A conversation on business & community leadership with Maghan Morin & Jeanine Suah, founders of Thynk Global
While almost every co-working space has been silently closed during the pandemic, one space has innovated its community relationships & offerings to hold its doors open — safely and virtually.
Maghan Morin and Jeanine Suah opened Thynk Global in January, providing an inclusive workspace for women & minorities where you could feel creative energy buzzing through the concrete floors. When coronavirus hit, Maghan and Jeanine swiftly redirected that energy — and their business model — into Miami’s first virtual, co-working membership platform. They moved their pop-up retail online along with their events, including a digital dance marathon to raise funds for female entrepreneurs.
Settled along the river in Little Haiti, Thynk Global personifies the business district & cultural center mash-up that defines the intersection of the Little River & Little Haiti. “There’s still an opportunity to preserve the culture here. A lot of other neighborhoods are gentrified and lost that raw, grassroots grit. This community can still have that.”
Pioneering the affordable workspace movement in Miami, Jeanine and Maghan laugh electric as they talk about their three-year journey as friends & business partners. We sat down with the pair whose high-energy, passionate approach to sustainable business is challenging the status quo of Miami’s community leadership. In this story, you’ll hear straight from Jeanine & Maghan.
LET’S TALK BUSINESS
“The [business] culture here can be very cliquey. We hear a lot about companies that come in, overpromise, take the money & go. Jeanine & I don't have the power to do that. That's not us anyway. We have to continue building that trust & earning our trust.
You have to speak up. Keep being honest, keep being yourself, if you have a problem with something, you have to figure out a way to fix it. Improve the ecosystem so you don't have to struggle to be heard/seen. Let your voice be heard, even if it hurts.
The only people it woke up are the people who didn't have to deal with it day to day. But it did shift the minority mindset that we do have to recirculate the black dollar. They're realizing the importance of wealth. A lot of black people, by nature & history, were focused on getting rich, but not creating wealth that open doors for those who come after.
Start local, take care of what is right in front of you and eventually you can impact on a global scale.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN ALLY?
“An ally is someone who has a deep appreciation and understanding and empathy for what people go through. Recognize there's an injustice and use your privilege to share my voice with others. Be willing to fight for what's right even if it's uncomfortable. Use your skin color to help people who look like us in breaking down systems of power.
An ally needs to do their part to give true opportunity. Allies need to speak up when there's something wrong and support minority-owned businesses. Minorities run great brands and restaurants. If our allies want change, they need to start investing their dollars in minority businesses.
Go immerse yourself. Come to Little Haiti, talk to people to understand their language and minds. Get into other people's experiences to understand it. People will be less intimidated if they put themselves in places where people live. If you don't take the time to learn someone else's culture [you’re missing] the psychological advantages of speaking other languages and knowing other cultures which are huge. I think it derives from fear of becoming the minority.
Miami's great, it just needs a little work…use your community to fix it."
PERSONAL LESSONS & POSITIVE OUTCOMES
“Your mind is your strongest asset. You can pull yourself out of anything if you have the discipline to do it. And always find the silver lining.
Seeing the people who truly believe in your dream and vision, who've seen you struggle from the beginning, a lot of people within the community pitched in to help us support our vision & community. That’s something so powerful that I’ll never forget. You always give, give, give without expecting anything in return…my heart just melts. The community's really caring for us.
If anything [this pandemic] proved to a lot of people, there is no limit, you can push yourself & get through anything. That's one of the most positive things for me, personally.
I 100% want people to remember you can be kind and the world will be kind to you. Whatever you're doing in life, I hope it's for the betterment of humanity, not just for yourself. I would want them to know we embarked on this journey knowing no matter what it would fulfill us; the fact we can be part of other entrepreneur’s journeys is what fuels our fire.
I’m not even going to go after — that’s a team answer! It’s so true. There was a time when people told us we were too unprofessional. But at the end of the day, we do what's most comfortable to us.
The authenticity…there’s no other way to be."