I have an unflagging sense of humor and a friendly disposition. I am a skilled communicator and am passionate about social change and helping people reach their potential. I love to problem-solve and am always looking for new opportunities. I make time for people who reach out to me, so please feel free to do so.
I'm primarily a content strategist, with secondary skills in front-end design and development. I have an incredibly diverse background (socioeconomic and also via experiences like living off the grid, relocating to support indigenous communities abroad, teaching, founding nonprofit organizations and organizing a yearlong tour across the US where I spoke in nearly one hundred universities on social justice issues).
These days, I'm a magazine editor, a front-end designer-developer, and a small business owner for a line of dental health services I helped create.
My eclectic background includes living and working in four countries and seven US states, with extensive travel in 25+ countries and across the US. I've tried my hand at a ton of different things because—fuck it—careers are fictions and one's life mission need not be contained in a single job, industry or role. I am a former public high school teacher in at-risk schools and my early career was in education/services for underserved communities, specifically refugees and immigrants. I also have an activism background that gave me reason to do some pretty cool things, from living in Zapatista communities to helping run an environmental education nonprofit. As a lone wolf and introvert, I have repeatedly chosen to join and form organizations, cooperative homes, collectives and coworking communities. I take pride in having skipped around, professionally, always looking for the next place to take my life's work to the next level. In every professional role, I specialize in bridging communication gaps for the underserved.
Lately I've been known for my role at the intersection of work and meaning. As the founding editor of New Worker Magazine and an active figure in the coworking movement, I advocate for a future of work in which individuals and institutions realize their potential to solve society's most pressing problems. “Work” sounds like it could be an awfully boring topic, but it is our work that has the greatest power to transform the world—and our own lives. My work philosophy is, if at all possible, work toward something you really give a shit about; if you go into business, this goes triple for you.
I'm also a writer and am somewhat hellbent on sharing as much of my personal experience as possible. Recently I've had articles published on why I choose to juggle multiple types of work, challenges I've faced in the classroom, advice gleaned from my experience on the hackathon-road-trip StartupBus, various topics within the dental health field, and lots of topics on the coworking movement for Freelancer's Union, OuiShare and New Worker Magazine. Others have quoted me on how I work, why I started a housing cooperative in the Bay Area, how I lived abroad as a language teacher, why I moved to Guatemala instead of getting a job after college, being a woman of color working with refugees and immigrants, why I left public school teaching and how I overcame adversity and disempowerment as a young adult.
I've been fortunate to appear in the press quite a bit within the past year. Much centers around my role within coworking, including my appearance on CBS This Morning, interviews with me in Shareable, Deskmag and NY Tech, and podcasts like The Naked Freelancer and QNY News. I also dispense advice on diverse topics like millennial careers, creative business, how to rock renting on Airbnb, and the best books to teach and learn Spanish. I'm also one of the featured women of color in an article in the July/August print issue of More Magazine, "When your parents didn't go to college."
As a supporter of social and environmental causes, I believe one of the most urgent global problems is the loss of indigenous land, languages and cultures. I've long been looking for an excuse to rough it in the Amazon, so if you know of something wild like that, definitely reach out. Thanks for reading.
• July/Aug 2015 — More Magazine (in print) “When your parents didn't go to college” by Rebecca Webber
• May 2015 — The Naked Freelancer: “Freelancers & coworking: The rise of the New Worker with Melissa Mesku” by Melissa Geissinger
• May 2015 — Levo League: “What these 9 millennials did after college instead of starting a full-time job” by Kelsey Manning
• May 2015 — Pyragraph: “Monogamy: Not suitable for work”
• Apr 2015 — YFS Magazine: “Entrepreneurs reveal the type of office space their companies call home”
• Mar 2015 — USA Today: “How to avoid booking a bad vacation rental” by Christopher Elliott
• Mar 2015 — Remin Media: “65% of dentists are wrong about their dental lab”
• Feb 2015 — Market Watch: “Why so many college graduates are teaching abroad” by Christine DiGangi
• Feb 2015 — Credit.com: “The risks and rewards of teaching abroad” by Christine DiGangi
• Feb 2015 — NY Tech: “Featured member”
• Jan 2015 — QNY Tech Podcast: “Sharing economy”
• Dec 2014 — CBS This Morning (article and video): http://www.cbsnews.com/news/co-working-spaces...
