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Gerald Smith is the President and CEO of Plexpod, a state-of-the-art coworking center located in Lenexa, Kan. To say that Gerald is a vanguard in the marketing and communications frontier is putting it lightly. Gerald has spent the last 25 years building businesses and consulting international brands in marketing, publishing, and creative communications. Gerald has successfully brought coworking—which is arguably the future of work environments—to Kansas City and has shown no signs of slowing down. We had the pleasure of hitting Gerald up with a few questions…just to get a peek into his always ever-innovating brain.
1. When starting Plexpod, a little over a year ago, what did you hope to accomplish?
My personal focus has always been on innovation and change. I frequently ask, What is the distance between our current state and change? Answering that question has always been exciting to me. There is much required in assessing that question, but ultimately it involves and requires seeking out ways to improve and make our world a better place. Easier said than done, of course.
I would say the core of my personal mission with Plexpod continues to be just that. How can we impact the world for a better tomorrow by creating new workspaces and communities that engage entrepreneurs to do life’s best work? And I think we are accomplishing that everyday. The best part of my day is listening to success stories from principals of entrepreneur companies who are taking advantage of the Plexpod platform to grow their companies and make a difference in the lives of their teams.
2. How will coworking shape the work environment of the future?
The special part of what we do is create positive environments for collaboration to occur. I’ve learned the best way to impact a small business is by connecting them to resources and other companies. I like to say, it’s less about being in business, and more about being around business that matters the most.
We are working on some crazy ideas that I believe will create waves of change for the traditional office model. I believe office buildings will be branded and flagged similar to hotels, like Westin and Hilton. Plexpod is one of those brand flags. We are similar to hotels in that we are in the hospitality and concierge business, except for workers, to ultimately impact and benefit companies.
Plexpod is currently expanding into multiple locations, including what is expected to be the world’s largest coworking facility at 360,000 square ft. in Kansas City, MO.
3. What is your favorite thing about working in Kansas City?
Kansas City has got it going on! Boom. I was recently at a global conference in LA and I was feeling so affirmed that people around the world had heard of Plexpod, but when I probed further, they didn’t appear to want to talk about Plexpod so much as they wanted to talk about Kansas City. Many asked, What is it about Kansas City? Why is it so special and attractive to entrepreneurism? Well, I could talk about that for hours, but ultimately what it comes down to is that Kansas City and the people here have decided they want the city they live in to be the most entrepreneurial city in the world. And why not? Did I mention the Kansas City Royals won the World Series last year. Mic drop.
Among his many talents, Gerald is a musician, golfer, and avid photographer. He has served on a multitude of boards and committees for philanthropic efforts. He is a lifetime member of the Media Communications Association International (MCAI) and served on the regional Board of Governors for the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s). He has enjoyed a variety of awards for his work including Telly, Addy, Aurora, and BMA awards.