Welcome to Community Corner, a series highlighting the work, passions, and impact of our community teams around the world.
The photographer zoomed in on two people talking at a conference table and clicked the shutter. The picture, blurry, showed figures deep in conversation, one gesturing with a pencil in hand.
This was no stealth photo taken by the paparazzi; the photographer was community manager Jess Murphy, 32, recording the precise moment two members she introduced embarked on their working relationship.
Murphy says it all began one “Member Focus Friday,” when she was wearing a shirt branded with a member’s company logo. It’s something the six employees at WeWork 310 Edwards St in Brisbane, Australia, do once a month—but member Justin Falk of TalentVine hadn’t noticed before. He walked up to her and asked, “Hey, what’s with the shirt?”
Murphy explained that the staff occasionally did this kind of member promotion, and that they could do it for his company, too, if he brought them some shirts. Then she told him a bit about recruiting firm McArthur, the company featured that week.
As she talked about McArthur’s business, Falk interrupted her. “He asked me if I was joking,” Murphy recalls. It turns out Falk had been on the phone all morning, looking for exactly the kind of talent services McArthur offers. “Donna Beasley, an executive at McArthur, had access to just the people he needed, for the specific roles he was looking for,” says Murphy.
She introduced the two, and later that day she spotted them meeting in a conference room. “I took a picture, of course!” she says.
Georgia Foley, the director of community in Sydney, loved stories of connection among members, so Murphy sent her the photo. “Last I heard,” she says, “one position has already been filled!”
We spoke to Murphy about her values, her work, and her passion for her fridge.
Core values: “Everyone says the same thing about me—that I’m tenacious,” says Murphy. A recent episode with the refrigerator of her dreams proves it. “I had been saving up for years, and when the fridge arrived at my house, the delivery men couldn’t fit it in the front door,” she says. At a loss, the men suggested she install the appliance in the garage, using an extension cord. “I was like, that’s not happening!” Murphy had them leave the fridge outside the house. Later, she got to work. “I fashioned a ramp, put a mattress at the bottom of the stairs, taped handles onto the fridge, and made my roommate help me lower it down the stairs.” All of this, she adds, in the rain. But they got the fridge in.
Member who has affected her most: Sam Hardy, of Trust Codes, shares Murphy’s love of food and cooking. “We often cook for each other and bring in lunches to share,” says Murphy, noting that Hardy recently brought in a pie he made from scratch. “There’s something about sitting down and sharing a meal with someone, taking that time out of a crazy day.” Murphy finds the office ritual especially helpful on stressful days. “Sam makes me stop, share some food, and talk about something removed from my day-to-day, and that helps me relax.”
Favorite place: Noosa, in Queensland. “If you Google it, you’ll see why,” says Murphy. There is a small beach, good food, and many artisans.
On her team at WeWork: Murphy says she has never felt so supported by her management and her team. “Our HQ is an eight-hour drive away [in Sydney], so we always get behind each other—whether it is a business goal or a personal goal,” she says.
Recently, community associate Josh Edelman participated in his first powerlifting competition. “We can’t be there to cheer him on in person, but the six employees at our building have a group chat,” Murphy says. “During breaks in his competition, we chatted with Josh about where he was in the heat as a way to encourage him.”
Edelman, whom Murphy says is not a large person, ended up deadlifting 180 kilograms (397 pounds). She attributes this feat, among others, to the power of community.
Photographs courtesy of Jess Murphy