Essential Women: Audrey Gelman
Audrey Gelman is bringing women together. In October 2016, she and business partner Lauren Kassan launched The Wing, a women’s co-working space and social club in Manhattan. The Wing’s mission was quickly embraced, tapping into the growing desire for women to come together, to share their ideas, freshen up during the in-betweens of a busy day, and go into the world with greater gusto. This community of ambitious women now gather daily to support each other’s goings on, to explore fascinating new topics, to give back, and to plot their next big moves.
"I felt intimidated and challenged, and almost certain it would fail, but I still felt like I could bet on myself and knew I was onto something."
From the very beginning, the demand for membership outweighed the square footage of the space, and inspired an expansion in the months to come to Brooklyn, Manhattan’s Soho, and Washington, D.C. Now, we’re counting down the minutes until they arrive in San Francisco (an unsubtle hint).
We spent the afternoon with Gelman in her Carroll Gardens apartment—a classic New York haven filled with memories, notable keepsakes and a trio of long-hair cats. Its warm spaces spoke to a woman with a story, and an agenda that wouldn’t—and shouldn’t—rest. This native New Yorker and Morticia Addams enthusiast has proven herself a fearless political communications director and an innovative entrepreneur—we can’t wait to see where she leads us next.
"We subscribe to the belief that women contain multitudes and that all of those parts need to be nurtured and appreciated."
When did you decide to go for it with The Wing?
I started researching how to start a company, raise money, and it just struck me that I could do this. I felt intimidated and challenged, and almost certain it would fail, but I still felt like I could bet on myself and knew I was onto something.
How does The Wing celebrate women holistically?
We subscribe to the belief that women contain multitudes and that all of those parts need to be nurtured and appreciated. Through our events and programming we try to give special attention to all those parts—we've had workshops on everything from self-defense, to conversation with women in the heavy metal world and an all-female motorcycle gang, to classes on reiki, crystals and fertility.
Who is your female inspiration of the moment?
Morticia Addams, always.
What other ways can we empower women?
I try to pay it forward through mentoring younger women and girls, and offering advice that I never had access to in the early part of my career.
How has growing up in New York City shaped you?
Being a native New Yorker is a pretty inextricable part of my personality in the sense that I'm loud, pushy and opinionated. I think growing up in Giuliani era New York, taking the subway, being allowed to make mistakes and learn from them in an environment that isn't child-proofed has helped me become resourceful and scrappy in a way that I've relied on in every job I've had.