Fuse Coworking has somewhat of a coffee house vibe to it, only without the permeating scent of coffee.
There’s background music, couches, tables, people using their laptops with headphones, small group discussions and a handful of folks milling around the community kitchen.
But what Fuse has that coffee shops don’t is Lana Zumbrunn.
She’s typically one of the people behind her laptop, occasionally glancing up at a passerby or waving to someone across the room. She’s also the go-to person for any and all questions related to Fuse.
As the Director of Fuse, Lana has a lot of responsibilities. Everything from the logistics of running the space and communicating with the members, to marketing it to potential coworkers and planning events. It’s a big job, but it’s the perfect fit for Lana.
Not because she’s a hyper-type-A individual – she’s actually the opposite of that – but because Lana can relate extremely well to the community of people who utilize Fuse.
A majority of the coworkers at Fuse are somewhere on the startup spectrum, Lana explained. They’re launching companies, testing a product or in the early ideation stage, but mostly they’re in a state of growing, adjusting and re-adjusting their plans.
There are a lot of unknowns in the startup world and Lana gets that, because she’s been part of this community and because her own story has been about figuring things out along the way.
But Lana didn’t start out with a bent toward entrepreneurship. After graduating from UNL with a degree in communications, she packed her bags and headed east to live with a friend and wait tables. Six months later she came back to Lincoln and landed a job as a hotel manager.
During an event that she hosted at the hotel for the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Lana started talking with a guest who was so impressed with her work that he ended up offering her a job doing economic development work for the Chamber.
Lana quickly jumped into the business realm and found she loved the energy of the work she did. It connected her with lots of people and played well to her strategic and problem-solving strengths.
After a few years with the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, she took a job with the Seward Chamber of Commerce before taking a break to re-evaluate her work and personal life.
It was during this sabbatical of sorts that Lana really stopped to think about the direction of her life and her identity. She started taking a good look at what was filling her time, her mind and what added and subtracted energy from her life.
She kept thinking, ‘What kind of job fits my skills?’ ‘What kind of lifestyle is a good fit for my stage of life?’ and ‘Why isn’t there a simpler answer?!!?!’
Lana said if we fast-forward through her story and asked her some of these same questions today, she wouldn’t necessarily have all the answers. There’s still a level of uncertainty and that she deals with, but the difference between now and then, Lana said, is that she knows her own story better.
She knows that being around people breathes life into her story. That good friends, a long run and creating delicious food feed her soul.
She understands that she fits well in the startup scene, because it’s a place where people are pushing forward, asking good questions and seeking out ideas.
That’s the thing about Lana, she doesn’t pretend to have her life figured out. She recognizes the unpredictability of life, but also doesn’t let that stop her from trying new things and taking risks.
She’s a mentor, resource and champion for her community, because of the fact that she doesn’t claim to have life figured out. This is what makes Lana real. It’s what’s made her a connection for the community and a friend to many.
Her uncertainty about what the next chapter in life might look like used to frustrate her, but Lana knows how to keep her story in perspective.
These days, she chooses to see her uncertainty as a challenge instead of a weakness, and she’s encouraging others to do the same.