COHatch Mom: A Venezuelan Heritage That Paved the way for Local Success
By Diego De Jesus
Photography by Jordan Randall & Adriana Eraso
Smack dab between Nineteen61 and Linksters Tap Room is the up-and-coming coworking conglomerate COHatch, where you will be welcomed by sleek modern furnishing and Adriana Eraso’s warm smile behind her desk in the main lobby in the center of a vibrant community of professionals.
By title, Eraso is a community manager, but her uplifting affability and compassion for others have earned her the moniker “COHatch Mom.” For employees like fellow Community Manager Daniela Suasnavar, Eraso helped her bravely express her Hispanic culture in the workplace.
“She is just the definition of the word mother because she’s just warm,” Suasnavar says. “She is community. She looks out for you. She’s welcoming. She’s like a servant in any sense of the word. Like she’s just always looking to help the community.”
Eraso’s entrepreneurial spirit and kindness toward others is an extension of how her parents raised her. In Caracas, Venezuela’s capital, Adriana Eraso’s mom and dad sold clothing from the back of a 1970s van before they landed in Baltimore, carrying the values that would be the bedrock of the Eraso family name.
Before they made the momentous step across the Caribbean Sea, Eraso’s father, Hugo Eraso, was in medical school in Caracas while her mother, Ligia Rico, attended university.
When she was 16, Eraso took the opportunity to visit Venezuela and be with family. Visiting her family gave her ample perspective on the difference between being Hispanic in Latin America versus the States.
“I think being a Hispanic Latina means all the beautiful things that come with that: the music, the food, the love, the warmth, the caring, the nurturing, the sense of community and family,” Eraso said. “I think it’s, it’s all of those things.”
Before joining the COHatch family, she worked as a territory manager for food delivery service Bite Squad, when its popularity was at its peak during the pandemic. She was looking for the next step and found a job application for COHatch on LinkedIn and fell in love with the mission.
COHatch was founded to address and provide for local business owners’ needs to ensure their enterprises’ success. When Eraso joined COHatch only one year ago, she had to familiarize herself with local resources in Lakeland. That proved to be easy for her.
Since then, Eraso has already made a memorable impact at COHatch. When asked if she feels like she is a leader in the Hispanic community, she responded she feels more of an “orchestrator” who wants to serve people by bringing them together.
“I see the great amazing ideas that are coming out of it,” Eraso says. “I see the want and the desire to help, and they give us these resources and these tools to be like here, help these folks in the community. That’s special. That’s incredible.”
Like her parents before her, Eraso strives to build a better life for her daughter, Victoria, in a community with the same aspirations. She treats her clients with the same warmth, care, and attention as if they were her children, making a family out of strangers.
When her parents came to the States, they started working in the hotel industry at the Hyatt Agency, traveling for many years. This encouraged Eraso to enroll at Miami Dade Community College and earn her Associates Degree in Hospitality in 2003, then a Bachelors in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University in 2007.
She spoke of her parents solemnly, with a pause for emotion and continued to chronicle their story.
“My parents were very big on bringing me and my brother into wherever they worked, and I even do that with my daughter now,” Eraso says. “It’s really kind of crazy, but by doing that, I always saw my parents working hard and instilling in me being open and welcoming and friendly and like this desire for wanting growth in themselves.”
After graduating, she worked in hospitality at LEGOLAND Florida for eight years. Lakeland was always a place she would drive through, and she noticed something special about Swan City.
Eraso and her husband, Oscar Gines, moved to Lakeland three years ago, purchasing a home at the height of the pandemic.
“The sense of community is so strong in Lakeland, we would come to the farmers’ markets and First Fridays,” Eraso says. “And what we realized really quickly was there’s something happening in Lakeland, like downtown is blooming, and people seem super happy here.”
Lakeland is home to an ever-growing and thriving Latin community of people like Eraso, who have lived by their parents’ legacy of their hopes, dreams, aspirations and the desire for a better future while helping others accomplish theirs.
Eraso looks at this growth with great pride as a Latina mother and has heavily engrossed herself in continuing the Hispanic community’s success in Lakeland by doing what she does best, bringing people together.