Phoebe Peronto
Home Region

San Francisco, CA

Undergrad Education

University of California, Berkeley, Political Science & Business Administration, 2012

Previous Experience

Google Ventures; Rocket Internet FZ-LLC (Dubai); Pixar Animation Studios; U.S. Senate

“I enjoy being challenged and being comfortable with discomfort.”

In her elementary-school years, Phoebe Peronto asked her mother “what she wanted me to do. I was disappointed when she said I could be anything I wanted. I wanted her to tell me. But her response opened a universe of opportunities.”

Both of Phoebe’s parents were risk-takers. When she was eight, her father abandoned a career as an engineer to become an animator at DreamWorks. Her mother left banking to become a chef. “When you see at a young age that people can reinvent themselves,” says Phoebe, “it gives you an unbridled sense of confidence and a hunger to try as many things as you can. That both my parents took jobs at a lower pay when they had a family to support is a big leap of faith. I’d be doing my past and my family a disservice, if I didn’t expand my view of the world and try new things and take chances.”

Phoebe’s career has been a succession of “hypothesis tests” in which she has tried new things to discover fresh interests. Beginning with a summer internship in the Senate office of Dianne Feinstein, she has served stints with Pixar Animation Studios, a start-up in Dubai, and with Google Ventures.

“I grew up professionally at Google,” Phoebe says. “I was like a kid in a candy store. You can experiment—that’s encouraged.”

Making more leaps of faith

Eventually, Phoebe felt “ready for a new leap to really push myself. I really enjoy being challenged and being comfortable with discomfort.” She wanted to do this in an environment “that highly valued learning how to make decisions with limited information.”

“It’s kind of like an adrenaline rush,” Phoebe says of her HBS experience. “HBS encourages you to be uncomfortable every day through cases in industries you know nothing about; in clubs that you might not otherwise have joined; by putting you in a section with complete strangers who, over time, become your close friends. It all helps me discover what I care about; what my personal values are.”

Looking ahead, Phoebe has no, one fixed ambition. Venture capital still holds her interest. “It’s not an industry known for equal gender representation,” she says. “I want to be in a position where I can develop other people, especially women.”

For her summer internship, Phoebe will take on a corporate development role at Salesforce. “They have a big focus on the company as a family. I value that in a professional environment. It makes for better teams, better performance. I want to see how that family manifests itself.”