Lisa C. Merkel, Mayor of Herndon, cuts the ribbon during the Grand Opening of Rowan Tree, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, as co-founders Amy Dagliano (left) and Kate Viggiano Janich (right) look on. Herndon Town Councilmembers Pradip Dhakal (far left) and Vice Mayor Sheila Olem and Signe Friedrichs (right) help as Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) looks on.
Photo by Mercia Hobson.
Rowan Tree, the only coworking and cogrowth woman-focused community in Virginia, held its Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting in Herndon on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. Named after the Rowan tree that can grow and take root in the harshest of places, co-founders Kate Viggiano Janich and Amy Dagliano said that women are like that too.
Located in the Sunset Business Park at 280 Sunset Park Dr., Herndon, Rowan Tree is, as Viggiano Janich described it in her opening remarks that morning, "a funky space." It is two stories high with a mezzanine overlooking the open community work area with bar/kitchen and a play space great for yoga and creative events. Four multi-sized meeting rooms with glass walls edge the two levels. Reclaimed wood, metalwork, bursts of bright color and art accent the 3,000-square-foot space. Rowan Tree members or rental guests may use the various areas and top-of-the-line displays and sound systems for events and meetings.
Viggiano Janich and Dagliano are former employees of global consulting firms. Viggiano Janich brings twelve years of experience as a project management professional and strategic communicator to Rowan Tree; Dagliano brings fifteen plus years experience as creative marketing director.
During Dagliano’s opening remarks, she said that the initial reason they started to build the community stemmed from "a need in our lives," the need to connect, be productive, and balance work with creativity, wellness and light.
THE DUO spent months attending local events and volunteering, Dagliano said. During their interviews with women, they validated two points, “the big pieces," said Viggiano Janich. First, "one hundred percent said, when busy and stressed, they come last. …We do this to ourselves," Dagliano said. Viggiano Janich built on Dagliano’s remarks. She described the health need, or lack thereof for women to work out, get moving and do yoga. "That piece we heard over and over," Dagliano said.
Viggiano Janich said the second big piece in the business model was the need to connect with others in a safe environment to grow professionally and nurture one’s creative and personal sides. Although there are other niche coworking spaces in the region, Dagliano and Viggiano Janich described Rowan Tree as a workspace community for women, men and non-binary people, "respectful" people.
"You can't be a jerk," said Viggiano Janich. Members would be in a safe environment, one to nurture their businesses, themselves and others.
During the presentation and before the ribbon cutting, Dagliano and Viggiano Janich thanked all who helped them and were present- family and friends, members of the Rowan Tree community, Town of Herndon staff, Herndon Council, Mayor Lisa C. Merkel, Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) and others.
They also awarded annual full-time scholarships to Rowan Tree to Syazana Durrani, Gigi McMillan and Cordelia Gaffar. Dagliano and Viggiano Janich said Durrani supports families and acts as a productive community advocate in her role as neighborhood ambassador at a local county housing community; McMillan is the founder of The Purple Runway, created to increase awareness and provide monetary and emotional support for those affected by domestic and intimate partner violence; and Gaffar is the founder of an organization that helps women listen to their bodies, how they respond to foods, and teaches Essentrics stretching and modality.
DAGLIANO AND VIGGIANO JANICH said that for every five annual members who join the Rowan Tree Community, they would award one full-time scholarship to Rowan Tree. As of the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting, the Rowan Tree website announced it had 50 members.
On Jan. 19, Rowan Tree posted on Facebook that furloughed workers with a Government issued ID may come for free: "You may not need a workspace while on furlough but if you need a place to feel centered, reconnect with others, have a light yoga session, and a cup of coffee (or tea) come to Rowan Tree …There is no cost for this event; just show us your Government-issued ID."
For more information on Rowan Tree, visit workrowan.com.