Winning More B2B Sales: October’s Lunchbox Learning with Alice Heiman

You built it but they are not coming. Why aren’t companies flocking to buy from you?
Join Alice Heiman for this fast-paced hour-long workshop. B2B, complex sales can be daunting. Alice will help you create a winning sales process to drive the business you need. Learn how to identify your ideal customer and identify the best approach to build awareness, determine interest, educate, close the deal and get more business and referrals.

Alice is a nationally-recognized sales trainer and consultant. Over the course of her two decades of teaching others the art of selling, she’s earned a host of awards, including Saleswoman of the Year, Marketer of the Year, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Blue Ribbon Award. Alice has made numerous guest appearances on television and radio broadcasts, and has been featured in print publications, including Entrepreneur’s Startups and Selling Power magazines.

Alice developed her sales expertise while at Miller Heiman, Inc. before striking out on her own and establishing Alice Heiman, LLC, in 1997. In her years at Miller Heiman she sold to and trained some of the company’s largest and most complex accounts, including Coca Cola, Dow Chemical, Merck and Hewlett Packard.

Lunchbox Learning Workshop
October 24, 2017
12:00-1:00p.m.
Adams Hub for innovation: 111 W Proctor Street, Carson City, NV

Lunchbox Learning Workshops are free by advance reservation and open to the Northern Nevada business community. Just RSVP to grow@adamshub.com. Space is limited, and be sure to bring your lunchbox!

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Molly Dahl brings YOUTH Positive curriculum to Carson High School

The Adam’s Hub NewE program at Carson High, through the Career and Technical Education program and in collaboration with Billy McHenry, is guided this year by author and teacher Molly Dahl.

Dahl’s curriculum YOUTH Positive, Exploring the Unique Genius of Every 21st Century Adolescent, is being used in Entrepreneur classes as well as Freshman Transition program. YOUTH Positive is a collection of the research and best practices of Positive Psychology written for the adolescent audience. As a school curriculum, it offers a full set of tools and techniques that guide teens toward a more enthusiastic, successful, and enjoyable high school experience.

After 15 years in the high school classroom as a Spanish teacher, Dahl took the leap and left the formal education setting. She took three years off to write and publish a set of four books that comprise the YOUTH Positive series: the high school book, a middle school workbook, a nine-week lesson plan and activity book for K-3, and a teacher’s guide.

This year finds Dahl back in the high school classroom as the liaison between the Adams Hub for innovation, a local business incubator and co-working space, and the CTE (Career and Technical Education) program at Carson High. In collaboration with Billy McHenry, the Business and Entrepreneur teacher, Dahl brings the real world into the high school classroom with lessons from YOUTH Positive on problem solving, developing a growth mindset and positive attitude, fostering an entrepreneurial mindset, and the roots of creativity, to name a few. Local business owners and entrepreneurs add their rich experiences as guest speakers, encouraging students to develop the entrepreneurial attitude at an early age.

In the Freshman Transition program, Dahl works with the teachers, both in their classrooms as well as in professional development trainings, on how to best tailor YOUTH Positive to the needs of their students. Being back in the classroom and working so closely with students is “refreshing and encouraging”, says Dahl.

“It really makes me see how important it is to offer them as many tools as possible so they can create the future they hope for. Creativity in education has long been cast aside,” she explains. “It’s interesting to observe the students as they are turned loose to work on problem-solving. They’ve forgotten how to be creative. They make lists and outlines. The come up with the usual answers. It’s hard for them to break out and think creatively. So it’s a really fun and challenging process for me as a teacher. How do I help them understand that they can’t “do” creativity wrong? How do I encourage them to find their unique genius through their own expression and ideas? Creativity is as individual as they are. It should be fun! And challenging.”

 

From Idea to Action: Our September 12 Lunchbox Learning Session

On September 12, from 12-1 PM, join us for From Idea to Action with Diane Dye Hansen, the Adams Hub September Lunchbox Learning session. Diane is principal of What Works Coaching, a Carson City-based business coaching firm which helps entrepreneurs and solopreneurs learn new ways to thrive during periods of transition or crisis.

Moving from idea to execution to fruition is a process that’s not well understood, but learnable, according to Diane. Not surprisingly, most of the impediments we encounter are the ones we create for ourselves.

