Miguel McKelvey

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Miguel McKelvey
Born1974 (age 46–47)
EducationUniversity of Oregon
Known forCo-founder and chief culture officer, WeWork
Net worthUS$900 million (May 2020)[1]

Miguel McKelvey (born 1974) is an American businessman, and the co-founder, with Adam Neumann, of WeWork, and its chief culture officer.[2]

Early life[edit]

McKelvey grew up in a "five-mother collective" in Eugene, Oregon.[3] His family started and ran a weekly newspaper called the Eugene Weekly.[4]

In a January 2020 interview with Fortune, McKelvey called himself "a wild kid" on the high school basketball court and he found a sense of accountability from his coach, who was a strict disciplinarian. He said of Coach Stepp, "I didn’t grow up with my father, so I never had someone telling me to keep in line."[5]

He graduated from South Eugene High School in 1992.[6][7] He first attended Colorado College and, after seeing a sculpture he created, his professor, Carl Reed, recommended he consider architecture for graduate school.[8][9]  He transferred to the University of Oregon where he earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1999.[10][11][8]

McKelvey played on the Oregon Ducks basketball team for two years.[12] However, the official record book indicates he lettered for only one year, 1997. [13]


Early on, McKelvey was involved in the early-stage development of several companies, including Green Desk, Barre3, and Versation.[14][11] Before graduating from college, McKelvey worked as a busboy in a restaurant, and spent two summers at an Alaskan fish processing plant.[9]

After graduating from college, McKelvey went to Tokyo to visit a friend, and while there, he co-founded English, baby!, a web portal and social network for students to create and take foreign-language online courses.[15] The website offers vocabulary quizzes, grammar lessons, and a social network that connects English-language learners with English-fluent peers.[16][6] The business grew to 25 employees.[1]

McKelvey next moved to New York City, where he worked at Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture.[16][17] The firm was responsible for all the American Apparel projects, and McKelvey became the manager of the international retail roll out.[18][19]

Adam Neumann worked in the same office building, and the two met at a party.[19][20][21]  In 2008, the two convinced their landlord to let them divide the floors of an empty building into semi-communal offices and rent them out;[21] this was the start of Green Desk.[20]  McKelvey designed the name, logo, and a working website for the new business in one night.[21] Green Desk was an eco-friendly coworking space, with a focus on recycled furniture and wind-power electricity.[8] McKelvey and Neumann eventually sold the business to their landlord, Joshua Guttman, and evolved the concept into WeWork.[22][23][20]

WeWork was founded in 2010, and the first office space was in the Manhattan neighborhood of SoHo.[24] McKelvey serves as WeWork's chief culture officer.[16][25] He directs construction, architecture, and web design for the company, and is also responsible for building and operating culture.[26][27]  Since 2010, The We Company has launched several new ventures: WeLive, a co-living venture;[28] Rise by We, a luxury gym concept;[29] and WeGrow, a private elementary school.[30] In 2019, the company introduced The We Company, a parent brand that comprises WeWork, WeLive, WeGrow, and other ventures.[31]

In 2017, McKelvey was named WeWork’s chief culture officer and in 2019,[2][32][33] Fast Company named McKelvey one of its Most Creative People.[22]

On June 5, 2020, McKelvey announced that he would be leaving WeWork at the end of the month.[34]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Hiyam Khalifa, a former investment banker born in Detroit, before their divorce in 2017.[35][36]


  1. ^ a b "Forbes profile: Miguel McKelvey". forbes.com. Retrieved 19 May 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b "Miguel McKelvey - Co-Founder and Chief Culture Officer @ The We Company". Crunchbase. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
  3. ^ "The World According to WeWork". The Real Deal New York. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  4. ^ "Can Miguel McKelvey Build the 'Culture Operating System' at WeWork?". HBS Working Knowledge. 2019-01-10. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  5. ^ Marinova, Polina (2020-01-22). "WeWork's other cofounder has a plan to save the company. It's the opposite of what Adam Neumann envisioned". Fortune (magazine)/Fortune. Retrieved 2020-01-23. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b "Miguel McKelvey 1990". School of Architecture & Environment. 2017-06-16. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  7. ^ "Following a Passion – Eugene Weekly". Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  8. ^ a b c Kunes, Adam (2017-03-30). "From Handyman to the Founder of a Billion-Dollar Company". Hustle Con. Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  9. ^ a b "Miguel McKelvey Is Reimagining The Workplace". Rich Roll. Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  10. ^ "Miguel McKelvey: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 29 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ a b "Archinect Sessions: From an All-Women-Led Commune to a Multi-Billion Dollar Startup on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  12. ^ "WeWork cofounder employs architectural design skills in global 'startup' valued at $16 billion". College of Design. Retrieved 23 April 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "2019-20 Oregon Record Book (PDF)" (PDF). University of Oregon Athletics.
  14. ^ "Miguel McKelvey". Crunchbase.
  15. ^ "Miguel McKelvey 1990". School of Architecture & Environment. 2017-06-16. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  16. ^ a b c Henry, Zoë (2015-10-16). "This Guy Went From Glorified Handyman to Co-Founder of a $10 Billion Company". Inc.com. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  17. ^ Mochari, Ilan (2015-11-03). "What WeWork Overcame to Be Worth $10 Billion". Inc.com. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  18. ^ "Working out of the Box: Miguel McKelvey". Archinect. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  19. ^ a b Wiedeman, Reeves (June 10, 2019). "The I in We How did WeWork's Adam Neumann turn office space with "community" into a $47 billion company? Not by sharing". NY Mag. New York. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ a b c Kosoff, Maya. "How WeWork became the most valuable startup in New York City". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  21. ^ a b c Konrad, Alex. "Inside The Phenomenal Rise Of WeWork". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  22. ^ a b "Meet Miguel McKelvey, one of Fast Company's Most Creative People". Fast Company. Retrieved 2019-09-20.
  23. ^ "Miguel McKelvey 1990". School of Architecture & Environment. 2017-06-16. Retrieved 2019-09-20.
  24. ^ Bronner, Stephen J. (2018-09-18). "12 Crazy Things You Should Know About WeWork, the Coworking Company Valued at $20 Billion". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2019-09-20.
  25. ^ "WeWork's billionaire cofounder has pledged to give a percentage of his exit proceeds to charity". businessinsider.com. Retrieved 29 October 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  26. ^ "Miguel McKelvey". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  27. ^ "WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey is graduation speaker". Around the O. 2018-04-25. Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  28. ^ "Q+A: WeWork's Miguel McKelvey Talks WeLive". www.architectmagazine.com. Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  29. ^ Eldredge, Barbara (2017-05-31). "WeWork is opening gyms in its office spaces". Curbed. Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  30. ^ www.bloomberg.com https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-06/wework-hits-education-with-an-entrepreneurial-school-for-kids. Retrieved 2019-09-27. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  31. ^ Brooker, Katrina (2019-01-08). "Exclusive: WeWork rebrands to The We Company; CEO Neumann talks about revised SoftBank round". Fast Company. Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  32. ^ "Can Miguel McKelvey Build the 'Culture Operating System' at WeWork?". HBS Working Knowledge. 2019-01-10. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
  33. ^ "Design Is About Connection: WeWork's Miguel McKelvey". Fortune. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
  34. ^ Bosa, Deirdre (2020-06-05). "WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey is leaving at the end of the month". CNBC. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  35. ^ "Career 180: Hiyam McKelvey is all 'puckered' up". amny.com. Retrieved 2 July 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  36. ^ Feldman, Amy. "Here's What Happened To WeWork's Other Founder, Miguel McKelvey". Forbes. Retrieved 31 July 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)