Traditional office spaces have changed in recent years as more people are taking advantage of coworking hubs. These innovative work environments are places of respite from the home office and offer a professional setup for start-ups. In Miami’s burgeoning Little River district, Thynk Global, a coworking hub designed to help females and minorities, is the latest to take root in town. Jeanine Suah and Maghan Morin are the brains behind this new endeavor, which they hope will promote
socioeconomic inclusion. It is the culmination of what two entrepreneurial-minded women sought to achieve from early beginnings.
As a young girl growing up in Washington D.C., Suah, a native of Jamaica, learned firsthand what it was like to be surrounded by people of various cultures and ethnic backgrounds. While her father worked as a geotechnical engineer and her mother studied journalism at Howard University, Suah and her four siblings were dispatched to various neighbors’ homes. “Being around different backgrounds like Brazilian, Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Peruvian made me very adaptable to any situation and also sparked a deep curiosity to learn more about the world,” says Suah.
Eager to study languages to better her communication skills, she majored in Spanish and Portuguese at Florida State University—and even lived in Brazil for a year during that time to immerse herself in that culture. Soon after, she earned a master’s degree in applied linguistics from the University of South Florida, then returned to Brazil, where she studied the linguistic impact of social ecosystems in the seaside city of Salvador da Bahia.
Morin grew up with an entrepreneurial spirit in St. Petersburg, Florida, where her Haitian immigrant father owned a body shop to support his five children. At age 5, Morin fetched aluminum scraps to resell to a junkyard for 20 cents each. When she wasn’t at soccer practice, Morin and her older sister sold frozen Kool-Aid cups on the side of the road. She also answered the phone and took customer orders in her dad’s store.
“During those years at the body shop, I learned quite a bit about owning a business,” says Morin. “My dad was a hard worker who didn’t know what 9 to 5 meant.” Later, while studying at the University of Missouri, she sold women’s high heels out of a dorm room. She then moved to London after graduation and designed footwear for a high-end fashion company.
In 2016, the two women crossed paths in St. Petersburg while employed at a coworking space; Suah planned and managed events ranging from corporate meetings to bridal showers, and Morin managed memberships. During this time, Suah also started Organiza Systems, a company that provided business organization and strategy implementation services to small and medium-sized companies. Morin left the workspace position to open MRKT Reach, a company offering social media marketing services to businesses in her neighborhood.
As their friendship grew, each woman called upon the other for help. “I often sought business advice from Jeanine,” says Morin. “Soon, I realized we were stronger, more confident, and more productive together than apart. And we both wanted the same things in life: to create opportunities for ourselves and for others.”
In 2017, after conducting extensive market research and testing the idea with pop-up coworking events, they opened an all-female coworking space called The Doyenne Company in St. Petersburg. Their goal was to offer encouragement and resources to other female entrepreneurs. While interest picked up quickly—escalating from 12 to 200 attendees in two months—they decided that St. Pete was not the right fit for such a venture.
“We set our sights on Miami where we could have an impact on the black and brown communities,” says Morin. “We were self-funded and needed a space that was in line with our business model.”
The partners, now in their 30s, hoped to create an innovative yet affordable coworking space where minority women and their associates, both male and female entrepreneurs of all ethnicities, could network, organize, collaborate, and grow their businesses.
The first few months were challenging because the partners didn’t know the movers and shakers in South Florida. Determined to set up shop, they commuted from St. Petersburg while looking for space and overcoming the obstacles. “Breaking into the Miami market was tough because people didn’t want to help us, and they questioned everything we did,” says Suah. “But we were persistent and committed, and we got it done. Creating this business and getting beyond the roadblocks made us smarter and more assertive businesswomen.”
They found a 3,000-square-foot warehouse in Miami’s Little River district, an up-and-coming neighborhood in Little Haiti where many warehouses once used for storage are being developed into offices and high-end retail shops.
They named their new company Thynk Global, a place where makers, creators, and innovators can “thynk” beyond limits. The space has sleek furniture, pops of bright colors, and lots of vivid art from Little Haiti’s Marcus Blake, a Jamaican-born multimedia artist. Their vision was to spark creativity as members walk into a light and airy workspace filled with energy.
“Our mission is to connect people to opportunity,” says Suah. “Typically, resource centers located in minority communities lack design that inspires people to ‘thynk’ big. We wanted the interior to help dictate inspiration, confidence, comfort, and motivation, so we picked a design that combined affordable prices with luxury.”
In March, the partners were ready for a splashy grand opening when COVID-19 collapsed their plans. Instead of lamenting the issue, they decided to get creative and organize the workspace to be healthy, smart, and able to function well with social distancing. Already, Thynk Global has signed more than 250 members who will be able to host events and utilize the space as their own.
“At first, we shifted some business models to virtual, and now members sit 6 feet away from each other in our large space,” says Suah. “We conduct frequent cleanings with videos illustrating this, and we display plenty of hand sanitizer around the workspace.”
The entrepreneurs are also offering a series of free workshops to help members get back on their feet and develop interpersonal relationships. Some topics include financial planning, marketing, public relations, and branding. Webinars, fireside chats, community-building events like sip and paint classes, happy hours, and vendor markets are more regular highlights.
Thynk Global’s most novel idea is a pop-up retail store within the coworking space that allows members to promote their products and brands to a wide variety of shoppers. “We love offering new business ideas and seeing our members get creative and feel inspired to do well,” says Morin. “The retail store is another part of that vision.”
The pop-up shop showcases items including Haitian oil, hair and facial products, and handmade candles to boost the senses. Thynk Global member Jessica York, founder of The Healing Junkie, feels the coworking space is one of the most valuable businesses in Miami because it acts as more than a beautiful office for like-minded people; it encourages the highlighting and growth of local brands.
“As the owner of a small business, I know that resources tend to go toward product and logistics, so the idea of having a storefront was just a fantasy,” says York. “It has been a couple of months since we opened The Healing Junkie pop-up [at Thynk Global], and our sales have jumped by 66 percent. Both Jeanine and Maghan foster an environment that is not only fun but also motivating and inspiring for entrepreneurs like me.”
Text by Linda Marx
Photography by Mark Filus