“Each of us, at some point, enters a loop called the Paradox of Perfection,” Diane explains. “There are three distinct “loops” which can stop our ideas from reaching fruition: a Learning loop, Resource loop and Self-Belief loop. Most of the time, we don’t realize we’re stuck in one of these vicious cycles, and we’re unaware how to get out.”

The Learning Loop occurs when we have a new idea and we think we need to learn more about it. In our quest to understand it better, we start attending seminars and conferences, reading books, and moving from one mentor to another. Though we are learning, we are still unwilling to act.

The next loop is Resource Loop, in which we think we don’t have enough resources to carry out our idea. We believe we need more money or additional team members. The fact is that, we don’t need money to test the viability of our ideas, and teams grow as we begin to express ourselves.

The last loop which can halt progress is the Self-Belief Loop, a common challenge for inventors and would-be entrepreneurs. We fear that somebody will steal our idea or copy our idea, or we may believe that our idea isn’t ready yet. The Self-Belief Loop enables us to talk ourselves out of our own ideas, even while we believe we’re “protecting” them.

Why do our ideas fail to take root? Diane believes that most of us don’t nurture them in the right environment, and instead believe that a truly good idea will produce instant success. (Consider the way ideas and “strokes of genius” are depicted in the media: most “big ideas” appear to be an overnight success.) Just as a plant doesn’t grow instantly, ideas take time and a supportive environment to germinate, root, grow and thrive.

This lunchtime workshop provides practical tools for organizations or individuals, including ways to flush out ideas, and strategies for scheduling the necessary ‘white space’ (time) for ideation.

Diane will also introduce a unique new approach to discovering opportunity in crisis–an idea which has been around since 1400 BC. Diane has dubbed it CRAPPERTUNITY, and created a definition for the first time. So, join Diane, who helps individuals or business in crisis or transition at Adam’s Hub to evaluate, refine your ideas and turn them into actions.

FAQ

1. Who will benefit from this workshop?

Anyone who is working on an idea for business or personal change.

2. Are there any prerequisites?

Only an open mind.

3. What are the takeaways?

Clarity about your idea(s) and what to do about it

To RSVP for the workshop, email grow@adamshub.com or call 775.222.0001. Space is limited. The program will begin promptly at noon. Please feel free to bring your lunchbox!

Diane Dye Hansen is the Chief Inspiration officer and Communication Consultant for What Works Coaching. She has helped local, national and international businesses to discover opportunity, take action and create results. She is a former Editor in Chief of Getaway Reno Tahoe Magazine.

For students, both on and offline, coworking is the perfect study environment

Coworking isn’t just for entrepreneurs and freelancers. More employees than ever are working remotely, and more students than ever before are distance-learners.

A good coworking facility provides all the resources students need to get work done: a comfortable, modern, low-distraction workspace, ultra-high-speed internet, plenty of convenient outlets to charge tech gadgets, a frig for your lunch, and unlimited free caffeine. (The savings in coffee alone could pay for a membership!)

Amenities like lockers and showers increase the utility of a coworking space for students, who are frequently combining work and school, or taking classes both online and on-campus. Members can utilize the printer/copier for a nominal fee, as well. For $20 per month, a member can opt for an Adams Hub mailbox.

Need to take or make a phone call? Coworking etiquette dictates that a quiet, short call is okay, but a “phone booth” is offered for those longer conversations. Want to get outside? Adams Hub offers a coworking rooftop deck with wifi.

But what about remote learners? One of the biggest challenges for students of online schools and courses is isolation. A home environment presents myriad distractions. (The dog, the laundry, the refrigerator…) Coffee shops can be loud and crowded. A good coworking facility creates an atmosphere of focus, with just the right amount of social interaction.

In fact, the biggest benefit of student coworking is the opportunity for collaboration and networking. It may be as simple as, “Hey, I know someone who could help you with X,” or it could be as rewarding as, “Hey, I’m looking for someone who does Z. Would you be interested?” In a coworking environment, students are exposed to entrepreneurs and freelancers who could open up new and interesting opportunities, including jobs.

Adams Hub offers a Student Membership that provides access Monday through Friday from 9 to 5 p.m. The discounted membership rate is just $49 (a $100 savings over our standard $149, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. membership.) Curious? We’d be happy to take you on a tour. Contact us at grow@adamshub.com.

