Here's my PERSONAL ROADMAP...
I was first introduced to life outside of Alabama during visits to LA & NYC as a dancer. I did build flash sites for fun when I was 10, but I still had no visibility into the tech world outside of the Gateway 2000 in my brothers room. I was fairly certain that I'd be a backup dancer for Beyonce or Justin Timberlake when I grew up and that was that. Little did I know, my entrepreneurial spirit would reveal itself to the world from a very young age. Have you heard of the "Chadwick Tumblers"?... Well, at 10 I was the Co-Founder of this Parent-Backed neighborhood gymnastics team that held meets in my backyard. We had matching paint pen branded gymnastic belts made out of repurposed dance tights. Shoulda named our company "Little Legends"... ;)
ENGINEERING TEAMS + CREATIVE
Once I made it to the big city (Los Angeles)and received a BS in design, I began auditioning for dance and acting roles for film... and I worked on a few! To pay the bills though (haha) while waiting for Beyoncé or a large network to call, I became the first and only woman at a company that specialized in recruiting "hard to find" engineering roles for early stage startups in LA. In the early days of my tech career, I became increasingly aware of how I approached my work very differently than any of my colleagues. I was very early on in my career, but I was wildly determined to build teams in my own way.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP + ENGINEERING TEAMS + CREATIVE
With the support and encouragement of incredible mentors, I launched my own boutique technology recruiting firm. I specialized in strategic searches... some call this poaching. :) Building engineering teams was my jam, but I also enjoyed CxO level searches of all types. I was lucky to be able to work with clients of my choice and able to follow the career growth of some of the brightest engineers in the world. Even in the early days I began asking clients for equity instead of cash... I knew that my impact on their team would be long-term. I never took it for granted that I was in a unique position where I was working with notable venture-backed startups across the country and could make an impact on the tech ecosystem by building diverse engineering teams.
VC + ENTREPRENEURSHIP + ENGINEERING TEAMS + CREATIVE
I've always pursued whatever is the most fulfilling to me (in all areas of my life)in real-time. There is never a fear of trying something new because I LOVE learning. The unknown is so mysterious and motivating, so I don't want to know exactly what my future will look like. I also love surprises, so I often even surprise myself. When an opportunity arose to join an early-stage hard tech VC fund as a Partner... I said yes. I immediately rolled up my sleeves and began doing everything I could to help our early-stage portfolio companies build the absolute best teams, which meant they had to be diverse. I have made sure it is a top priority now, and as my journey continues, for everyone I work with to execute on expanding their network of diverse founders and talent. There is so much more that I would like to share with you, but you'll have to hang tight for now. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk. :)
P.S. I am still waiting for Beyoncé to call...
TO BE CONTINUED...