Director of Platform (RRE Ventures); formerly, Executive Director of Business Development (Eyeview)
New York, NY
Tell us what you're up to these days.
I recently moved into the venture world as Director of Platform for RRE Ventures, a leading venture capital firm that invests in seed and early stage consumer, enterprise and financial services companies. In this role, my main priority is to find ways our firm can help entrepreneurs as they grow and scale their businesses. Right after HBS graduation, I went to Eyeview, an ad-tech startup in New York City. During my time at the company, we grew from 23 to over 100 people and I worked both in Business Development and then as the Chief of Staff for the CEO while we scaled. It was an incredible experience and I was able to see firsthand some of the challenges a typical startup faces during such growth periods. Now, in my role at RRE, I’m trying to find scalable solutions to some of the same challenges across different teams and industries.
Another impetus for me going back to business school was to find a way to be more consistently engaged in the social entrepreneurship space. During and since business school, I have been involved with a non-profit, Echoing Green, which supports emerging leaders in the social enterprise sector through fellowships and community. I also just recently finished a new program they launched, “Direct Impact”, which is an experiential board leadership program preparing young business leaders in the private sector for high-impact nonprofit board service.
How has having an MBA impacted your career?
First of all, during school, it allowed me the time to reflect and experiment. Even though I loved my time at GE and still appreciate how fantastic they were at developing people and leaders, I started realizing that I was drawn to more entrepreneurial and ambiguous projects, and thought I might enjoy an early stage company as a result. I had the time during business school to test that hypothesis with different internships, curriculum, and projects. The resources at HBS (career teams, coaches, peers) and their broad alumni network were essential in that process. When I looked to get involved in Brazil’s tech ecosystem, and then New York City’s post graduation, the HBS alumni network was instrumental in both cases. Eyeview, the startup I joined after graduation, was actually founded by an HBS alumni a few years ahead of me who came in and presented in one of my second year classes.
Another way the MBA was impactful to my career was the true quality of the learning while at HBS, which is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. When else do you get the chance to sit in classrooms and debate real problems with 90 other people which allow you to reflect on the work experiences you have already had and shape your ideas on business & leadership for the future? The caliber of experience from those in the room around me was incredible, humbling, and a huge contributor to the learning process. No matter what issue was on the table in that day’s case, someone had been through something very similar and could share a real life experience, which increased the overall learning & engagement of the group. What this translated to for me was the ability to gain a broad range of exposure across many different industries and business experiences. I put together key thoughts around this topic on my blog.
Most importantly, however, are the people you meet during those two years. I feel fortunate to call many of them friends and sharing that experience with them made HBS not just a good experience from a career and learning standpoint, but as a life experience more broadly. This is more on the personal front but does relate to career because you become part of a broader community, which can become your sounding board, your confidence during a major career change, or your future role models and peers.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Where will the next chapter take you?
I don’t have a great answer for that. I’m not much of a future “career path” planner. I feel that as long as I’m enjoying and challenged by what I’m currently doing, I should just focus on doing that well. The future has a way of working itself out in that regard. What I do know is that I love being around and involved in early stage startup companies, so that will still be the case in whatever capacity five years out. I find it constantly inspiring, humbling and mostly, a ton of fun.