We are so excited to Feature Taylor Boykin in our Member Spotlight Series this week!
Taylor is a recent graduate from Array School of Technology and Design, which is also a part of our Second Floor community, so we’ve enjoyed having him in our space for several months now and we are delighted that he decided to stay on as a member with us!
Taylor was born and raised in Cheyenne. He graduated from high school in 2014 and attended the University of Wyoming for a while, but he eventually came back home.
“I had no real direction in life, and had a difficult time finding a job,” he says. “Array happened to pop up at the right time, and I went to open house on a whim (‘whim’ meaning I was badgered into it by my family). I was immediately enamored with Array, despite never working with any code before.”
Since working with code was something Taylor had not done before, he was surprised by how much he enjoyed it. “Like art, code is a bottomless well of learning,” he says, “but it has a more concrete feeling. You can explain exactly what it is you’ve learned, whereas with art you just do things after a while, because it’s all based on observation and taste.”
As a recent grad, Taylor has just re-entered the job market, so there are a number of directions in which he can make his next move.
“At the moment, I’d like to get a job, most preferably in advertisement, but long-term, I really want to be a creative director in some kind of game development team or animation studio,” he says. “I’ve got stories I’d like to tell.”
Like so many of our members, Taylor has the option of working from home, but The Second Floor is a place where he can get away from the distractions of home and really focus.
“I have great resources here,” he says, “Primarily ET and Josh at Array, but really it’s a huge benefit to be around all the other passionate people here.”
Thank you, Taylor! We love having you (and of course Amos, the famous pug) here!
This week we are featuring Stacey Obrecht!
Stacey is one of our newest members here on The Second Floor, and we are so excited to welcome her to our community!
Stacey was born in Colorado, but she moved to Cheyenne at the age of two. She grew up here, moved away, and swore she would never move back. But here she is!
“My husband and I moved back here almost 10 years ago now and its been a wonderful transition ‘back home,'” she says. “I even bought my childhood home!”
Stacey is a licensed attorney, but she does not currently practice. Instead, she is a Management Consultant and Marketing Director for a national consulting firm called Public Knowledge.
“We all live in various places and travel some and work remotely some. We provide planning, procurement, and implementation services for government agencies and non-profits,” she says. “My work is mainly in organizational development and project management, and I do a large amount of work in policy and program work in the child welfare program arena. I love the variety of my work – it changes every day! New projects, new clients, new states, new programs. And I work with the most amazing and talented 45 people I’ve ever met. And because I like a challenge, this is the work for me. It’s never dull.”
Stacey characterizes herself as a lifelong learner, both personally and professionally. “I have lots of funny stories about hobbies and random career paths (or potential career paths),” she says. “I’ll leave these stories for another day.”
I guess it’s up to us to drag some of those stories out of her when we see her in the break room!
Stacey’s main hobbies are music and musical theatre. She sings with the Laramie County Community College choir as a community member, and plays multiple instruments. She is also a volunteer with Cheyenne Little Theater Players from time to time. “This is where my heart sings,” she says.
She also loves the outdoors and enjoys hiking, biking, cross country skiing, camping and backpacking. And she loves to garden – “both flowers and vegetables, however there never seems to be enough time in the day for me to keep up with it!”
Stacey is married with three children. “One is an exchange student we can’t imagine not being part of our family forever and she is in college now,” Stacey says, “and two boys ages 6 and 9.” The family also has two dogs and another puppy on the way.
When Stacey isn’t traveling to work with clients, or working with clients locally, she typically works from home.
“Most days this is a wonderful balance to the bustle of traveling and work meetings in other states,” she says, “but I’m a naturally social person and like change, so working in another location now and again is a welcome respite.”
Stacey used to do what she calls “the coffee shop rotation,” where she would move from one coffee shop to another throughout the week, but the in-and-out was distracting. “Having quiet space that is warm and inviting is a great option for me a few days a week,” she says. “And let’s face it – you had me at coffee!”
Welcome Stacey! We are so happy to have you here with us!
Next up in our Member Spotlight Series is Danica Mrozinsky!
Danica is a photographer, photo editor, and owner of Alternative Workflow, a company that provides editing, retouching and photo design for professional photographers.
A self-titled “army brat,” Danica grew up all over the place, but she considers Rapid City, SD her hometown. She studied Photographic Communications at Northwest College in Powell, WY. After graduation, she headed to Brooklyn, NY where she wore many hats, working as a photo assistant, an editor, and an in-house photographer/retoucher.
“I built a good network there and when we relocated for my husband to do his Master’s in 2013, I figured out that I could still keep a lot of those connections and jobs by working remotely,” she says. “Thanks technology!!!”
