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An executive who worked in banking for 20 years quit her job...


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to found a female-focused members space in New York City. I spent a day there to see if I would pay $150 a month for it — here's what it's like.




"Come sit at our table," one wall read in large, elegant black letters. "In this together," said another in gold cursive. "You're a '#boss,'" the tabletop sculpture told me.

Nowhere in recent memory have I felt as affirmed as I did visiting Luminary NYC last month.

Founded by former bank executive Cate Luzio in November 2018, Luminary is a two-story, ultra-chic members space for women located in Manhattan's NoMad district.

In the wake of the Me Too, Time's Up and Women's March movements, a handful of members spaces geared toward women have cropped up within the United States and overseas. In New York City, these include Luminary; The Wing, which opened its first location in October 2016 as a coworking and community space geared towards women; Chief, a Tribeca-based members club for high-powered women executives; and Maison, a members club on the Upper East Side geared toward mothers. Both Chief and Maison opened in 2019.

Luminary defines itself as a "collaboration hub for women to develop, network and connect" as opposed to a coworking space or a club. What also distinguishes Luminary from other women's spaces is that while it requires its members to pay dues, it doesn't require them to fill out an application.

"You can no longer wait for your job or boss to give you a career roadmap," Luminary's website states. "We are cultivating the learning community and networks you have been looking for."  

The above piqued my interest. Could $150 a month fast-track my career and network development? Could it save me precious time, spare future headache?

I spent a day at Luminary to see for myself. Here's what Luminary NYC is like: 

I visited on an overcast Monday in December, and the space was a welcome change from the weather outside.

Luminary's new "Glass Ceiling" rooftop lounge, which opened earlier this month and looks out over the Empire State building, was not yet finished.

The space opens at 8 a.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. on Saturdays, and is closed on Sundays.


Walking in, everything was — fittingly with its brand name — luminous. Bubble-like lights hung from the ceiling, and the front desk sported a glowing "Luminary" sign.


According to Luminary's website, the definition of "luminary" is "a person who inspires or influences others; a guiding light, an inspiration, a role model, a heroine, a leader, a legend."


I arrived in the morning and sat down with Cate Luzio, Luminary's founder.

My gaze wandered to the mint-green couch, which was adorned with a decorative pillow embroidered with the words "BOSS LADY." Everything in the room was clean, polished, and exceptionally chic.


Cate and I spoke about her reasons for founding Luminary.


In short, after two decades working as an executive at HSBC, JP Morgan and Bank of America, Cate was not seeing enough investment in female talent.

"If I hear one more time, 'she's just not quite ready yet,' you know, I want to punch the person because the reason she's not ready is because you're not investing in her and developing her," she told me.

Cate then gave me a tour of the space, introducing me to other members of the Luminary team and a few members before leaving me to my day.

Past the lobby is a kitchen with a long white marble island and several bar-style seating areas.


Coffee, tea and wine are offered in the kitchen and are complimentary for members. Snacks under $10, like nuts and wraps, are available for purchase. 

I noticed women of all ages entering the space. Many people greeted each other by name. Luminary has over 600 members now — a mix of entrepreneurs, corporate professionals and students, Cate told me. Male allies are welcome as well. 

Luminary's membership options make it accessible to a wide range of people.

Individual memberships range from $150 to $450 per month and offer varying levels of access to Luminary's spaces and events. Luminary offers discounted plans for students, members under 25, seniors, and those working in the non-profit space. Additionally, it grants membership to one "woman in need of a community" for every 10 memberships purchased. Day passes are another option, costing $40 for adults and $20 for students under 21.

Companies can purchase memberships for their employees as well. Current corporate members include JP Morgan and UBS. 

Beyond the kitchen is Luminary's largest room. Mint-green couches line the windows, and earth-toned seats fill the space in between.


This is where most people gather for socializing and connecting, and where Luminary hosts many of its larger programs. During the day, the volume ranged from hushed to coffee-shop-level.

To date, Luminary has hosted more than 200 events and workshops, 70% of which are member-led. Programs focus not just on networking, but also on building personal and professional skills like "Hacking the Fear of Public Speaking."

The concept of "collaboration over competition" is integral to Luminary's DNA, Cate told me. "I still think there is this idea that there can only be one woman that's successful in a company, in a field. And I don't buy it. I think we're successful if we work together," she said.  READ MORE...


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