1. How has your career path changed up until now?
I’ve had an incredibly non-linear career path that I never could have predicted. I’ve worked across many different industries including real estate, finance, media and education as well as a diversity of settings including corporate, startup, government and academia. I’ve gained so much knowledge and grown fast from the range of experiences this unexpected path has given me.
2. Did you have a mentor who helped you get to where you are now? If so, what would you say is the most important thing you learned from your mentor?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have a ton of mentors along the way. I think the most valuable mentors have been those who have pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me take risks, while supporting and cheering me along in the process.
3. What advice would you give to those pursuing their first business venture?
I would assure you that there are going to be a ton of things - both expected and unexpected - that you won’t know how to deal with. So, my advice is to acquire a big team of people around you who you can lean on - of peer founders, founders a stage ahead of you, mentors who you can call at any time, advisors in specific areas, and friends and family who will just be there for you.
4. How do you overcome risk when it comes to making business decisions?
There is always risk inherent in decision making - the key is to identify and be honest about the risk, and think ahead to how you want to show up when a big challenge arises. Being able to envision the worst possible outcome and thinking ahead to how you'd deal with it should help alleviate some of the stress in that decision making process. Decision making is one of the top job requirements of any early stage founder so learning how to make decisions in the face of uncertainty is essential.
5. Why did you decide to become a mentor/ investor for the Hospitality Innovation Hub Incubator?
I believe that we need entrepreneurs in every pocket of our professional landscape to help solve the rapidly multiplying society-wide problems we have (e.g., climate change, challenges to democracy, pandemics just to name a few). A university is a wonderful environment and ecosystem to experiment with entrepreneurship in, and I’m thrilled to support these efforts.
6. What book are you currently reading?
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles