For many people, solving problems can be quite the stressful endeavor. But for Nathaniel Koloc, it’s the challenge of solving problems that gives him daily inspiration.
Koloc faced one particularly difficult challenge graduating from college and after traveling around the world as he sought meaningful work. The answer came to him one day in the shower while on a camping trip outside of Philadelphia. That’s where he dreamed up what has now become his current career path.
Koloc’s young company, called ReWork, connects impact-driven professionals with meaningful work in impact-driven organizations. Koloc is dedicated to building a movement of people refusing to settle for uninspiring work.
“We know the magic is going to happen (between the professional and the client) when we explain the opportunity to the talent, and we see them light up about it—that’s unmistakable,” he said.
Amidst bowls of chili and medieval music in their makeshift office at the Yellow Deli in downtown Boulder (an occasional break from their home office), Koloc and three other young entrepreneurs with very different personalities—one working in spirit from Pittsburgh—are reworking their lives to help others find meaningful work. Based in Boulder and Pittsburgh, ReWork is not only the dream-child of Koloc, but three additional, like-minded individuals, whom Koloc knew in college or met along the way—Evan Walden, Shane Rasnak, and in Pittsburgh, Abe Taleb. Their Yellow Deli “office,” open 24 hours, is full of jokes, laughter and celebrations. What the four are passionately pouring their hearts into is nothing insignificant.
The four have a trust in each other and all have passion for a similar vision of helping people find what they are looking for.
“We want to make sure awesome companies are hiring the right people,” Koloc says. “That’s pretty much all we need to stay fired up.”
Koloc participated in the 2011 fellowship at The Unreasonable Institute in Boulder, where he says he met “crazy inspiring, powerful people.” One piece of wisdom that stuck with him came from a story told by one of the mentors. The key lesson of the story was, in any startup, persistence and tenacity are key.
“A mentor at The Unreasonable Institute said the trick to being successful in social enterprise is to stick around long enough to start doing cooler things with cooler things with cool people,” Koloc recounts.
He saw the truth in that.
As with any startup, challenges abound. Koloc and his colleagues have been juggling work in the two locations and staying in touch, having three of them in Boulder, and one in Pittsburgh. Additionally, catering to two completely distinct audiences—the talent and the clients—hasn’t been a walk in the park. But they have been able to take clear, intentional steps to attract both talent and clients.
The intentional steps help the young company grow—of course, along with cups of maté and bits and pieces of acquired information and inspiration from The Economist, The New York Times, and Fast Company. Late into the night, either at home or in the temporary Lord-of-the-Rings-esque office of the Yellow Deli, Koloc and his colleagues continue working on the magic of creation and connection.