Interviewing Virgilio is like catching up with a friend. He’s kind, humble, and has such a lovely sense of camaraderie about him. It’s no surprise that he came from a hospitality background and even less surprising that he’s here today, featured as our newest Employee of the Month. Let’s jump right in.
-Francisco Peralta, Community Manager at Gowanus
FP: Where are you from? What did you want to be when you were younger?
VM: I was born in the Dominican Republic, but I’ve been raised in New York City since I was 5 years old. Growing up there were two professions/career paths that really called my attention. One was a professional baseball player, but of course… (as we both laugh)… it’s in the blood. There was that and… it’s very, very cliche but I did want to become an astronaut. I’ve always been fascinated by space ever since I was very little, and I really thought that was going to happen for 3-4 years.
FP: Where did you go to school and what did you study?
VM: I went to Johnson and Wales University and I studied Hospitality and Tourism Management. The school is very well known for its culinary education as well as its hospitality program. The University is in Providence, RI, and the whole city is pretty much a fun little college town by how well J&W are known. The food is amazing, some of the best food I’ve had in New England. It was a lot of fun during my time there since there was a huge Dominican community. When I graduated my parents came up and they were surprised by this, but very happy to know I was in good hands.
FP: When did you start at Bond Collective? (…what were you doing before this?)
VM: I started with Bond August 2021, and I came from another co-working space focused in the medical industry and that was my first exposure into co-working spaces and the co-working industry in general. I spent some time there learning the ropes and learning about the industry and how it has evolved into what it is today. Then I arrived at Bond with big wide fresh eyes, into what’s an industry leader now, so yeah I started then, and looking forward to longevity in this role, and in this company.
FP: What influenced you to get this type of work?
VM: What inspired me was, just the fact that I felt that this was a great opportunity to really thrive, to bring my personality into the light, and to be part of a collective, to be part of something that's bigger than myself or bigger than any one thing that I’m doing for a certain company. To give a little more insight and also some history, I also come from hospitality. I’ve worked in hotels for pretty much my entire professional career before I got to co-working. I’ve gained a lot of experience and knowledge on both the front end dealing with customers and guests, and key insights of how a business runs on a day to day. Having this knowledge lit a fire in me to learn more about commercial real estate, and to move in the direction of not just operating a business or dealing with people on a day to day but kind of doing both in an environment that’s thriving. I quickly realized and paid attention to trends in the industry, and co-working was just booming at the time. I saw how popular this was getting and how far it could go. With co-working things are so fun because you meet so many new people and you get to know them both intimately and professionally. It gives you the opportunity to broaden your horizon, and learn more about the world.
FP: How was your previous coworking experience compared to what we are doing here?
VM: Bond is umm..(Nervously laughs) It’s kind of like night and day, Bond’s community aspect is really important and shines really bright here, which is what I was looking for all along. I was looking to join a company that took its community seriously and that wanted to offer its members everything possible from the foods we offer to the partnerships and the overall atmosphere and vibes you get when walking into each of our locations. It was very different and I was enlightened and also not surprised but it felt refreshing to be in a co-working space like this amongst managers like yourself. The executive team is super hands on and super helpful, always having so much knowledge to share… so definitely like I said, like night and day.
FP: What was your First impression of Bond?
VM: I went to 55 (Broadway) to interview and as soon as I walked in I was like, “Wow”. Everything from the design aspect; the building itself is super nice and impressive. I was really impressed how neat everything looked and It was nice to walk in and feel very zen. I felt right away that the environment I was in was super productive and I was just blown away by just how beautiful the space was.
FP: What is your favorite Bond location?
VM: Not to be biased, but my favorite Bond location is Bushwick. I love Bushwick! The indoor outdoor aspect, the exposed brick, the terrace, the front desk is gorgeous! It’s beautiful for a lot of good reasons and some of the biggest being, all of the good food options nearby and my favorite music venues around the area. Bond Collective really did an amazing job with Bushwick, as they do with all their locations, but there’s just something about Bushwick that makes me want to spend my whole day there.
