About us

founded march 6th, 2017

Our story

Second Shift was founded by Levi Baer and Nicole Vasquez in 2017. With Levi’s background in team- and community-building work and Nicole’s experience running her own coworking space, The Shift, they decided to fuse their passions and skills together and create a space where people could get their work done and feel welcomed as their authentic selves in the process. Second Shift was named the Best Coworking Space in Chicago by the Chicago Reader after only three months of being open. In November of 2019, Second Shift was handed over to Craig Baute, who has extensive experience in the coworking industry and owns and operates three spaces in Denver, Colorado.

Community manager

Mary Sowa

Zoe has been the community manager at Second Shift since February of 2020. Originally from Skokie, IL, Zoe received her B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has experience in a diverse range of fields, working in positions such as assistant dance director, paraprofessional, art class teacher, craft center coordinator, and community organizing course facilitator. Her past experiences have made her passionate about making community spaces accessible, fun, and empathy-focused. In her spare time, she loves doing leatherworking and film photography. .


Craig Baute

Craig Baute discovered the benefits of coworking back in 2010 while he was a remote worker in the great state of Michigan. He started as a customer and quickly started his own space in 2011. He’s a big believer in smaller neighborhood coworking spaces that create a community and works hard to help other coworking entrepreneurs build their own spaces through DenSwap. Craig was the founder of Creative Density in Denver, CO and is still the owner. 


Levi Baer

For Levi, community-building always comes back to joy and happiness. He believes that across family, friends, the workplace, and shared community spaces, people should be able to experience the happiness of being comfortable in their own skin. Individuals should be accepted, welcomed, and celebrated for who they are and ALL they are, valued for what they can give and receive, included regardless of what they believe, and safe no matter how they move through the world.

Levi sees this work coming alive in spheres of influence, his term for the spaces we all hold where we have the power to make a change for the better. Teams, organizations, governments, and communities that value diversity, collaboration, abundance, and actively fight for human rights can all value the best everyone has to offer. Of the many communities that Levi has built, the coworking space Second Shift he co-founded and managed for three years provided the greatest opportunity to infuse this perspective into a business setting. Levi continues to work as an organizational development consultant. The ideals of racial and gender equity, belonging and inclusion, space for innovation, and an ultimate goal of peace and well-being all drive Levi to build inclusive communities.


Nicole Vasquez

With more than a decade of community-building experience, Nicole Vasquez is passionate about bringing together people from all different backgrounds to share ideas and resources with each other that can help them reach their personal or professional goals. Nicole published an online course, ‘How to Plan and Launch your own Online Community’ to help other people create their own supportive community that works together to achieve a a shared goal. As a serial entrepreneur, Nicole has been named one of the “35 Under 35 Making an Impact in Chicago,” won the 46th Ward Innovator Award, the RedEye Chicago Big Idea Award for Community, and was a Professional Fellow through the U.S. Department of State traveling to Europe to speak about how to build and maintain collaborative communities. 

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