This piece is part of our GVLtoday Q+A series. Do you know someone we should interview? Nominate them here.
While Sally Williamson is technically the Member Services Specialist at Endeavor coworking space in downtown Greenville, her role goes far beyond her title.
We asked Sally 14 questions about her career that has taken her from ville to ville (Knoxville to Greenville, that is) + her Greenville go-tos.
Q: Tell us about your role at Endeavor + a little bit about yourself.
A: I’m the Member Services Specialist at Endeavor. It’s funny because that title sounds very broad, and that’s why it is, because my job is… all kinds of things, but that’s my official title. My role is to provide support to all of the members — whether they’re corporate members or daytime members — and just helping their day be easier… I’m also all of the accounting department — receivables + payables for both Endeavor and Erwin Creates. All events, nighttime and weekends — I’m the event person. So truly, anything that comes through the door, is what I do.
Q: How did previous roles prepare you for your current role at Endeavor?
A: I was the 13th employee for Home and Garden Television in Knoxville, TN, and when I joined, we weren’t even on the air yet… We were building a building, we were hiring tons of people. As you all know, HGTV is enormous now. That helped me because I was young at that time, and it helped me learn how to multitask + not get too stressed about, “okay, I didn’t get to finish this today.” You kind of adapt, make time, and keep yourself organized, but not get too stressed about it...
Q: How did you come into your role at Endeavor?
A: I was at Erwin Penland with Joe (Erwin) and Shannon (Wilbanks). I had developed a pretty strong bond with both of them when I was there, and when Joe left and then shortly after that Shannon left, we started talking about what this possibility of Endeavor is. And so then I left EP and joined them. I joined in February, and we opened in May of 2016. I’ve been here since the beginning.
Q: Has your role changed as Endeavor has grown? If so, how?
A: Yes, very much — with COVID and just the years of growth here. I mean, Endeavor’s just so much more than I think any of us thought it would be. We kind of just thought, “Oh, it’s going to be a traditional co-workspace. People who are freelancers will just come work for the day or a small company that doesn’t have an office, they’ll come work.” And it’s so much more than that now — as you can see, just from today in the lobby. I mean, it’s just busy, nonstop.
Q: Did you ever envision businesses calling Endeavor their headquarters?
A: You know, not the size of businesses that we have. We expected a kind of small, one-two person company would maybe headquarter here. It’s a beautiful space, and when [these businesses] are having meetings outside, they wouldn’t have to meet at their dining room table since they wouldn’t have an office. So we kind of expected that with smaller companies. I never envisioned then that big companies would have a presence here. And I didn’t envision big corporate memberships — we have a lot of corporate members. I don’t think I envisioned that. Maybe down the road we thought that, but it started right off the bat. I mean, from the beginning.
Q: Where do you see Endeavor in the next 10-20 years?
A: You know, I get asked all the time: “Do you have other locations?” Haha, [I say] “No, until we can clone me, I’m not going to be at another location.” You know, I think it will just continue based on how the business trend is going. I think it will stay busy and hopping and I do think corporate memberships will become even more so than they are now. Just because the big corporations that are getting back to work — they do recognize that, especially marketing and creative groups in their departments — they need a place to go, and they want to go and be around people as opposed to just, a traditional cubicle in a big corporation. Corporate memberships, I can see those going further. I think we’ll be busy forever.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: Before I leave to go home, I try to do my to-do list. You’ll see little posts on my computer: “I have to do this tomorrow,” “I have to do this tomorrow,” “I have to do this tomorrow.” I try to do that, because there’s so much activity and I get pulled in so many directions all the time. No day is the same, right? But I have to have those to do lists, because I will literally say to either to Shannon or Alan or Taylor, “I’ve gotta have an hour, I have to finish this.”
But a great day is when you see so many people like you all that aren’t ones that I see every day. They come in and kind of mix it up — that’s fun. What makes it fun is the people that come in and have meetings with outside clients, because it’s fun to hear when they walk in for the first time and go, “Oh my gosh, this place is beautiful.” “Oh my gosh, look at that.” The questions keep it fun for us too. So it’s exciting, but a typical day is busy and afternoons are usually my accounting time. But one of the things that I guess that I feel like that I do pretty well is I try to make people feel welcome and special. Even though we have a ton of members here, I hope I make everybody feel like they’re special.
Q: What would you say to someone considering a membership at Endeavor?
A: A lot of people say they get in the rutt of not being able to get up, get dressed, and get out of the house. You know, we all know that you can easily stay at home in your gym shorts and T-shirt, but those days that you do get up and get dressed, you do feel a little more productive. I like to tell people, “Give yourself a chance, because I think you’ll get so much more done in a short period of time than at home when you’re looking at the laundry or taking the dog out. That opportunity to meet other people and learn from other people: That’s one of the greatest things here.
When we started Endeavor, we wanted people to collaborate, [and for them to know] you may be good at this, but this company that’s sitting next to you is really good at this. You can kind of start talking to each other. So my one piece of advice: Give yourself the opportunity and try it. It’s not for everyone, it’s really not. I say that a lot on the tours I give tours every single day to people that walk in. I always say “Come try it for the day.” I could sell you and convince you to come here. But if it’s not going to work for you, then that’s not good for anyone. I want to give them the opportunity to figure it out to see, because we do have some people that come in, and they’re like, “I would love to be there, but I need a desk.” Well, currently, I don’t have any desks, and the daytime membership doesn’t really work for them. I get that. I don’t want to force them into something that’s not a good fit for them. But if they get in, they can figure out how to make it work.
Q: Tell us about some of the different membership events you host.
A: Well, Collaborators & Cocktails is just fantastic. You’ve got to come because they’re so fun and they’re so different. I mean, we have had them for six and a half years, and we’ve had tons of speakers. Every single one is different. They’re never the same. And it’s just fun to hear great speakers from all over the country. They just tell great stories that are life lessons for everyone. And I’ve learned something.
Bonus: This fall’s Collaborators & Cocktails event is Thurs., Sept. 27, featuring Scoundrel’s Chef Joe Cash.
Q: Who are two to three local movers and shakers you’re watching and why?
A: Well, first I have to say Joe [Erwin]. Not only for Endeavor and for me personally, but just seeing all the things that he’s done for Greenville and his passion for people, the city, and sports. He’s done so much.
Another one that’s a big influence for me is Carlos [Phillips] at the Greenville Chamber. I feel like with Greenville, [the Greenville Chamber] is a notch above everything in Greenville.
Meghan Barp has taken the United Way of Greenville to a different level. United Way is such a huge [organization] within all cities, but I feel like here, she’s taken it to a different level. I like seeing all of the things that she and her team are doing.
Q: What’s your perfect day in Greenville?
A: Well, it’s on a Saturday.. Well, like for instance, on the weekends, I mean, we’re big, big Georgia [Bulldog] fans. We go to [or watch] all the football games on the weekends. My husband and I go for a walk with our miniature dachshund, Bear and do some exercise. We’re brewery people and are big Home Team BBQ people. Doing things with my kids and family — that’s a perfect day to me… and ending on our big side porch with Bear in my lap.
Q: You can only bring one menu from a local restaurant to a deserted island with you — which one are you bringing?
A: Carolina Drive-In. They are a local family-owned restaurant that are close family friends of ours. Why them? Their menu is so diverse and yummy, with all things breakfast, lunch, and dinner… and they have crushed ice.