Danica still loves being the photographer for a project, but she has found that she loves helping photographers even more. Her company, Alternative Workflow, allows her to do just that. She does photo editing, retouching and album design for professional photographers. Though much of her business involves working remotely with wedding photographers, she also frequently works on-site with fashion and commercial photographers.
“I’ve been slowly growing out of just being a “freelancer” into running a more focused business,” she says. “I am currently growing my business in a direction where I can help freelance workers like myself and connect them with photographers who need help with their post-production. So many photographers are running businesses that can’t sustain an employee but they’re uncomfortable with outsourcing their work to a stranger. My real goal is to bridge that gap for people by essentially bringing personal connection into the equation without the financial burden of having an employee.”
And, not only does Alternative Workflow help photographers, it also helps freelancers make connections to the jobs they want but are unable to get because of because of where they live.
“Helping someone build a successful business is really what gets me excited about what I do.”
Danica moved to Cheyenne in November of 2015 and immediately started looking for affordable office space. Serendipitously, The Second Floor opened a few months later.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better set up,” she says. “The Second Floor not only allows me to work from a beautiful space but connects me to a wonderful community. As fun as it sounds to “work from home,” some days are anything but fun or productive. Some days you just need to get away from your living space and go to a place where there is creative and productive energy in the air. I have a dedicated desk space membership which is perfect for me because I don’t have to set up my work space (monitor, hard drives, etc) every time I sit down to get some work done. Also I have an excellent view from the 3rd floor front windows!”
Danica travels a lot for work, which she loves, but when she is home, she enjoys volunteering with Black Dog Animal Rescue, hanging out with her two feline “fur children,” doing yoga, knitting, and hitting up the local farmers’ market.
“My friends say I’m the youngest old lady they know,” she says. “That being said, I love going for adventures in the mountains, hitting up a good brunch, and having a pint at one of the local breweries too!”
We couldn’t be happier to have you here!
It’s week three of our Member Spotlight series, and for this installation, I would like to introduce Tina Ann Forkner!
Tina is a novelist and freelance writer. She has had five novels traditionally published, two with Random House and three more with independent publishers. Her novels are part of the women’s fiction genre and are primarily about women and their relationships, conflicts, and transformations that ultimately result from their particular journeys. A few of her titles include Ruby Among Us and Waking Up Joy.
Originally from Northeastern Oklahoma, Tina has been living in Wyoming for almost 20 years now. Her husband says that makes her a Wyoming woman. “I agree with him one hundred percent,” she says. “I have fallen in love with Cheyenne, even though a piece of my heart will always belong down south. My husband and I have a blended family and so I am the mom/stepmom to three kids, one of them a student at University of Wyoming and two of them on their way there.”
Tina has been writing since she was a child.
“I was always an avid reader and when I wasn’t reading, I was making up stories in my head. I started writing them down as soon as I could write and never stopped. I’ve had a lot of different jobs, but it was always my dream to write books,” she says. “What I enjoy most about writing is creating characters and connecting them with readers. Everyone loves a story that grabs the heart and that’s what I want to do. I love when I hear that a story has touched a reader in a personal way. When that happens, I know I’ve created a character that someone else can relate to.”
Tina uses The Second Floor for writing, obviously, but she also uses it as a place to catch up on all the administrative work that a lot of readers don’t realize writers have to do.
“Publishing has changed a lot since my first novel came out in 2008,” she says. “Authors have a long list of responsibilities that we did not have prior to the advent of social media and the broader use of the Internet in business and marketing. For instance, I’m at The Second Floor right now and I’ve been catching up on email with one of my publishers and working on some edits that just came in from a critique partner.”
Tina has a home office as well, but coming up to The Second Floor gives her a chance to really hone in on her work.
“Sometimes the only way to really focus on my story is when I’m away from my house,” she says. “The truth is, when I’m working from home I’m not always as focused. There is laundry to be done, floors to be mopped, dishes in the sink, and day to day tasks that need to be done. When I’m working at The Second Floor, those things have to wait, and I am able to focus solely on my work. A few hours at The Second Floor is often just as good as five in my home office.”
Tina also admits that sometimes she uses the Second Floor to read books. “Since I am a writer, I call it work!”
In addition to being a writer, Tina is also a substitute teacher in Cheyenne. And when she finds some spare time, she loves to head out to Vedawoo for a hike and some relaxation. She also loves gardening. “I’m not very good at it,” she claims, “but I like to plant things and see what will grow.”
Thank you so much, Tina, for sharing with us! And good luck on your current novel!
