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Lauren Saks Merriman and Sierra Miramontez: Shared Vision for The Nelle

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Picture yourself enjoying the company of high-powered executive women—the movers and shakers of the Kansas City community, whether business, industry, government or non-profit. You’re connecting and collaborating on business opportunities, sharing experiences, resources and knowledge. After finishing your power gatherings, you might take in a bit of pampering with a manicure, catch a quick lunch or even enjoy a much-needed yoga stretch. Most importantly, you never leave the building. It’s coming to Kansas City in a concept called The Nelle, a social club focused on making things happen for women. 

Paying homage to the great Kansas City architect Nelle E. Peters, who designed almost a thousand buildings for our metro and one of the few women to have an independent practice, The Nelle is an enticing new concept coming soon to the metro, the brainchild of partners and friends Lauren Saks Merriman and Sierra Miramontez. It’s described in company literature as “part lounge and part launch pad. Attention to detail, thoughtful design and luxe amenities work overtime so you can relax into your day. Refine a business deal in the library, stretch into a yoga class or find inspiration.”

Concept Reinvented
“It’s not the same concept as co-working. The Nelle is a space that hosts and entertains our members with connectivity and resulting synergies. It offers an opportunity to entertain members with amazing amenities. While living in Chicago, my husband and I joined different clubs and enjoyed each one,” shared Lauren. “Social clubs began in the 1920s, but the concept has been adapted to entertain a younger generation of members with living room areas to watch football games or hang out in a casual way with things dedicated to families.”

“The Nelle is an excellent spot to surround yourself with a career support group and networking opportunity. As a female executive, you’re on the go all day and right now there’s not a place to sit down and take a breath or, as a mom, take 25 minutes for yourself. The Nelle brings that concept to Kansas City,” revealed Sierra. “As women, we need to take time to focus on ourselves. We also need to consider how can we take care of other women and put a network in place. This is more than a happy hour. The Nelle is being created to assist in the day-to-day lives of very busy and high-performing women while delivering a symbol of strength and hope.”

The Beginning
While the pair has seamlessly joined together with a shared mission and vision for The Nelle, their backgrounds are anything but common or connected. Lauren is a 32-year-old married mother of five, while Sierra is a 28-year-old whose business career has focused on mitigating financial and operational risks inside of companies. But a mutual friend, Robin Krause, founder and owner of Unbakery and Juicery, a Kansas City, Missouri, healthy grab-and-go-style restaurant, introduced the women, and the pair clicked into high gear.

“Robin is friends with both of us. She told me she had met this woman and wanted me to meet her because we shared many of the same ideals. Robin passed along Sierra’s number, and we met at Robin’s bakery and immediately connected,” stated Lauren. “I felt instantly that she was a soulmate of mine, and we wanted the same things for women and families in our city. The concept for The Nelle began in that one meeting.”

“We scheduled our meeting in between parent-teacher conferences for Lauren. She told me that she had two more parent-teacher conferences with 45 minutes to spare, and that’s when we met,” laughed Sierra. “It was a magical first meeting and has been a great first year.”

The Nelle will be a dedicated space featuring opportunities for women to stay connected to the working world, by hosting offsite business meetings or finding flexible ways to take care of themselves. The vision calls for encouraging a community of women who desire to be mentored and for those who want to mentor. Lauren and Sierra also understand the importance of providing continuous learning and growing a network offering support to others. The ideal is to address concerns facing women in Kansas City. It’s about moving women forward while pushing for change in partnership with other organizations.

A Catalyst
“I want people to be excited with our forward thinking and the good things happening in Kansas City as we focus on bettering the everyday lives of women and families. The Nelle brings that to our community,” advised Lauren. “With it, Kansas City is on par with amenities in Los Angeles, Chicago and London. Our city is a pearl in an oyster. It just needs something and we’re bringing that to the table.”

“For us, The Nelle is a calling card to women who are looking for more—an elevated lifestyle, but nonpretentious and living day to day. We’re attempting to solve very common problems that busy, high-performing women are running into in their lives. You’re constantly searching for something and you can’t find it,” shared Sierra. “We want to provide the support network that can help us creatively problem solve. We want to provide women with a space that can help them have a better experience with life, and at the end of the day, feel supported. It’s okay to ask for help and The Nelle is looking to help high performers find a place for their day-to-day life.”

In addition to a space to connect, The Nelle will feature an extensive list of services for women to enjoy. A gym, blow-dry bar, spa, infrared saunas, locker room, yoga room, weekend brunch, quiet workspace, conference rooms, event space, speaking and social events, cocktails, lunch, clean eats, short-term childcare, Wi-Fi access, coffee bar and meditation room will be on the list. Whatever your needs, The Nelle has an opportunity to make your day much better with pampering or enabling you to gear up for whatever the world brings.

Creating Synergy
“Lauren and I are working on change for women in the city. The Nelle has strong branding and a focused mission that encourages strong women to connect with other women who are completing selfless acts and advocating for others,” noted Sierra. “It’s a state of mind versus just being able to join an organization.”

Lauren and Sierra are soliciting sponsorships from corporate leaders in the community to contribute to The Nelle as an added benefit for their employees and the community. In addition, the pair is using iFundWomen, a crowdfunding website for women-led start-ups and businesses. According to the website, money is being raised to develop a “37,000-square-foot building in midtown Kansas City, located near major businesses and the heart of our city that would allow for ease of access for members and guests.” It also states more than 30 jobs would be created to provide programming for the community and reduce the time it takes for high-powered females to meet. Mentoring for young women in the community would be constructed to develop business insight at an earlier age and provide positive role models in business.

Various levels of membership are offered, each bringing its own set of benefits. The Nelle features a special membership for women 28 years old and under, which allows that group just starting a career to have access to top-level executives in a pleasant and relaxing environment.

“The Nelle is open for everyone to apply; we’re driven by community and diversity in the makeup of our members,” commented Lauren. “In the interview process, we remind the applicants that financial considerations can be addressed.”

“To join The Nelle, simply submit an application online from our website,” remarked Sierra. “The person we’re looking for has the ideals and drive to become a mover and shaker in the community and believes in doing her part to grow Kansas City. She’s proud to live here and be invested in it. These are the women we want to be part of our dream at The Nelle.”

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