On this episode, I speak with Rebecca Lovell. Rebecca holds an MBA from Foster, since she graduated her career has included roles with the City of Seattle office of economic development, Geekwire, the Northwest Entrepreneur’s network, and Alliance of Angels. She teaches in the Technology Management MBA program at Foster, is a mentor for Techstars and the Female Founders Alliance and is a board director for the Washington Technology Industry Association. She also currently serves as the Chair of the national Center for American Entrepreneurship.
When Rebecca and I sat down for this conversation in late February of 2020 — as the threat of Coronavirus was beginning to become apparent but before the pandemic was declared and so much in-person work went remote — she was the Executive Director of Create33, a membership organization and “founder-center” for high-growth technology entrepreneurs backed by Madrona Venture Group. She has since been named the CEO of Denali Financial Consulting which provides experienced, strategic, financial and operating leadership for growing companies.
Because of the rapid shift to everything-from home, this was a conversation that got stuck in my edit queue. Rebecca and I discussed her work at Create33 along with other in-person activities and I wasn’t quite sure how much would be relevant amidst the pandemic shutdowns. As I worked on editing it, I realized that so much of Rebecca’s insights and advice are valuable to anyone interested in the venture and startup ecosystem here in Seattle. I did edit out some parts of the conversation that were no longer relevant.
Rebecca and I talked about her experience in the MBA program, with the venture and startup community, and advice for students interested in pursuing a career that may involve working with startups. I hope you’ll enjoy my conversation on careers and professional life with Rebecca Lovell.
Rebecca shared the following events:
And we both talked about the tremendous resource that is Geekwire, especially the Geekwire 200, a list of Pacific Northwest startups that are popular and trending among key online communities, and their Recent Fundings list.
Rebecca shared so much great advice for students looking to engage with start-ups in Seattle.
- As we’ve heard so many of my guests say, “coffee meetings” are critical to building your network, and while we may still be a few months away from resuming in-person meetings, our students are having plenty of luck connecting with people over video conference for these informational interviews.
- Volunteering and getting involved in events that cater to the startup community, from conferences to meetups, again, many being held virtually because of the pandemic is a great way to meet and connect with people in the startup community.
- Thinking about the right time in a startup’s life to engage with the company, for many tech startups, most of their hires are going to be on the engineering team until they get some seed or series a funding and have a headcount that has crossed into the double digits. And that hiring is likely going to be just-in-time.
- We also talked about how to assess startups as a prospective intern or employee, the importance of considering the type and quality of experience you will get, along with the executive mentorship opportunities, so you want to interview the company as much as they are interviewing you.