Stay tuned to meet another of our wonderful members here next week.
Welcome back to our Member Spotlight series here on the blog.
Next up we have Kevin Alizadeh!
Kevin joined us here on The Second Floor shortly after we opened (a little over a year ago!) and is a great example of how useful the space can be for those of us who have a variety of projects going on at any given time.
Kevin grew up in New Jersey, but moved out west to Colorado as a high schooler. He has lived in Cheyenne for five years now. Formally trained as a chiropractor, Kevin initially moved here to open his own chiropractor business. Life has since taken him in another direction, though, and now he runs his own holding company, which primarily invests in public investments, as well as some real estate. Apparently he is a born businessman, because he has been running his own show since he was nine, when he got his start buying and selling sports trading cards!
Kevin primarily uses The Second Floor as a space to do research public investments, but he also enjoys reading, learning about novel markets and technologies such a bitcoin, business blockchain apps, and ethereum. So, if you have any questions about investments (or if you had to google blockchain and ethereum, as I did!), Kevin is the one you want to talk to. And really, he is a joy to chat with about just about anything. In his own words, Kevin enjoys “being open to serendipity in densely populated locations, [and] consciousness work (it’s a inside job).”
Thanks for sharing with us, Kevin! We are so happy to have you as a member of our awesome community!
Well, Spring has finally arrived here in Cheyenne (we hope it is here to stay!), and to celebrate the changing of the seasons, I thought we might take a moment to introduce some of our wonderful members here on The Second Floor.
To kick things off, I’d like to introduce Janelle Rose, of Janelle Rose Photography!
Janelle is an amazing photographer. She shoots mostly weddings and high school senior portraits, with a bit of commercial work in the mix, too. And, not only is she incredibly talented, she is one of those people who is genuinely passionate about the work they do, and it shows (see for yourself on her website)!
“I love what I do because it allows me to be a storyteller,” she says. “If I’m doing my job right, the camera can be a way for me to show my clients the beauty, truth and spontaneity of moments in their lives. My goal is to capture something authentic that reminds them years later not only what a moment looked like but what it felt like.”
Janelle grew up in Green River, Wyoming and went to college at the University of Wyoming (Go Pokes!) and Colorado State University. She met her husband in Laramie, and his career took them to Seattle, and then on to Salt Lake City. They moved moved back to Wyoming in 2011 and have two little girls, ages 4 and 7.
Janelle did not initially set out to become a photographer.
“At times I feel that photography hunted me down,” she says “The author Elizabeth Gilbert talks about how your creative ventures follow you around like ghosts, waiting to be revealed until you are ready to give them attention and effort. When I was a kid, I used to stare at magazine photos, photos on album covers, on walls, or in books, just analyzing how the contrast and color printed, looking at how the light was used, or trying to decipher a subject’s expression. I’ve also always loved taking photos. My dad had an Olympus film camera that I would pick up anytime I could. In high school, I started on the video production team, and fell in love with creating images. I set off to college declaring a major in journalism and communications, only to impulsively talk myself out of that and into some other field that I would tell myself was more “challenging” academically.”
Janelle ended up completing both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Food Science, as well as becoming a registered dietitian. But while health was something that had always interested her, she never found a job in that field that quite satisfied her.
“I worked in a busy Seattle trauma hospital, state government, and federal nutrition programs, and while it paid the bills and put my husband through school, it never really fed me creatively.”
When she and her husband had their first child, she decided that she didn’t love her current job enough to leave her daughter in someone else’s care. It was during that time at home that she picked up the camera again.
“And this is the point in the story that I cringe about a little….” Janelle says, “I became that cliche mom hobbyist turned professional photographer. I honestly felt like I couldn’t help myself. It made me feel alive again after a career that I had struggled to care about for so long. I scrambled to get any education I could, tagging along with photographers we knew in Salt Lake, going to conferences, and learning online. We moved back to Wyoming a year after I officially opened my business.”
And we are so glad she did! Janelle moved her studio out of her home and into an office suite here at The Second Floor almost one year ago.
“I needed a place to meet with clients for consultations, headshots, and ordering sessions. I also really wanted a space to do the majority of my editing and day to day business tasks,” she says. Working from a home office sounds great in theory, but it’s really, really hard to stay focused and resist distractions.”
Having an office downtown also provided a way for her to connect with a community here in Cheyenne
“I’ve loved the sense of community I’ve had at the Paramount,” She says. “It’s a positive work environment full of awesome creative entrepreneurs. My clients are always really excited to learn where I’m located, and most often I hear, ‘Oooh! I love the Paramount!'”
