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Co-Founders Spotlight: Creating a Coworking Space in Tucson

Updated: Jun 24, 2020

Join us in an interview with La Suprema's Co-Founders Gina Catalano and Katina Koller on why they created a Tucson coworking space.

When and why did you decide to create a coworking community in Barrio Viejo?

Gina: We canvassed all of Tucson looking for the perfect coworking space - including a walking tour of 15 properties on the hottest day in July! Ultimately, we found a small office in the most amazing building in Barrio Viejo. It didn’t take long to fall in love with this jewel of a neighborhood. Once we discovered La Suprema, with Katina’s vision it didn’t take long to see what this old adobe tortilla factory could become.

Katina: For about six months, I struggled to find a professional and energizing Tucson event space to facilitate meetings. After placing about 40 (unreturned) phone calls to local venues, I realized that people like me were trying to solve this same problem. Also, working from home was isolating and distracting, not to mention unstable internet, and I wanted to offer coworking as a solution for Tucson entrepreneurs. Coworking was born from this concept that people deserve an amazing work life.

Why the name ‘La Suprema’?

Katina: Honoring the neighborhood and celebrating the heritage of the space is of premiere importance to all of us. After it was a Chinese Merchant, it became La Suprema Tortilla Manufacturing and Distribution. Keeping the namesake of “La Suprema” means that we are carrying the legacy forward - translating the historic experience with contemporary amenities for people to enjoy for decades to come.

What are you most excited for when La Suprema opens?

Gina: To see the activity of members and guests enjoying the magic of the space, creating and collaborating, being a truly community focused destination.

Katina: Pure joy will come from Members and the Greater Community discovering the space, enjoying a variety of work styles, finding inspiration, networking with each other and catalyzing ideas and businesses.

What have been some of the challenges of opening a coworking space in Tucson?

Gina: We both have run and participated in a number of businesses so it still surprises me that there are new and different challenges that I hadn’t anticipated. Becoming incredibly focused on member needs always brings back my focus.

Katina: Like every new business, it is harder than you originally think to keep it super simple and focus on the vital fews versus the trivial many.

What makes La Suprema Works & Events stand out from other work spaces?

Gina: Our desire to see our members grow - personally and professionally and create meaningful businesses and connections. Plus, I think it will be a really fun and amazing place to work and collaborate!

Katina: Our people and our incredible aesthetic! We have an amazing Community Manager, Alex Biddle, who exemplifies La Suprema’s values and loves working with people and taking on unique challenges. Ashley LaRussa is an amazing connector and event space manager and especially strong in programming. She focuses on diversity and inclusion, two more values that La Suprema embraces. In addition to our location in beautiful Barrio Viejo, our organic vibe is the perfect foundation for creativity and productivity.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Gina: I enjoy spending time with my husband golfing and being outdoors as well as cooking, reading and traveling. A nice glass of wine watching the mountains at sunset tops the list!

Katina: Family togetherness in nature! My Husband and I have two Daughters and two rescue dogs and we love being outdoors in Arizona. We like to hike, go to parks, picnic, tour botanical gardens and explore the natural beauty of our home state.

What’s your favorite quote?

Gina: I am quote fanatic but right now one of my favorite’s is, “You must do the things you think you cannot do” by Eleanor Roosevelt.

Katina: Oh my gosh. This is a really tough question because it is so hard to narrow down to just one - since I find inspiration from so many. One that I circle back to often is from Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with this one wild and precious life.”

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