Greg St. Fort and 100 State
Building the New Economy
|Born and raised in New York, Greg St. Fort became the executive
director of 100 State about 18 months ago.
time in school, I was always in a lot of extracurricular activities, most of it was stuff that I did and not school stuff.”
St. Fort ended up being involved in fashion.
“Engineering and fashion are similar in terms of the level of creativity,” St. Fort said. “A lot of it was creative, working with people and
creativity. And between all of that, I taught myself web design. I needed a website for the stuff I was doing. And it got really interesting because
I ended up getting a lot of clients. I was networking with a lot of people because of the work I did, especially when I got into fashion. That was
during Fashion Week, so we had some of these big events. I’ve had celebrities show up to my events, stuff like that. So we really got some
traction from that and really enjoyed it. What made it really awesome is we got a lot of invites to some of the more exclusive events. That was
because of networks and some really awesome people who worked with celebrities and they would invite me, my friends and my partners. We
were able to get into all of those events and it helped me build a network. We had seats in the front rows right there with celebrities. It was an
awesome experience, especially since I wouldn’t consider myself a fashion guru. I’m fashionable, but that wasn’t necessarily my space. I
enjoyed being around people, for sure. As my network built, I was organizing my own events during that week. But I built them around being
alternative events. They had balance in every sense of the word. People could come and feel like they are these fashion gurus for the night or
fashionistas for the night, but that is just for the night. We created the full experience where you still were seeing celebrities; you still were
seeing a high level of fashion, a balance with high-end fashion and some urban fashion. But it was very high level, so it was a very great
At this stage in his life, St. Fort wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life, so he just kept doing it, speeding straight ahead knowing that
something would come into view. But there were also potholes along the way as there are for all entrepreneurs.
“Sometimes, I was actually good and sometimes, I actually wasn’t,” St. Fort confided. “And this is kind of me going through the good stuff.
There were all kinds of bad experiences in the middle of all of this. Some projects failed. I failed miserably. I was still trying to get through life.
There were a lot of different things in terms of trying to figure out I to make this where I could follow my dreams, but I still had to pay my bills. I
had family and friends. There were all of these different things going on around me.”
As he assessed his life with the help of some friends, it dawned on St. Fort to consolidate all of the experiences — and resulting skills — into a
“I made overtures to the entrepreneurial community about my marketing services,” St. Fort said. “One of my biggest projects ended up being
the seed for everything else that I wanted to do in my life. I could consolidate all my work and my assets and turn it into a business and embed
my story behind it, which is I know what I want to do, but I’ll keep building. Let’s keep building. The idea is you can overcome circumstances.
You can find the right people and find your passion and then of course, don’t find excuses. Just keep going and say, ‘This is going to happen.’
You speak it into existence. From doing that, I ended up doing more projects and different events.”
Along the way, St. Fort also fell in love. And when his girlfriend landed a job at American Girl, St. Fort followed her to Madison 2-3 years ago.
While he could work on most of his business projects from a remote location, St. Fort knew that his long-term viability depended on him
making connections and putting down roots in Madison. And so, he did one of the things that he does best. He did cold-call networking.
“I was on the east side going up to random people and saying, ‘My name is Greg,’” St. Fort recalled. “’I’m from New York. I’m trying to meet
people.’ It was summertime and people were walking outside. It wasn’t a networking event or anything. I didn’t understand the population here.
I ended up meeting people going to different bars. One day, I met Andrew, the former executive director here. I wasn’t even looking for
business. I was just trying to meet people and wherever that led to was cool. I met him. We hung out that day. We were having drinks and
having a good time. We exchanged contacts. And we just kept hanging out. We were like friends. One day, he asked me where I worked from
and I told him that I worked from home, remotely. He said, ‘You should check out 100 State. I checked it out. That was when it was at 100 State.
I thought it was pretty awesome. It was co-working. I had been in co-working spaces in New York before. 100 State had been in existence for
about a year at that point. I checked it out and I think maybe a couple of months later because I had to do some other work, I ended up
becoming a member.”
St. Fort joined and began a very unintentional meteoric rise through the ranks at 100 State.
“A week or two after I became a member, I became an events manager, which is really funny how that happened,” St. Fort said. “We did a new-
member orientation where all of the new members get together. And I was talking to the new members saying, ‘Yeah, we’re all new members.’
And then maybe a week or two later, they announced that I was the new events manager. Everyone else wondered how that happened
because they had just met me and I was a new member and now I had a position. It was really awesome. I had a background in organizing
events. And I knew that I could do it relatively fast. And what I wanted to accomplish made sense for what needed to happen at the time, which
is a lot more diversity in every sense of the word. I could help with that. I ended up doing a lot of different events. And that helped build a lot of
the social capital. I was organizing events and I was at 100 State. This is when it was at 30 W. Mifflin Street, the last location. Fast forward, we
had a transition into new leadership and I ended up becoming executive director of 100 State. It was less than a year being in Madison.”
Next issue: The dynamics at 100 State
By Jonathan Gramling
There is a certain vibrancy about Greg St. Fort, the executive director
of 100 State, a co-working space that recently relocated to the old
AT&T building on W. Washington Avenue. Born and raised in New
York City, St. Fort seems to want to fit as much as he can into every
minutes reflecting the fast pace of the Big Apple. And one gets the
desire that he always wants to be on the cutting edge, in the thick of
things, even if he is the one creating those “things.”
Having the will or even the sensibility of being on the cutting edge
usually means that one will be forced to make one’s own path in life.
That is no more truer than the direction St. Fort’s life has taken.
“When I was in high school, I wanted to be a doctor,” St. Fort said. “It
took me a couple of weeks to realize that I didn’t want to do that. Then
I went to college to study engineering because I was good in math
and that’s what people use in engineering. I went to City Tech College
in Brooklyn. It was located in downtown Brooklyn. I got a degree in
engineering, but that is definitely not what I wanted to do. During my