Like so many others, Janelle has noticed a shift in the downtown corridor recently. “I really believe Jon and Renee have been the biggest factor in changing what downtown looks like,” she says. “They’ve fostered a sense of community, not only with the cafe, but with the coworking concept of The Second Floor. It is an environment that allows for collaboration among professionals and enhances Cheyenne’s creative culture. I love how I feel walking into the building and my studio each day. It also smells amazing in my office because of the coffee downstairs!”
Where can you find Janelle when she isn’t in the studio or out on a shoot? Probably in the mountains.
“I am totally addicted to running. I’m happiest on a trail run in the mountains, and I love hiking, biking and being outside. I’m also a total bookworm.”
So, that is our first Member Spotlight. Thank you so much, Janelle, for sharing your story with us!
We will have many more to come, so stay tuned to meet more of the awesome people that make The Second Floor the special place that it is!
It’s a bittersweet week for us here at The Second Floor. Today, the first batch of students of Array School of Technology & Design are leaving us and going out into the world.
So, first and foremost: Congratulations, Array Students!!!
(Actual footage* of The Second Floor celebrating this morning in Cheyenne**)
We couldn’t be more proud of these students, or of the school’s faculty. It takes real vision to imagine a project like this, and it takes a great deal of hard work and dedication to make that vision a reality. But the Array team has done just that. Four students out of seven have already landed jobs (before even officially graduating!), and the rest have been bustling from interview to interview this week.
We will certainly miss having this batch of awesome people around, but we are so excited to hear what wonderful things they go on to accomplish, and we can’t wait to meet the next wonderful class of Array students (classes start in June).
Yay for Array!!
*not actual footage
**also not Cheyenne, or the Second Floor, but this is how we are feeling in our hearts and minds, so that counts, right?
Yes, yes. We know. Anniversary and Year-i-versary mean the same thing.
And it’s true… “year-i-versary” is a made-up word.
But it’s so much more fun to say! Also, the word anniversary just didn’t quite sum up how excited we are to celebrate our first full year as a community here on The Second Floor.
So…Happy Year-i-versary to us! All of us!!
We are so grateful to our amazing members, who play such a crucial role in making The Second Floor the very special place that it is. Without you fine folks, this would be just another building (though we must say, it’s a pretty cool one, with sweet furniture and awesome natural light). But seriously, it’s the people who make the place, and we are so happy that you have come along for the ride.
As we look forward to our second year as Cheyenne’s first and only co-working space, we are excited to add even more members to our tribe, to continue to create a diverse and vibrant community here in the hub of downtown Cheyenne, to be a nexus of energy and productivity, and, of course, to have a lot of fun along the way.
Now, it’s time for cake and mimosas! Cheers!!
Time is flying this year. To ring in the new month, we will be hosting our monthly Member Happy Hour here on The Second Floor. Last month’s Karaoke Happy Hour was so much fun that we considered just doing Karaoke every month, but since we didn’t want everyone to lose their voices completely, we opted for Pictionary Smackdown instead.
So – Members, wake up your inner artist, because we will be drinking some delicious beverages, drawing some masterpieces, and no doubt engaging in some friendly shouting.
We will see you here tonight, from 5-7pm, for good times with awesome folks.
Most of you probably already have your minds on fun weekend plans, or maybe a few chores you are planning on getting out of the way. It’s going to be a chilly one here in Cheyenne, so maybe all you are thinking about is cozying up with a good book.
But before you hunker down, or bundle up to hit the slopes, why not take a few minutes to reach out and help someone in need?
All around us in our community, people are struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. Sometimes the warning signs are hard to spot. And as a state, Wyoming is severely lacking in mental health resources.
Grace For 2 Brothers is a truly amazing local organization dedicated to the advocacy of suicide prevention through awareness and education around the state of Wyoming. (They are also an awesome member of our tribe here on The Second Floor). The foundation provides information and assistance to those who are in crisis, or who know someone in crisis. They also provide support and resources to survivors of suicide loss.
And right now, Grace for 2 Brothers, in partnership with Charitree Cheyenne, is asking for book donations to help with their efforts. Get Lost In A Book, Not In Life, is their book drive, which is going on now and will continue through March 5. A list of specific titles the organization is looking for can be found here. If you are having your donation shipped, please send the books to:
Grace for 2 Brothers, 1607 Capital Ave, suite 426, Cheyenne, WY 82001
If you’d like more information about the work Grace for 2 Brothers is doing, please check out their website. Also, #mentalhealthmarch is just around the corner, so check out their calendar for more information about upcoming activities and events.
Have a great weekend!
1607 CAPITOL AVE // CHEYENNE, WY // 307-220-0336