Miguel McKelvey

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Miguel McKelvey
Born1974 (age 48–49)
EducationUniversity of Oregon
Known forCo-founder and chief culture officer, WeWork

Miguel McKelvey (born 1974) is an American businessman, and the co-founder and former chief culture officer of WeWork.

Early life[edit]

McKelvey grew up in a "five-mother collective" in Eugene, Oregon.[1] His family started and ran a weekly newspaper called the Eugene Weekly.[2]

In a January 2020 interview with Fortune, McKelvey called himself "a wild kid" on the high school basketball court. He said that 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."[3]

He graduated from South Eugene High School in 1992.[4][5] He first attended Colorado College and, after seeing a sculpture he created, his professor, Carl Reed, recommended he consider architecture for graduate school.[6][7]  He transferred to the University of Oregon where he earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1999.[8][9][6]

McKelvey played on the Oregon Ducks basketball team for two years.[10] However, the official record book indicates he lettered for only one year, 1997.[11]


Before graduating from college, McKelvey worked as a busboy in a restaurant, and spent two summers at an Alaskan fish processing plant.[7]

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.[12] The website offers vocabulary quizzes, grammar lessons, and a social network that connects English-language learners with English-fluent peers.[13][4] The business grew to 25 employees.[14]

McKelvey next moved to New York City, where he worked at Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture.[13][15] The firm was responsible for all the American Apparel projects, and McKelvey became the manager of the international retail roll out.[16][17]

Adam Neumann worked in the same office building, and the two met at a party.[17][18][19]  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;[19] this was the start of Green Desk.[18] McKelvey designed the name, logo, and a working website for the new business in one night.[19] Green Desk was an eco-friendly coworking space, with a focus on recycled furniture and wind-power electricity.[6] McKelvey and Neumann eventually sold the business to their landlord, Joshua Guttman, and evolved the concept into WeWork.[20][21][18]

WeWork was founded in 2010, with its first office space in the Manhattan neighborhood of SoHo.[22] McKelvey served as WeWork's chief culture officer.[13][23] He directed construction, architecture, and web design for the company, and was also responsible for building and operating culture.[24][25] Since 2010, The We Company has launched several new ventures: WeLive, a co-living venture;[26] Rise by We, a luxury gym concept;[27] and WeGrow, a private elementary school.[28] In 2019, the company introduced The We Company, a parent brand that comprises WeWork, WeLive, WeGrow, and other ventures.[29]

In 2017, McKelvey was named WeWork’s chief culture officer and in 2019,[30][31] Fast Company named McKelvey one of its Most Creative People.[20]

On June 5, 2020, McKelvey announced that he would be leaving WeWork at the end of the month.[32]

Personal life[edit]

McKelvey was married to Hiyam Khalifa, a former investment banker born in Detroit, before their divorce in 2017.[33][34]


  1. ^ "The World According to WeWork". The Real Deal New York. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  2. ^ "Can Miguel McKelvey Build the 'Culture Operating System' at WeWork?". HBS Working Knowledge. 2019-01-10. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  3. ^ 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. Retrieved 2020-01-23.
  4. ^ a b "Miguel McKelvey 1990". School of Architecture & Environment. 2017-06-16. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  5. ^ "Following a Passion – Eugene Weekly". Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  6. ^ a b c Kunes, Adam (2017-03-30). "From Handyman to the Founder of a Billion-Dollar Company". Hustle Con. Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  7. ^ a b "Miguel McKelvey Is Reimagining The Workplace". Rich Roll. 8 July 2019. Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  8. ^ "Miguel McKelvey: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Archinect Sessions: From an All-Women-Led Commune to a Multi-Billion Dollar Startup on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  10. ^ "WeWork cofounder employs architectural design skills in global 'startup' valued at $16 billion". College of Design. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  11. ^ "2019-20 Oregon Record Book (PDF)" (PDF). University of Oregon Athletics.
  12. ^ "Miguel McKelvey 1990". School of Architecture & Environment. 2017-06-16. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "Forbes profile: Miguel McKelvey". forbes.com. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  15. ^ Mochari, Ilan (2015-11-03). "What WeWork Overcame to Be Worth $10 Billion". Inc.com. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  16. ^ "Working out of the Box: Miguel McKelvey". Archinect. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  17. ^ 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.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ a b c Kosoff, Maya. "How WeWork became the most valuable startup in New York City". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  19. ^ a b c Konrad, Alex. "Inside The Phenomenal Rise Of WeWork". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  20. ^ a b "Meet Miguel McKelvey, one of Fast Company's Most Creative People". Fast Company. Retrieved 2019-09-20.
  21. ^ "Miguel McKelvey 1990". School of Architecture & Environment. 2017-06-16. Retrieved 2019-09-20.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ "WeWork's billionaire cofounder has pledged to give a percentage of his exit proceeds to charity". businessinsider.com. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  24. ^ "Miguel McKelvey". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  25. ^ "WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey is graduation speaker". Around the O. 2018-04-25. Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  26. ^ "Q+A: WeWork's Miguel McKelvey Talks WeLive". www.architectmagazine.com. Retrieved 2019-09-27.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ Eldredge, Barbara (2017-05-31). "WeWork is opening gyms in its office spaces". Curbed. Retrieved 2019-09-27.
  28. ^ Plagianos, Irene (2017-11-06). "Wework is Launching a Grade School for Budding Entrepreneurs". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2021-11-10.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ "Can Miguel McKelvey Build the 'Culture Operating System' at WeWork?". HBS Working Knowledge. 2019-01-10. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
  31. ^ "Design Is About Connection: WeWork's Miguel McKelvey". Fortune. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
  32. ^ Bosa, Deirdre (2020-06-05). "WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey is leaving at the end of the month". CNBC. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  33. ^ "Career 180: Hiyam McKelvey is all 'puckered' up". amny.com. June 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  34. ^ Feldman, Amy. "Here's What Happened To WeWork's Other Founder, Miguel McKelvey". Forbes. Retrieved 31 July 2020.