Founder & CEO at L Street Collaborative, LLC
JuntoMentor: Designation (J5)
"I didn’t have a lot of strong mentors, and that there is a new culture around supporting startups that just didn’t exist years ago."
Finish the following sentence: "In my experience, ______________."
Two things - one, cliches are cliches for a reason, like “hire slow, fire fast.” Two - go with your gut. The times that I can count that I didn’t go with my gut and it was not the wrong choice are almost zero.
What are 1-2 leadership virtues you've observed or learned in your career?
My favorite one is to have a high “say/do” quotient. A lot of people say a lot of things but don’t do them. Secondly, it’s important to tell people why I’m making strategic decisions. I’m usually thinking bigger picture, and try to explain things so that they understand...sharing the “why.”
What is one book, blog, or podcast you recommend widely?
Shoedog paints a real picture of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur; it’s the closest thing to the entrepreneurial struggle that I can find.
How would you describe your areas of expertise based on industry, market, and/or function?
Since I’ve been about 20, I’ve been negotiating and helping people buy companies and buying companies myself. I have a combination of entrepreneurial finance, as well as running and bootstrapping small or early-stage companies.
What is your strength when it comes to emotional intelligence?
I can empathize with the other person’s perspective and I’ll usually start with that...putting myself in other people’s shoes and seeing their perspective. It builds trust, and shows I’m genuine.
What is your superpower?
I see the future pretty well. I spot trends before most people, from reading, observing, and being curious.
What is something that's not on your LinkedIn profile that you wish was?
I spent a summer working with my dad in a small Iowa town at a slaughterhouse. I learned a lot about perceptions of the industry versus what it’s really like, how complicated it is to run a factory like that, and how much I didn’t want to do it.
What is your most memorable Junto moment?
With one of the companies I mentored, we had a meeting that was kind of portrayed as a “call to arms”. The issue was that an important person left the company and they didn’t know what to do. It struck me that they’d never had someone important leave their team, and our message was, “it’s no big deal, the sun will come up tomorrow, it’s normal and it happens.” Every single mentor told them that. It was one of those, “wow, we really are doing some things to help companies for the first time.”
What have you learned about yourself mentoring with Junto?
That I didn’t have a lot of strong mentors, and that there is a new culture around supporting startups that just didn’t exist years ago.