CIC Providence’s Messier maintains good company under one roof

Updated May 6, 2:09 p.m.

BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER: Stacey Messier, general manager of CIC Providence LLC, helped attract companies from various industries, including offshore wind, tourism and tele­communications that now call 225 Dyer St. home. 
PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER: Stacey Messier, general manager of CIC Providence LLC, helped attract companies from various industries, including offshore wind, tourism and tele­communications that now call 225 Dyer St. home. 
PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY

PBN C-Suite 2024 Awards
RISING STAR: Stacey Messier
CIC Providence LLC | General manager


PEOPLE AT CAMBRIDGE ­INNOVATION CENTER, or CIC, use the term “creative collisions” to describe casual chats at the office coffee pot that may lead to a possible “aha!” moment and, maybe, a future collaboration.

Office water cooler chat followed by the start of something big is not new. But CIC, with eight locations across the globe, including Providence, has developed workspaces that are artfully designed to help ideas blow up all over the place among like-minded thinkers.

Stacey Messier in 2022 was brought aboard as CIC Providence LLC’s first general manager. She oversees the office building at 225 Dyer St. with one goal: to help innovative minds find each other and find common ground for inventive thinking. The building is home to 300 clients from 35 industries.

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“We are an intersection of community and innovation,” Messier said. “Our purpose is to physically bring people together.”

Messier says she has expanded CIC Providence’s tenant base by leaning into a variety of different industries by attending conferences and networking events, welcoming delegations from around the world and partnering with organizations such as R.I. Commerce Corp., Brown University and networking organization RIHub.

Offshore wind is a prominent CIC Providence tenant and provides a good illustration of Messier’s process. Messier chose to lean into that industry because, she says, CIC had a small consortium as clients already, plus the value of renewable energy to the U.S. being “massive.”

“The longevity of this new industry is a game changer for local workforce development,” Messier said. “These key pieces led me to craft a specific strategy to position CIC Providence as the nation’s offshore wind hub.”

Industries also housed at CIC Providence include business consulting, sales and marketing, education, financial services, health care and digital health platforms, telecommunications, navigation and mapping, tourism and real estate. Messier worked to attract these tenants by analyzing client data to uncover emerging industry clusters and experimenting with different engagement strategies.

CIC Providence’s staff increased from 14 people in 2021 to 20 in 2023. Also, the annual gross revenues of CIC Providence – from rentals of space – rose to $3.8 million in 2023 from $2 million in 2021.

Messier landed at CIC Providence after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, during a massive rethinking of workers’ physical relationships to their jobs and the emergence of remote work. Serendipitously, she was prepared to think deeply about where work happens at her previous job with edX, an online education platform.

“While at edX,” Messier said, “I assisted with a variety of initiatives such as defining our hybrid work strategies, designing our new office to meet the needs of our employees, and democratizing customer research.”

She became senior director of customer and employee experience, which put Messier squarely in the world of the design of customer and user experience, which could be a micro-definition of CIC’s mission.

With a bachelor’s degree in painting from the University of Hartford, Messier first worked as a graphic designer. Through a succession of jobs, Messier moved from marketing design to product design, which she describes as a “user experience” or “customer first” form of design.

This road from designing marketing materials to manipulating user experiences was a progression into customer-obsessed strategies that led Messier to develop a key set of skills that are directly translatable to her work at CIC, she says. Messier also says her background in fine art nourished her current work of integrating minds from many business interests.

“Understanding systems is key to every art medium,” she said. “People are typically surprised by how translatable the art world is to the business world.”

Dick Soule, a former R.I. Commerce employee, said Messier was uniquely competent at nurturing the cooperative spirit at CIC.

“She has a good grasp of what business clients need to make [CIC] an engaged and active workplace. She has a sharp entrepreneurial mind and is always thinking about business solutions,” Soule said.

(SUBS 13th paragraph with minor edits on work history.)

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