FP: What’s your favorite part of the day to day at Bond?
VM: Honestly, it’s getting to talk to people. Whenever I see someone approaching the desk, I never think it’s because a complaint or something has gone wrong. I approach each interaction as an opportunity to build some rapport with members. I feel like talking to members and getting insights on their life and sharing stories helps build strong bonds. Whenever I have a chance to interact with someone on a professional level, or if I’m just recommending someone a spot for lunch, it brings me a lot of joy. I really love getting to interact with the plethora of individuals at different stages of their lives and their business.
FP: When stuck on a project, What is your strategy for getting through a mental roadblock?
VM: Music is the answer. Music can be relaxing and motivating. From SoundCloud to iTunes or Spotify, I usually let things sit for a minute before I get my head together to address things in an orderly fashion. I like to let my mind clear over the course of a song and recenter my thoughts.
FP: Any tips on being productive or staying awesome?
VM: It’s a lot of hustle and bustle. Honestly, it's in my nature to relax and let the noise disappear. Over the last two years I have been lucky enough to let myself go all in on yoga and meditation. Outside of the practice itself, it has taught me how to chill. In work and life, I try to approach everything with a balanced mentality or approach — never with my emotions and always with a clear mind and an understanding that whatever is happening or needs to get done, there will be a solution. It’s just a matter of finding it. You’ll get there easier with a clear mind and with a relaxed attitude as opposed to feeling like you have to have all the answers and do everything right. Mistakes happen, things will fall through, but as long as you’re there to catch it and pick the pieces back up, that’s what matters.
FP: What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
VM: Outside of work I like DJ’ing, I’m also an avid hiker and have been working on rock climbing for the last 6 months. As I mentioned earlier, I do a lot of yoga, and exercise which keeps me busy. A few weeks ago I climbed my first summit in Guatemala on their 3rd tallest volcano. It was a lot of fun but also, one of the hardest but rewarding and satisfying experiences of my life so far. Looking out to the horizon and seeing everything was a major mental test that required a lot of willpower. At two different points during the climb, I questioned turning back and quitting. But despite the elements, I pushed through and am now looking to do another few months of training and get back at it again.
FP: What have been some of your biggest takeaways working at Bond?
VM: This might sound cliche, but the fact that everyone has been so available and willing to help each other out, the teamwork is next level. It left a big impression on me. It means a lot to be part of such an amazing team. And the other thing I have come to notice is the genuine good vibe among all of the members or the people who come to visit the office. There is a level of enthusiasm when people walk in the door that lights a fire in me that makes me want to provide a consistent level of service.
FP: If there was one thing you could tell your younger self today, what would it be?
VM: Whenever someone says you can’t do something, it’s not a reflection of yourself — it’s a reflection of them. Have at it. Onward and forward. It’s taken me 30 odd years to acknowledge that second part. Follow your dreams and make sure that you’re the only person that's allowed to tell yourself no. There’s nothing to do but to do it.
FP: Well, this has been great! Wrapping it up, are there any plans on the horizon for yourself personally or professionally?
VM: Personally, the hobby of hiking and climbing has taken over. There is a lot that I’m training for. So personally I’ve already started training for two additional mountain / volcano climbs in Mexico. I’ve been training to get my body in shape for that. And professionally, I recently picked up an online Project Manager course, and I am looking to get an ACOM certification for commercial property management. Both of these will help broaden my horizons and gain more knowledge into the project management world.
FP: Last question, and this hypothetical of course, if you could make a sudden career change what would it be?
VM: If I could make a sudden change right now, I would love to open up a coffee shop somewhere along the coast in Central or South America and serve coffee in my sandals. Enjoying life by the water.
FP: That’s amazing, sounds like a chill life! Alright V, this has been great, I appreciate all of your time.