• Nov 2014 — Bplans: “Six creative ways to figure out if you’ve got a good business idea” by Angelique O'Rourke
• Oct 2014 — Deskmag (interview): “The coworking community expands with New Worker Magazine” by Amanda Gray
• Oct 2014 — Gringos Abroad: “8 travelers share the 12 best books to learn Spanish” by Bryan Haines
• Aug 2014 — The Story Exchange: “Female entrepreneurs: Don't let your mind hold you back” by Candice Helfand
• Jul 2014 — Washington Informer: “Minority teachers abandon classrooms” by Stacy M. Brown
• Jul 2014 — Final Call: “Blacks, Latino educators struggle in profession” by Stacy M. Brown
• Jun 2014 — Crowdwise (Denmark): “Makers of Barcelona” by Ellen Mygind
• May 2014 — Shareable (interview) “New Worker Magazine launches today” by Cat Johnson
I co-founded Pure Cure Dental Technology in 2010. We are the originator of the concept and process of removing toxins and allergens from resin-based dental devices. Our patent-pending Pure Cure Denture Detox® line of biocompatible denture products enable denture wearers to remove toxic and allergenic substances from their denture safely and affordably. We have also offered denture detoxification as a laboratory service for dentists.
My founding team was privy to a little-known health problem in the industry and used that knowledge to research and develop a market solution.
In my role as co-founder, I am, or have been, responsible for:• Product development
I am the founding editor of New Worker Magazine, the digital publication for and by the global community of people who cowork. We cover topics related to the new economy, the future of work, coworking, makerspaces, hackerspaces, and collaborative work. With over 50 contributors from around the world, we launched in May 2014 and enjoy a highly engaged global readership. We're everywhere coworking is, and were recently featured in a CBS News segment about the rise of the coworking industry.
█ Visit http://newworker.co
█ Check us out on Twitter @NewWorkerMag
I've always wondered, what's the point of living if you don't communicate what you've learned? So this past year I've started aiming to get some pieces published. If something resonates with you, I'd love to hear it.
• Jun 2015 — Mask Magazine: “The silent refugee”
• Jun 2015 — New Worker Magazine: “Polyamorous, at least with work” (reprint)
• May 2015 — Pyragraph: “Monogamy: Not suitable for work”
• May 2015 — Remin Media: “What to do about crazy patient complaints”
• May 2015 — New Worker Magazine: “The new rise of the workspace marketplace”
• May 2015 — New Worker Magazine: Townsquare: connecting people who cowork
• Apr 2015 — New Worker Magazine: Coworking Africa conference
• Apr 2015 — New Worker Magazine: Coworking podcasts to check out
• Mar 2015 — Remin Media: 65% of dentists are wrong about their dental lab... are you one of them?
• Mar 2015 — Medium: The problem with being a people pleaser
• Feb 2015 — Medium: Advice for going on StartupBus
• Feb 2015 — New Worker Magazine: Coworking: the best place for hookups in 2015?
• Feb 2015 — New Worker Magazine: Coworking, the TV show
• Jul 2014 — New Worker Magazine: Creating value through crowdfunding & collaboration, an interview with Luka Piškorič
• Jun 2014 — Freelancer's Union: Get the best out of coworking without having to join a space
• Jun 2014 — New Worker Magazine: What the hell is a new worker?
• Jun 2014 — New Worker Magazine: Turn your coworking space into a crowdfunding powerhouse
• May 2014 — OuiShare Magazine: Massive collaborative potential for coworkers worldwide
• May 2014 — New Worker Magazine: iRegular Project’s gorgeous, inspiring use of collaborative design
I started doing freelance front-end web design and development a few years ago. I still do from time to time because—no joke—I love to design and play with CSS at three in the morning. With Design Strategist, I do web design/development, content writing and content strategy for artists, performers, freelancers and creative companies.
█ Visit http://designstrategist.co
In my client-focused role, I am responsible for:• Branding
When your parents didn't go to college
On newsstands in July.
The Naked Freelancer (Podcast)
May 21, 2015
My guest for this episode is Melissa Mesku. She is a freaking rockstar. I met Melissa online and couldn’t wait to meet her in person at GCUC to record this session. Melissa has done a lot for the coworking movement and continues to be at the forefront of trends in coworking. And let me tell you, the girl knows how to bring people together. She’s charming and a natural born leader and I admire her quite a bit.
May 5, 2015
I’m willing to bet that many people looked at UC Berkeley graduate Melissa Mesku like she was crazy when she told them her post-grad plans. After graduation, she bought a fixer-upper house with 17 other people, built it into a housing co-operative, and started a nonprofit to run it. Many years and many jobs later for Melissa, that co-op is still going strong. “I called it a ‘reverse retirement,’” she says. “Having fun and doing random things while I was still young, expecting to pay it off later. It worked really well and I wouldn’t change it for a thing.” Melissa went on to become a national speaker on social justice, a language student in Guatemala, a high school teacher, a developer and content strategist, an entrepreneur, and a magazine editor.
