Rachel Kelly (Image Arts ’12) is the founder of Make Lemonade — a Toronto-based co-working space that aims to establish an empowering community for women-identified entrepreneurs. When Kelly envisioned this dream, she saw a community of women entrepreneurs sharing a physical space that was welcoming and inspiring.
Since the pandemic, keeping this dream alive, and the doors open, has been a struggle. Between lockdowns and restrictions on indoor gatherings, income from her brick and mortar business plummeted. Kelly had to think quickly.
“I was beside myself,” Kelly says. “[I] found it hard to imagine what the next steps were.” If it weren’t for the pandemic, she says she wouldn’t have needed to think virtual. She and her colleagues quickly brainstormed a way to pivot: taking the community-building model of Make Lemonade online.
From that came the Get Sh*t Done Club: a virtual membership that includes daily calls so the community can connect safely from home. The calls range from accountability meet-ups, brainstorming, networking, work sprints and even quarterly retreats.
“I didn’t believe that true, deep connections could happen online,” Kelly admits. “I was proven wrong.”
Although Make Lemonade’s new offering has been incredibly successful, Kelly still faces challenges. “We’re surviving,” she says, adding that if she didn’t have the Get Sh*t Done Club, the future of Make Lemonade would be threatened.
But Kelly remains optimistic and intends to continue with the club even when life goes back to normal. “It takes sour lemons to really find an opportunity or to see where the good can come from it.”