Television journalist and presenter Andrea McLean didn’t mean to launch a global community of women looking to support one another. But in 2018, the UK media personality, best known for ITV’s GMTV (“Good Morning TV,” the daily breakfast show) and the talk show Loose Women, started sharing on social media her own no-holds-barred experiences with glass ceilings, lack of confidence, relationship challenges, and menopause—and people responded.
Soon McLean’s direct messages were flooded with other women wanting advice, support, and simply somewhere to vent. “I was experiencing all the stressors and pains that women do” McLean says. “But when I have a challenge, I turn to a brilliant community of friends and experts. These women reaching out to me didn’t have that.”
McLean started by responding to every single one of her DMs, but as they increased in volume, she realized she didn’t have the capacity or the credentials to offer one-on-one support. “So I turned to my friends [for help],” she says. “And by building that community, we have created something sustainable that serves our community.”
I strongly believe that the best ideas happen when we give ourselves space to think, to be creative, to connect, to collaborate with others.Andrea McLean, television journalist, presenter, and founder of This Girl Is On Fire
Together with her husband and cofounder, Nick Feeney, McLean built This Girl Is On Fire, a global membership community with a simple mission: to help women feel better about themselves. Their vision was to create a website with a community of voices where people could go to get support and advice from trusted experts who had been there before.
The site features articles and advice on everything from impostor syndrome to breakups, from women’s health to career growth. Contributors include Amanda Lamb, Jo Malone, and Lisa Bilyeu. In the four years since launch, This Girl Is on Fire has grown fast. To date, the team has launched a mindset app, events for its members, master classes, workbooks and more—all of which deliver advice, tips, activities, and motivations to more than 600,000 women around the world.
A space to think, be creative, and connect
Home is in the UK, but McLean and Feeney head up a global team of 11. As their business took off, McLean and Feeney chose WeWork as their base of operations no matter what city they were working from. With WeWork All Access memberships, the duo can travel internationally and use any space they want. It’s a well-priced, flexible offering that appeals to them.
They frequently travel to the U.S., popping into WeWork 85 Broad St in New York for meetings with contributors. “A lot of the people who are behind This Girl Is on Fire are freelancers or solo entrepreneurs,” McLean says. “They don’t get the chance for watercooler moments, after-work drinks, or deskside chats. WeWork allows people to form relationships and engage with others while pursuing their own endeavors and passions.”
At WeWork, they knew they’d found the right place. “We’re a startup, but we’re now also a global brand,” Feeney says. “Sometimes that’s hard to balance, because we have so many people expecting so much from us. That’s why WeWork is so great—it’s a hub for startups and entrepreneurs, and we love being around that buzzy vibe no matter where we are in the world.”
Recently the couple hosted a launch party for their new app, which was developed in WeWork offices. The environment, the duo says, had a major impact on the product. “I strongly believe that the best ideas happen when we give ourselves space to think, to be creative, to connect, to collaborate with others,” McLean says.
“We work from all over the world, and the digital tools available help us keep in touch with everyone. But the conversations that happen when our teams get together in WeWork offices are so much richer and more fruitful than those online,” she says.
For a couple who’s established a global brand based on a strong community, they’ve found one at WeWork to help build their business.
Francesca Baker is a freelance writer, marketer, and PR, a true non-nicher who thrives on freedom and flexibility. Follow her at @andsoshethinks.