April 15, 2015
Co-working improves work-life balance. “I typically work from coworking spaces. Working around others keeps me focused and gives me an easy way to bounce ideas off of others. It’s also a great social outlet. It also helps me stay connected to what’s going on in the world — otherwise it’s hard to keep up and hard to have work-life balance.”
March 26, 2015
The vacation rental had "great pictures" but no reviews on Airbnb.com. Maybe that should have tipped off Melissa Mesku when she found the house during a popular convention week in Austin. When she checked in, Mesku discovered the camera had lied. "The home was more of a punk-rock flop house," says Mesku, a magazine editor from New York. "Parts of it were unfinished, and it was nearly unsuitable to live in." Mesku complained to Airbnb.com after her four-night stay and sent pictures of the dilapidated home. It refunded about one-third of her rate, and sent her a $30 gift certificate.
February 4, 2015
Melissa Mesku knew teaching English abroad wasn’t going to help her pay the bills back home, so she bought a plane ticket to Guatemala shortly after her college graduation, knowing she’d have to live off savings. As part of that plan, she left behind pre-written checks for her student loans, which her parents sent to her student loan servicer every month. For others, paying bills from abroad proved problematic.
February 4, 2015
Mesku said teaching abroad didn’t help her save or earn much of a living while she did it, but it certainly paid off in other ways. “For a person that just came out of the school system, lines on a résumé are actually social capital,” Mesku says. “They were a huge help in my career trajectory.” While waiting on a visa to teach in Saudi Arabia, Mesku worked as a corporate English teacher in New York, and by the time the visa came through, she decided to stay where she is. Mesku now edits a magazine she founded, New Worker, in New York.
February 2, 2015
“It was a random chain of events. I was a teacher and came here to kill time before starting a professorship in Saudi Arabia. While waiting for my visa, I started freelancing for the first time. By the time the visa finally came, I was hooked on freelancing and decided to stay here. Freelancing made me pick up other skills; that’s how I became a front end designer/developer. It also made me lonely, which is why I tried out coworking and started going to Meetups. That led me to the entrepreneur community in NYC, which led me to starting my own business, Pure Cure Dental Technology.”
“New Worker Magazine is for and by people who are navigating the future of work. It’s the publication of the global community of “coworkers” (people who work from coworking spaces). The magazine seeks to demystify the what, why, and how of independent and creative work. “Work” sounds like it could be an awfully boring topic, but it is our work that has the greatest power to transform the world, and our own lives. If you work from a coworking space, definitely reach out so we can give you a chance to tell your story to a global audience.”
“We should treat coworking like dating: anyone can look cool online, but you don’t know if they’re any good until you spend some time with them. Also relevant to the dating metaphor: coworking spaces may dress themselves up in designer clothes, but what counts is substance. For me, if the coworking space doesn’t have a welcoming and vibrant community, then what’s the point? After a couple of well-dressed disappointments, I eventually found a space that had a community of down-to-earth people I just clicked with. I’ve been coworking there for over two years and it definitely changed my life for the better. New York has more coworking spaces than nearly any other city in the world. Shop around.”
QNY News (Podcast)
January 25, 2015
Wowza, the big #10 is here and it's all about sharing. Topics on today's show include Melissa Mesku of New Worker Magazine, a magazine for and by people who share co-working office space.
CBS This Morning (TV segment and article)
December 2, 2014
"People are starting to realize that they're looking for community," New Worker Magazine editor Melissa Mesku said. There are so many co-working spaces popping up, the industry has its own publication. "A lot of people find themselves getting into freelancing because of the economic situation," Mesku said. "So as those grow, so will co-working.”
Melissa Mesku of New Worker Magazine told us that her co-working space was a great venue for discussing business ideas. “Just by being there, I have daily access to others from all walks of life; running ideas by each other is a daily habit,” she says. Since working in this collaborative environment with a community of talented professionals in other fields, she’s successfully started a web design studio and magazine.
October 18, 2014
“We're still pretty early into an era of new attitudes toward work: corporate work is disparaged, independent and entrepreneurial work is glorified, and the mantra: "do what you love" is still very much en vogue. We inherited these ideas but have only been playing them out for a short time, creating the need for experimentation and discourse. Coworking is a direct product of this shift, and attitudes spawned from this movement are resulting in new institutions, while simultaneously reshaping our culture and our material lives.”
“Much of the business press is devoted to the tech industry, where "tech" has come to mean app startups specifically. Some larger "tech" publications are part of the hype machine and share funding with the companies they report on. I feel this leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, coworking spaces are often home to app companies but they also include the wide range of freelancers and independent workers whose work often falls through the cracks, press-wise. The range of work that takes place in coworking spaces deserves its own coverage, and the perspective that coworkers can offer needs to be heard.”
