Q: How long have you been a She’s Independent member? And how did you find out about She’s Independent?
I have been involved with She’s Independent since the inception several years ago, as we were building our community of women supporting each other in a variety of capacities. I knew Natalie Levy personally and we always had an intuition/knowing that our shared passion for helping women would lead to great things if we found a way to work together.
Q: What is your background? Brag a little ; )
I have 20+ years of experience in business development, strategic partnerships, sales and recruiting leadership. Of that experience, 7 years was spent as Head of Business Development, Sales & Recruiting for a small enterprise risk consulting firm we successfully grew until acquisition by a Top 10 CPA and consulting firm. Several years ago, I started my own Consulting, Coaching, and Recruiting firm (KIKU Growth Solutions), which helps fill the existing gap for innovative startups, venture capital/PE firms’ clients, and other mission-aligned organizations who need help with strategy and execution of sales and people/talent growth to reach their goals. I have focused much of my business and volunteer Board work around helping companies attract and hire a more diverse workforce (especially in tech) and empowering women. This includes being a Co-Founder of the Women’s Initiative for City Year Denver, Colorado Technology Women In Tech member, and AHA STEM for Girls Executive Leadership Team (volunteer).
I’ve also been an avid real estate and startup investor from a relatively young age, knowing that financial freedom would be of utmost importance to me and my goals. In this light, I started an investor group called METHOD Investments, in which we pool our connections and funds together as a collective to diversify risk and take on larger real estate and early stage company investments.
Q: Where are you on your investing journey? And how has She’s Independent influenced or supported this?
I have been investing in various investment vehicles for ~20 years. I started early stage company / Angel investing mostly through Denver Angels and now She’s Independent, due to the alignment of SII’s mission and my passion. I have selected and invested in about 20 startups.
Q: What was your first experience with our empowered action approach to learning?
I began deal sourcing and screening early stage companies for SII through my network of founders, as well as attracting new members for SII. I joined as many of the weekly calls as possible to learn about the screening process and learn more about due diligence. I love what SII is doing in the community and I have always had utmost respect for the founder, Natalie. The passion and mission is so aligned with my calling that I joined the SII Leadership Team as the Head of Business Development & Partnerships, focusing on growing our operating revenue and creating mutually beneficial strategic partnerships and sponsorships for SII with companies, universities, and community organizations. This will help make SII more sustainable and able to fulfill our mission with purpose and intention.
I am also creating an informal Business Development Committee for SII members to assist in our business development efforts.
Q: What has been your biggest ah-ha moment or benefit from the She’s Independent experience so far?
When women (and men) join together in a common, heart-aligned mission, we can accomplish great things rapidly for ourselves and the community as a whole – in a purely grassroots, bootstrapped environment! It is so powerful when we come together with interest in learning and growing together, that companies are now lining up to be considered for investment dollars and partnership with SII.
Q: What investment stands out in your mind so far?
So far, the investment that stands out the most is EarthGrid. Touring their facility and seeing their technology in action in CA was mind-blowing.