The Women of Blush Cowork

Alison Rogers and Natasha Simmons are owners of Blush Cowork, a woman-focused coworking space with childcare.

Walking into Blush Cowork, Cary’s newest coworking space geared toward women, is nothing short of empowering. If you opt for a tour, you will see that each private office and conference room is named after an influential woman in North Carolina or in the lives of those who work here. Female authors fill their bookshelves, and a pink wall mural features all the different shades of blush that exist for every skin tone, a subtle nod to the space’s commitment to inclusivity. Although focused on women, Blush welcomes members and visitors of every race, ethnicity, disability, age, sexuality and gender identity.

Unlike many work spaces that traditionally cater to men, Blush Cowork provides a “mother’s room,” where new mothers can feed their babies, as well as on-site childcare for all members.

“Throughout the pandemic, I had a terrible experience trying to be a full-time stay-at-home parent and a full-time employee,” said Alison Rogers, co-founder of Blush Cowork and mother of two. “By taking away all those things that are negatively impacting women, especially disproportionately through the pandemic, we create a space where they can focus on whatever they want to achieve. A big part of that is childcare.”

Rogers met her friend and co-founder, Natasha Simmons, while they were both working at a male-dominated tech marketing firm. Although Simmons doesn’t have children, her past work experience opened her eyes to all the microagressions, discrimination and sexual harassment that women have to deal with daily.

“Overall, just being an advocate for women is what brought me here and brought us to the idea of Blush,” said Simmons. “I really hope that our members feel empowered to take on that idea, to have that conversation, to create that connection. I want women to feel like there are no barriers to whatever they want to do.”

Jill Kalislak, center, talks strategy in the communal workspace with Alison Rogers, left, and Natasha Simmons.

Jill Kalisiak

  • Proud member of Blush Cowork.
  • Started her own firm, Kalisiak Properties Inc., a year ago.
  • Mission Statement: Creative use of real estate and thoughtful design influence people, place and purpose.
  • Inspiration: It’s a privilege to be a small part of making the dreams and goals of other businesses come true as they find the right space. I wanted to use my unique set of skills and experiences along with my passion for a first-class experience. I truly believe it’s just as much about the journey as it is the destination.
  • Advice for the next generation of female leaders: Continue to inspire and elevate the women around you to do their best work and achieve their best results!

To find the perfect space, Rogers and Simmons reached out to Jill Kalisiak, a commercial real estate broker who recently started her own firm. Kalisiak, who is now one of many women who cowork at Blush, was excited to help find a space to further empower women.

“It was just such a tremendous opportunity to help them,” said Kalisiak. “I have three sons, and I love that they get to see moms in action, and they’re going to grow up knowing that this is not only a normal thing, but a fantastic thing — seeing moms fulfilling their dreams and building up other women in business and the community.”

Blush Cowork offers a space for children to play.

“We thought very strategically about the location. The key things that we wanted were conference rooms, private rooms, open space and natural light. Now we have a place with a beautiful courtyard and a place for kids to enjoy their day as much as their moms. It really ticked all the boxes.”

The women who choose Blush have a wide range of backgrounds and professions. Some are entrepreneurs who choose to headquarter their teams at Blush, others work independently, and a few are full-time students.

Micaha Dean Hughes

  • Doctoral student at NC State.
  • Discovered Blush via a business card at Chatham Street Wine Market.
  • Inspiration: My interest in supporting girls in STEM started during a college internship in Washington, D.C. It was then that I realized how underrepresented women are in the engineering and tech field.
  • Hopes and dreams: Finishing my Ph.D., for one. But also I have two young daughters, and helping them grow and navigate the world while breaking down any barriers they might have is a big goal and a huge hope for the future.
  • Advice for the next generation of female leaders: Meet other women! I have been so fortunate in my career, as well as my personal life, to be surrounded by some inspiring, brilliant, amazing women who motivate me and push me to higher levels. And in turn, mentorship. My mentors have stood up for me and led me in so many ways, and I hope I have done and will continue to do the same for my mentees.

Micaha Dean Hughes is a first-year doctoral student at NC State in the College of Education, studying educational psychology. After almost 10 years of working in higher education recruitment and planning and overseeing summer engineering programs for kids, she is particularly interested in what drives students, specifically girls and women, into the field of engineering. Like many others, Hughes was drawn to Blush by the childcare.

Audrey Evans of Edenton works from a soundproof cubicle at Blush Cowork in Cary.

“I do have two daughters, and childcare was a really overwhelming thing for me to allocate when we moved here,” said Hughes. “I would have loved to have a space when I was working full time that had mother’s rooms down the hall where I could nurse my child, but I never had that. I’ve had the experience of dropping my child off at a daycare center and crying when I left the parking lot, so having my daughters right here and being surrounded by other moms who can relate really pulled me in.”

Although in-house childcare is a bonus, some members are simply looking to be in the presence of other women.

Corielle Laaspere works from a private rental space at Blush Cowork.

Corielle Laaspere

  • One of Blush Cowork’s first (and most enthusiastic) members.
  • Founder and president of liftUPlift
  • Inspiration: In 2014, I met a young woman from India who told me, “American women don’t appreciate how much power they have. You are free to do whatever you want, so you should. Not all women get to choose who they become.” She made me ask myself if I was doing exactly what I wanted with my time and skills. The answer was no, so I quit my 9–5 job in marketing and launched liftUPlift to create the change I want to see in the world.
  • Advice for the next generation of female leaders: When you witness a negative situation, don’t be silent; silence equals condoning. Your actions have a profound influence on others. You may need to be the first to speak up, but you won’t be alone. This is one of the most important ways to be a leader in your work and life.

“I wanted the community, a place where I could make friends, not just professional contacts,” said Corielle Laaspere, the founder and president of liftUPlift, a nonprofit dedicated to creating safe and inclusive communities worldwide. “I also wanted to be able to participate in events and learn new things, and Blush provided all of that.”

Laaspere, who heard about Blush Cowork on Instagram, enjoys getting out of the house for a change of scenery that really resonates with her. Inspired by everything from the signage and art throughout the space to the connections she makes every day with other like-minded women, Laaspere recommends Blush to everyone she knows.

Blush Cowork is equipped with many cozy cubbies to work from.

“It just makes sense,” said Laaspere. “We are all hungry for connection and for those friendships that we’ve been missing out on for the last couple of years. And seriously, why doesn’t a space with built-in childcare exist everywhere? It’s so needed, and everybody’s looking for it. They just need to know it’s here.”

For more information on Blush Cowork, visit

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