; to make someone feel like a ‘champ.’

My first impression of Hub101, that I would love working with its people, pretty much sums up my experience so far. I came to CalLu looking for a community and I’ve already found plenty of high fives and genuine people with legitimate goals.

So why should Hub101 become your hub? Community. And no idea’s a bad idea.

Operated by Cal Lutheran University in Westlake Village, CA, Hub101 offers coworking, incubation and community for entrepreneurs and small business owners to start, grow, and scale their startups with the help of mentors, coaches and service providers.