“We want to establish the value of coworking, both for those inside it and those that haven't yet discovered it. Through storytelling, we can show the utility, variety, and richness of coworking communities, and also foster a shared identity among coworkers. Coworking is a global phenomenon and our numbers double every year, yet most coworking communities are local and don't explicitly connect with others.”
“We see massive potential if we come together and it starts by each of us recognizing that we belong to a diverse group of likeminded people. In the long run, we anticipate incorporating makerspaces, hackerspaces, incubators, accelerators, and other open collaborative work institutions. I foresee a social collaboration platform taking hold in the next few years that will be a game-changer.”
The Final Call
October 1, 2014
“I’m a woman of color and I taught English as a second language [ESL] for refugee and immigrant students and most of the newer teachers were also minorities at my school,” Ms. Mesku said. “I stayed for a year. Coming from a disadvantaged economic background, I simply couldn’t afford to continue to live on a teacher’s salary. If I wanted upward mobility, I had to move on to more lucrative work, especially considering the difficulties and commitments required to work in a hard-to-staff school and spending my own money to clothe and feed students and working 13 hours per day with no resources or books.”
October 1, 2014
“Of the best books for learning Spanish, I highly recommend ¡Exacto! A Practical Guide to Spanish Grammar by Ane Ortega, et al. It’s incredibly straightforward and concise. Each grammar point is reinforced with a variety of explanations and examples so you can be confident you understand. It was my go-to resource while learning Spanish in Guatemala and Mexico, and my language teachers ended up buying a copy as well. There are so many grammar books, and grammar can be so dull, but this one keeps it simple without losing depth."
The Story Exchange
August 6, 2014
Melissa Mesku, the founder of Pure Cure Dental Technology (with locations in California and New York) had to coach herself through both fiscal and emotional issues in order to find success. When she spoke with us, she referenced an incident that would influence her attitude toward the professional world for a significant portion of her life.
“My parents suffered a work injustice that skewed my belief in the workplace and the economy. As a young adult, already disenfranchised, I steeped myself in the culture of what later became the Occupy movement,” she recalled of her earlier years. “Eventually I decided that being a drop-out wasn’t making a dent in the world, and wasn’t paying the bills.”
This realization — and her father’s subsequent disability, which created a need for Mesku to provide for her family — led her to start her own business. Through her own hard work (as well as the assistance of the entrepreneurship community) she has tapped into an integral part of her inner self.
“I bootstrapped a company based around a life-saving product I developed, which also vindicates my parents’ injustice, bringing the story full circle,” she said. “Being responsible for a product that people really need has motivated me to remove all barriers.”
The Washington Informer
July 23, 2014
Melissa Mesku, who works for New Worker Magazine, said she once taught at a high school in a poverty-stricken neighborhood and circumstances made it difficult for her to continue her career. “I’m a woman of color and I taught English as a second language for refugee and immigrant students and most of the newer teachers were also minorities at my school,” Ms. Mesku said. ...
June 16, 2014
Offices are functioning as normal workplaces for freelancers and entrepreneurs working on their own projects, but according to an analysis by Melissa Mesku of New Worker Magazine, there is enormous potential for new kinds of working communities. The importance of the network and the establishment of cooperation in developing new ideas and products has never been more important. [Translated from Danish]
May 28, 2014
“Early on, we agreed to try a different tone and approach from what's already out there. It turns out this wasn't so hard: people love a chance to write earnestly about themselves and what they do, and can be remarkably clever and genuine when given free reign. At the heart of the magazine is a sense of camaraderie: we're all trying out this grand experiment, attempting to make a living doing independent work we value and enjoy. The major publications make it sound a bit glamorous when actually it's a combination of frightening and empowering, exciting and difficult, wise and absurd—we want this range to come through in each issue."
“Already there is a massive shift happening in the world of work, in the collaborative economy, etc. In some ways we are getting closer to creating a sane and healthy approach to our own labor and the global economy. A healthy shared workspace is ground zero for these changes. That capacity will grow exponentially as communities cross-pollinate, as the independent workforce surges, and as emerging online collaboration platforms achieve ubiquity in the coming years."
“The activist in me has one thing in common with the entrepreneurial spirit I love about coworking spaces: if you want something to happen, get a group together and go do it. As a student I lived in cooperative housing. The side-effect of living communally is that, in simply going to my house, I was surrounded by a wide variety of people who greatly influenced my trajectory. I loved it and went on to establish other cooperative houses. Coworking is similar. It's the workplace, re-imagined. Simply by going to work you're plugged in to a wider community. Many of our culture's dominant social institutions (the single-family home, the corporate workplace) fail to address our genuine social needs and economic realities, and actively contribute to our feeling disenfranchised. The good thing about all this is there's plenty of room for improvement."