Article originally published on Femme & Fortune, April 11, 2017.
Kate Huentelman is a force to be reckoned with. She helped create Roam, a network of global coliving spaces that provide high speed internet access, state-of-the-art kitchens, beautiful rooms and work areas – everything people need to feel at home and be productive. Kate and her team now have Roam locations in London, Tokyo, Miami and Bali. Keep reading to learn more about Kate and why a “normal” life was never in the cards.
Coliving isn’t a trend, but a real solution to one of man’s greatest need: community.
Femme & Fortune: What was the inspiration behind such a unique concept?
Roam is an experimental community, testing the boundaries of housing, work and travel. All of us on the founding team have a background in location-independence, which just simply means we didn’t go to an office 52 weeks out of the year, and we saw that there needs to be a housing solution for this type of professional that creates a community on a global scale. This could mean you’re an entrepreneur working with people all over the globe, or you’re an architect who travels to site abroad, or you’re a teacher who wants to colive in the summer with your children. For us, it’s about everyone living free and beautiful, that’s where our tag line comes in, to truly make this life an adventure.
Femme & Fortune: What were you doing before launching ROAM? And what gave you the courage to make the switch?
I was living and working in Santiago, Chile for ArchDaily, working as Biz Dev for global sales, which was also a location independent position. I was actually living in a coliving house in Santiago, which ultimately lead to Roam, but also my background in architecture lead me to helping launch Roam. I am an architect by trade, and have mostly worked on projects for multi-residential use as I am very focused on density and community in my architectural practices.
Femme & Fortune: Why do you believe “coliving” is the future?
The heart of Roam and the heart of any coliving initiative is one thing. Coliving isn’t a trend, but a real solution to one of man’s greatest need: community.
Femme & Fortune: It seems like you’ve been all over the world. What’s been your favorite adventure yet?
I lived and worked in Jerusalem for 6 months through the UN, which definitely is a highlight adventure for me. I loved both the work I was working on, as well as the lifestyle I had in Jerusalem. After living there, I always tell people that Jerusalem is the heart beat of the world.
“Everyone has a story, listen.”
Femme & Fortune: Name someone who inspires you that you haven’t met IRL?
It’s always hard for me to answer who inspires me, because (so cheesy) so many people do! The first is my favorite fashion designer, Helen Rodel, who is Brazilian and time and time again impresses me with her collections. They are very of the earth, yet elegant and powerful. She understands color in such a beautiful way. I should mention I am a painter, so a lot of people who inspire me are due to the colors, shapes and ideas they come up with. To name a few more, luxe-travel inspired jewelry by Lizzie Fortuanto, large contemporary abstract paintings by Sally King Benedict, and I am always reading Leandra Medine on Man Repeller.
Femme & Fortune: Where are you happiest?
I am happiest when I am painting, but also when I am with loved ones (preferably in Charleston S.C. – my favorite city in the US)
Femme & Fortune: What saying do you live by?
Everyone has a story, listen.
Femme & Fortune: Since founding ROAM, what has been your biggest challenge? Your biggest success?
The biggest challenge at first was finding time for my private life. In the beginning at Roam, when I wasn’t working, I was always hanging out with Roamers. After about 8 months, I realized I needed that space (not a lot though!) for myself. I no longer live at the properties full-time, but just when we are opening and setting up a new one.
Femme & Fortune: What advice do you have for other fellow female entrepreneurs?
The balance of humility and confidence is paramount. I think it’s a daily practice, but so rewarding, both personally and professionally.
Femme & Fortune: What can readers expect from you in 2017?
Definitely the next Roam opening….hint: NYC, Berlin or LA! And hopefully one exhibition of my artwork.