The beauty of co-working spaces like HQ Raleigh is not just freelancers and entrepreneurs having a place to do their daily work but is in the fact that they can do this while surrounded by creative professionals from every imaginable industry. An organization that perfectly builds off this dynamic locally is CreativeMornings.

While not officially part of HQ, their monthly events take place next door at the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM), we contribute chairs for the large crowds coming to hear their morning inspiration, and the director of the Raleigh chapter, Jonathan Opp, is an HQ Raleigh member. His company, New Kind, does branding strategy for technology and purpose-driven companies and is based out of the Capital Club location.

Global, local, individual

CreativeMornings is based out of New York, like many things, but they have over 180 chapters worldwide, including the one here in Raleigh which started in 2012. To avoid competition among local branches, they discourage cities in close proximity from having chapters, so North Carolina chapters (in Raleigh, Charlotte and Asheville) are well spread out.

“Because of that, CreativeMornings/Raleigh serves the whole Triangle area,” Jonathan said. “We even meet in Durham three times a year.”

A key part of their motto is “Everyone is creative,” and their aim is to have chapters around the world that are focused on their own local creative success stories. Each month there is a theme; recent ones have been things like “chaos” or “community.” These are general enough to leave room for local customization, but they still give some structure and connection to the events going on in very different cities.

What to expect at a “CreativeMornings” event

The organization itself follows the same pattern. “Creativity” is a general enough concept to allow for a huge diversity of individuals and initiatives to feel included. They also make a point of embracing this diversity when choosing speakers for their monthly meetings.

“There are artists, musicians, designers, videographers, chefs, tradespeople and so many more,” Jonathan said of the presenters. “We ask them all to tell their stories so that the people in their community can see success with all its roadblocks and blemishes. If it’s made real and brought down to earth, that inspires those listening to realize these aren’t superheroes. They are just real people who made incredible ideas happen through belief and hard work.”

Jonathan also says they want the events to be a place where connections are made. The nametags, coffee, tables and breakfast are ways of encouraging people to be introduced to others dreaming up and executing big ideas in their own neighborhood.

Jacob Boem from Snap Pea Underground, for example, was a recent speaker. His company creates pop-up meals in scenic locations paired with local food and a custom dining experience. The next event will feature Sunny Lin and Sophia Woo. They are recent winners of Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” and now have a successful Asian fusion restaurant in Raleigh called MOFU Shoppe. The theme will be “chaos.”

Come by the next event for some morning inspiration, coffee and breakfast

If you’re interesting in attending, CreativeMornings/Raleigh has their events the last Friday of every month. CreativeMornings events are free, volunteer-led and supported by local sponsors.

Check their website for information on tickets a few days before and put your name on the waitlist if it’s sold out. You can see Jonathan’s work in brand strategy at New Kind here.


Written by David Larson: David runs First Page Creative, a writing service specializing in marketing and journalism that operates out of HQ Raleigh. Visit him at or call 703-408-6763 to learn more.