The Dubai-based sisters are on a mission to build an authentic work culture while fostering a network of inspirational, like-minded women through the city’s most stylish new co-working space, The Bureau
A wise person once said, there is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise. From Joan of Arc and Mother Theresa to Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole, the history books are full of inspirational women who fought for the right to vote, made countless scientific breakthroughs and raised whole generations. Yet still, more often than not, we need reminders of just how brave and powerful the female voice can be. While the ultimate in gender equality might be when we don’t have to talk about gender at all, the problem is we’re still a long way off that. To get there will involve positive action to drive cultural and social change — and that’s where Nikita and Rhea Patel come in. The Dubai-born sisters founded The Bureau with the aim of creating a safe space for like-minded creatives to network, share ideas and be inspired. Here, we sit down with the sisters to discuss how they’re driving change this International Women’s Day and beyond.
Do you prefer to work in pin drop silence, or do you need a more social environment to feel inspired? Perhaps you’re at ease at a traditional desk, while your colleague loves writing from a comfortable couch? After the pandemic turned office culture on its head, regardless of our differing styles, there’s no denying we’ve been left with an urgent need to once more work in the company of people, in particular other like-minded women from whom we can draw inspiration. That’s what Nikita and Rhea Patel are on a mission to achieve.
Born and raised in Dubai, the sisters launched the region’s first female-focused co-working space and community, The Bureau Business Center (otherwise known as The Bureau) at the Gold & Diamond Park earlier this year. Consisting of an array of workspaces including private offices, meeting rooms, co-working lounges and a podcast studio, plus a Jones the Grocer, a beautiful fitness studio and even a pumping room for new mothers, it’s a haven of productivity and a community to support women personally and professionally, built around life-long learning, sharing experiences and support. “We strive to continue to bring convenience to the working woman,” Nikita tells MOJEH. “At The Bureau you can work, have meetings, attend an event, eat lunch, take a workout class and more, all in one place. As life becomes a finite commodity, our primary goal is to be a one-stop-shop for women at all stages of life. We also want to continue to build our own community while acting as a home for all the other amazing existing communities.” Combining the convenience of an office with the comfort of a home, The Bureau marries both style and substance, with earthy and neutral interiors that are easy on the eye. “The aesthetics and furniture are beautiful and high quality, and functional and ergonomic at the same time,” says Rhea. “With wooden floors, translucent sheers and rattan accessories, the design of the space is truly like no other, with a warm and residential feel.”
This isn’t the sisters’ first foray into community outreach either. Back in 2015, Nikita founded a special needs centre for young adults in Dubai, while prior to that she ran a college counselling and advisory company in the UAE for five years, supporting students through the university application process for studies in the UK, USA and Canada. As for Rhea, still at the young age of 27, her goal is to empower the next wave of young women to feel authentic, confident and brave. She is currently a mentor at the ‘Girls out Loud’ programme at Dubai College, playing the role of a ‘big sister’ to 13-year-olds and educating them on everything from body image and the importance of setting boundaries to growing up with social media. “It’s such a cathartic experience,” she explains. “I truly feel that it only takes one person to believe in you or your idea in order to achieve success and keep going in life. For me, I was fortunate enough to have a super supportive family and many mentors growing up, so whenever I get the opportunity, I think it’s important to pay it forward.”
So what’s on the agenda for International Women’s Day? Expect a plethora of events including a market supporting local female entrepreneurs where guests can enjoy some aromatherapy, exotic tea tastings, human design readings and much more. “We celebrate women every day here at The Bureau, but it’s definitely nice to mark the occasion!” says Nikita. “I truly believe we have been given the tools to make a difference. For me, business is only meaningful if it is impactful, whether that be on communities or the environment. Positive impact always motivated me, and is always my ‘why’ when it comes to entrepreneurship.” Membership plans for The Bureau include monthly and annual options, short and long-term private office rental, social membership plans, student plans and a day pass option.
Nikita and Rhea photographed by Ausra Osipaviciute
Words by Naomi Chadderton
Styling by Kelly Baldwin