We encourage employees to work in a way that works for them. For some, that’s at the office. For others, that’s from home. And for some of our colleagues, that’s at Zora’s House — a nonprofit coworking and community space built by and for women of color in Columbus, Ohio.
For this reason and more, we’re excited to announce we’ve partnered with Zora’s House to sponsor 25 annual memberships for women and non-binary employees of color.
Of note, these free memberships are available for our employees to claim on a first-come, first-served basis. As of publishing, 12 have signed up, so there’s still space for 13 more.
A note from Zora’s House: Who was Zora?
The nonprofit's namesake, Zora Neale Hurston, was a filmmaker, anthropologist and one of the most widely published Black woman authors of the Harlem Renaissance. Her work celebrated the depth and beauty of Black American culture and resilience.
During a time when Black authors were encouraged only to put forth the most “flattering” views of Black culture, Zora wrote about Black women who drank, cursed and rebelled, celebrating their complexities and turning their perfectly imperfect lives into art.
First a fun way to make friends. Now a powerhouse of community
The concept of Zora’s House was developed in 2016 by LC Johnson, a Columbus transplant who wanted to cultivate a community for women of color — something she felt was missing at the time. Zora’s House originally started as a group on meetup.com with organized hangouts where women of color could get together, make friends and plan activities like poetry readings, wine tastings and nature walks.
After two years of growth and expansion, LC’s creation — Zora’s House — moved into its current physical space at 1311 Summit St., just north of downtown Columbus.
At Zora’s House I can work and be surrounded by women who look like me, with similar life experiences — there’s a sense of being home.Storm Estesaccount coordinator at CoverMyMeds
Today, not only is Zora’s House a coworking and community space, but it’s also a place of refuge and rest — somewhere women of color “don’t have to worry about what (their) hair looks like or how loud (they) get,” as the nonprofit's website states.
According to Storm Estes, account coordinator at CoverMyMeds and Zora’s House ambassador, that freedom to simply be makes all the difference.
“My mother is Black and my father is Irish and Puerto Rican,” Storm said. “As a mixed-race woman, I often feel out of place. At Zora’s House I can be surrounded by women who look like me, with similar life experiences — there’s a sense of being home.”
Storm started working at CoverMyMeds in August 2020, a few months after she got involved with Zora’s House.
“The COVID-19 pandemic provided me with unexpected free time,” Storm said. “When I discovered Zora’s House was looking for ambassadors, I jumped at the opportunity to apply.”
As an ambassador, Storm volunteers at Zora’s House on Mondays and Wednesdays. She also helps promote events like Women of Color Writing Circle and the nonprofit's Sunday Dinner Series. Most recently, Storm even launched her own advocacy program to support sex positivity among women of color.
A meet-and-greet with Zora’s House and CoverMyMeds employees
To help spread the word about Zora’s House to her CoverMyMeds colleagues — and promote the company’s sponsorship of 25 memberships for women and non-binary employees — Storm collaborated with Maddie Wilming, community engagement lead at CoverMyMeds, to plan a meet-and-greet event at CoverMyMeds’ Columbus campus in June.
“Since the meet-and-greet, so many employees have asked me about Zora’s House — it’s cool to see this opportunity spread by word of mouth,” Maddie said. “I’ve also had folks ask if they can share information with others who’d benefit from the opportunity. I’m confident we’ll get all 25 memberships filled this summer.”
When women of color feel supported by their employer, they do better work — they also contribute more to their community.Tasha Lomomember liaison at Zora’s House
The guest of honor at CoverMyMeds’ meet-and-greet event was Tasha Lomo, member liaison at Zora’s House.
Like Storm, Tasha also started her journey at Zora’s House by becoming an ambassador. In 2019, she was going through a few life transitions and didn’t know what she wanted to do next. After six months in the ambassador role, she officially joined Zora’s House as an employee in May 2020.
Over two years later, she hasn’t looked back.
“Zora’s House has truly blossomed over the past six years,” Tasha said. “Yes, it’s a coworking space — but not in the traditional sense. You don’t necessarily have to come here and work. You can come read a book or kick it with friends. We provide an all-purpose community for women of color to feel safe and secure together.”
Alongside Storm, Tasha was instrumental in cultivating CoverMyMeds’ ongoing support of Zora’s House. It’s a relationship, she said, that’s mutually beneficial.
“At large, corporate companies, women of color often feel lonely — like they’re not fully represented,” Tasha said. “It’s important for employers to acknowledge that divide and give their employees a sense of community. When women of color feel supported by their employer, they do better work — they also contribute more to their community.”
Zora’s House allows me to exist as I am — on good days, bad days and everything in between.Storm Estesaccount coordinator at CoverMyMeds
Zora’s House programs uplift women of color in Columbus and beyond
Looking forward to 2022’s plans, Tasha is especially excited for Zora’s House’s “Her Way Business Builder,” a nine-week program that kicks off in August. The program — presented in partnership with Aventi Enterprises and Rev1 Ventures — teaches aspiring entrepreneurs how to define their product or service, establish pricing, structure their business, set sales goals and develop an actionable one-page business plan.
Zora’s House also offers a financial literacy program called “Women of Color (WoC) Wealth Builders.” This 12-month journey toward financial healing and generational wealth is specifically designed by and for people of color who identify as “first-generation wealth builders.” Although applications for 2022’s program are now closed, Tasha anticipates another iteration next year.
Not only is the scope of Zora’s House’s plans and programs expanding, but so is the nonprofit's physical space, too. Zora’s House is currently building a new location — one that will expand their footprint from 2,000 square feet to 10,000. The new location is a four-minute walk from the organization’s current address, and they’re optimistic about making big moves and recruiting more members in 2023.
“Zora’s House has played such a large role in my personal and professional growth as a woman,” Storm said. “The amount of confidence, love and support that’s been poured into me by this community has changed my life. Zora’s House allows me to exist as I am — on good days, bad days and everything in between.”
To get involved or obtain one of the 25 CoverMyMeds-sponsored memberships to Zora’s House, contact Storm Estes or Maddie Wilming for more information.
Want to work at CoverMyMeds and get involved with nonprofits like Zora’s House? Apply for a position on our careers page!