Christina Disler
Credit: Lindsay Siu

Christina Disler, 28

Founder and CEO

Life Story: Vancouver’s Werklab is technically a coworking space, but Christina Disler doesn’t think that term suffices. “Our business is our community,” Disler says, describing a model in which potential users must apply to be a member of the Werklab family. “We won’t sell out and do the daily drop-in thing because that disrupts what we’re building and becomes very transactional.”

Disler, a Vancouver native, stopped pursuing a psychology degree at the University of Western Ontario in her third year due to mental health struggles. But she believes being on the sidelines while her entrepreneur father, Willy, sold his Internet protocol business to Vancouver-based Paladin Security in 2015 was like an MBA. Her dad taught her that “you don’t have to let [dropping out] be seen as a failure and define you and define what your future looks like,” she says. Once the sale closed, Disler started building Werklab until it opened in early 2016.

The Bottom Line: Werklab is expanding its Strathcona space to 16,000 square feet. Now at 100 recurring monthly members (including businesses like Booje Media, a digital marketing agency; Garmentory, which connects emerging fashion designers worldwide with clients; and Lagree West, a boutique fitness studio), the company projects that membership will increase by 600 percent once the expansion is complete.

Your favourite book is
I have two: The Mastery of Love and The Four Agreements, both by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Your favourite TV show is
I have a bad, bad, bad addiction to Keeping Up With the Kardashians. I’m fascinated with the human psyche by watching that show. Just how humans operate, it blows my mind.

Your favourite album is…
I’m a sucker for Michael Bublé’s Christmas album. I have a funny love for Christmas music; I probably start listening to it in October.

A little-known fact about you is…
I’m a psycho about time. I work out at 7 a.m. every day, and at 6:33 there’s an alarm clock that goes off for me to leave my house.