It was a full house at Ferrari of Fort Lauderdale last night, as SFBW held a CEO Connect/cover launch party featuring the co-founder and CEO of Pipeline Workspaces, Philippe Houdard. Guests were more than happy to sign up for test drives in the gleaming sports vehicles before Managing Director Kim Sarni assumed hosting duties, inviting the event’s sponsors from Truist, Transworld and Future Tech to give brief remarks.
Then Editor-in-Chief Drew Limsky took the stage to engage Houdard in a range of timely topics—from the practicalities and logistics of working in a design-forward shared space; to fostering a culture of belonging and connecting through co-working; to the ways in which Houdard’s strong sense of community was nurtured in the small French village where he was raised.
Of Pipeline’s seven locations, it is striking that four occupy strategic and dynamic locales in South Florida: Brickell (the flagship venue), Doral, Coral Gables and Fort Lauderdale. (The others are located in Tampa, Orlando and Philadelphia.) That’s a point of differentiation. “We can talk about the Soho Houses and the WeWorks and their global footprints, but Houdard lives here, in Brickell Key,” Limsky noted. “He’s in the community and he has a stake in the community.”
Houdard, who was educated at the University of Florida before heading to grad school at Harvard, warmed to the homecoming theme: “We’re a for-profit company and we have investors that we have to try to do something for,” Houdard said, “but there is also a sentiment of really trying to contribute to the community, help startup companies grow and be successful and help existing companies to grow their businesses as well. And for us, it’s nice to do something for the community and providing our services is what we do.”
If Houdard has notched more than a few wins as a serial entrepreneur (he was the founder and CEO of SkyBank Financial), his devotion to Pipeline represents a long-lasting devotion: He’s been at the helm for nearly 12 years.