Hartford Business Journal

April 6, 2020 — Women in Business

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www.HartfordBusiness.com • April 6, 2020 • Hartford Business Journal 39 WOMEN IN BUSINESS AWARDS 2020 Schlossberg's Upward helps reinvigorate Hartford By Karen Ali Special to the Hartford Business Journal S hana Schlossberg, CEO and founder of Upward in Hartford, originally thought she would be a physician because she wanted to help people. But she also had a passion for the tech world and realized she could help more people that way. "People go into medicine because they want to save lives," Schlossberg said. "Tech can save more lives. To- day, I get to really impact people." Schlossberg was a senior busi- ness analyst/project manager at Hewlett-Packard on Sept. 11, when the company took part in an emer- gency-communication program that helped increase response times for emergency responders with the New York Fire Department. "Since then I was attracted to projects that made a difference," Schlossberg said. Schlossberg said tech also impacts lives by providing jobs and saving cities. At Upward, an innovation hub that she founded in 2017, her goal has been to reinvigorate Hartford through stra- tegic public-private collaboration. Right now, there are 30 different businesses — ranging from health, education and real estate startups — that are members of the space, or in one of the programs. At least 60 have taken part in Up- ward programs overall, she said. Upward offers companies a chance to live and work in downtown Hart- ford while fine-tuning their technolo- gies as they collaborate with more established businesses like Hartford HealthCare and Hilton Hartford. "The new needs the old and the old needs the new," she said. Schlossberg knew nothing about Hartford back in 2016 but it was ap- parent that it had a way to go, she said. "It wasn't thriving economically," Schlossberg said. Back then, she had to convince startups to come to Hartford. "We were dragging them by their ears," she said. Now, they are coming on their own. They ask questions, but it's not as difficult to get them to come as it had been originally. "Over three years ago, I visited for the first time, and what I saw got me excited," Schlossberg said, referring to when she saw the 27,000-square- foot space at 20 Church St., where the company is located. Upward expanded more than one year ago to 34,000 square feet, she said. "I saw tech as an opportunity to revive the city," she said, adding that Upward is a pioneer in Hartford's revitalization efforts. Last year, bigseventravel.com includ- ed Upward on a list highlighting top co-working spaces, noting the space is "ideal for those looking to collaborate." Her goal now is to continue the model of reinvigorating cities through tech and innovation that she began in Hartford and bring it to other cities. She said she's in discussions with other cities throughout the country. "If the city has energy and move- ment, people come," she said. Shana Schlossberg Founder and CEO Upward What's been your biggest profes- sional accomplishment so far? I am immensely proud of building a company and brand that is work- ing to revitalize second- and third- tier communities across America starting with Hartford. We have been in Hartford for three years and have served as key players in the revitalization of the downtown. We look forward to continually building and contributing to the ecosystem. What's the next big goal you want to accomplish professionally? I love what we are doing at Up- ward and just want to be able to do more — both in Hartford and around the country. I'm excited to take Upward to more cities and help more communities thrive. What legacy do you want to leave after your career is over? More than anything else, I want to be remembered for changing lives, inspiring others, and effect- ing change. What are your keys to maintain- ing business success? It's important for me to con- stantly connect back to the mission and the reason I started the com- pany — this helps me get through the challenging moments. Also I've created a good relationship with failure and mistakes, so when things don't go as planned, I learn my lessons and move on. What are your keys to maintain- ing work/life balance? I really love working and I've learned that everyone's balance is a bit different. I do make it a priority to disconnect every few months and recharge the bat- teries. I remind myself that I'm a critical asset for the business and my well-being contributes to the health of my business. Who has been your most impor- tant mentor and why? One of my previous bosses who had a big part in helping me become an entrepreneur taught me how to not see everything in black or white. This was a critical lesson that I had to learn before starting my own companies and building relationships with part- ners, investors and employees. PHOTO | J. FIERECK PHOTOGRPHY

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