The Scoop on Scoups, an EA-fueled local startup

When Geoff and Kimberly Landry began working on their startup, Scoups, the naysayers were loud. Their business concept, an ice cream and soup bar, was a combination the market hadn’t seen before. After finding what seemed to be a perfect location on the new McFadden Plaza, they were committed. Even though they were just months from opening, the couple decided to seek an entrepreneurial community to support them on their journey. What they found was the Carson chapter of Entrepreneurs Assembly.

More than a networking or mastermind group, EA is a community of entrepreneurs and mentors who support each other in growing their businesses. Participants break out into mentor-facilitated round tables, taking turns presenting a current business challenge. In addition to the mentors’ feedback, peer-to-peer experience sharing is encouraged. After that, specific “marching orders” for the next 30 days are identified.

“We’re always impressed with the broad range of ideas from the attendees, everything from high tech to home-based businesses, and products to services,” says Geoff. “It’s a wide variety and it helped us look outside of our box and our business.”

EA is open to everyone, whether a business is in the early “idea” stage, making money, or ready to grow. Because EA is free to attend, its mentors are all volunteers. This includes businesspeople who run profitable companies of their own.

“We are there for the love of business and we want to see each other succeed,” says EA Carson City chapter president Diane Dye Hansen.

“The EA energy is great,” says Kimberly Landry. “The support is just amazing. In business, we all carry a certain amount of knowledge. When you go to EA, you take what you know and add everyone else’s thoughts. It gives you a different perspective. It’s a great addition to Carson.”

The Landrys say, even though they were far along in their opening timeline, EA helped them further validate their business plan and better understand the profit margins they needed to achieve. They took action on their marching orders to stay on their construction timeline and open a restaurant which is now known and loved by many.

Scoups enjoys reviews averaging 4.9 out of 5 stars on Facebook and 4.5 stars on Yelp.

Entrepreneurs Assembly (EA) is held at 5:30 pm on the second Wednesday of each month inside The Studio at Adams Hub for Innovation. If you are ready to take the next step with your business idea, or get some peer and mentor help with your business, EA may be right for you. You may be amazed what it does for you, your mindset, and your business.

Entrepreneurs Assembly – Carson City
111 W. Proctor Street – The Studio
Carson City
2nd Wednesday of Each Month
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
No cost

Meet Bill Monroe, the Mushroom Man

When you think of the ag industry in Northern Nevada, the first crop that comes to mind is probably not mushrooms. But Adams Hub entrepreneur Bill Monroe of CalNeva Organics is pioneering this space in the exploding indoor-agriculture sector. Here’s a quick Q & A with the co-founder of this exciting, sustainable ag-tech business.

How would you describe your business?

I’ve got my hands in several ventures right now, but I’m currently focused on mushrooms, as that facility is about to open in a few weeks in Carson. CalNeva Organics is an organic oyster mushroom farm that incorporates biotech systems into food production for consistency in product, calculable and timely yields, and ideal fruitbody size. We grow oyster mushrooms in a sterile environment using waste materials from other agricultural crops such as wheat straw, rice hulls, peanut husks, palm, sawdust/wood chippings or cannabis and hemp stalks.

How did you find your way into this business?

My partners, Nick and Phil, met a local mushroom mycologist named Dr. John (Doc John) Holliday last year when discussing a different business we were developing. As that development continued, Doc John became closer on the project and eventually proposed possible revenue enhancement with the incorporation of mushrooms into our current agricultural system. After some development and research, we landed on a reciprocal and multi-beneficial business model to incorporate oyster mushrooms into our plan.

What’s the biggest challenge that you’re facing right now in growing that business?

Our model is to grow certified organic oysters, which requires organic inputs into the system. During the summer, before summer wheat is harvested in the southwest, we find it difficult to source quality materials for our nutrient inputs. The material must be tested to be free of fungicides and other non-organic matter, and with a monthly requirement exceeding seven tons of dry straw, it is not an easy order to fill.

What kind of growth are you anticipating in the coming year? Why?

CalNeva Organics is part of a larger operation that is in multiple states under the name “Holliday Mushrooms”. Our goal is to have ten to twelve mushroom farms across the country focusing on organic oyster mushrooms. The oysters are part of a class of mushrooms considered to be “exotic” in the markets, and Doc John’s biotech system allows for consistency and quality in these mushrooms. We have one brand, Holliday Mushrooms, that will be represented in many markets across the country by the end of the year and into next year. We aim to be to Planter’s Peanuts or Blue Diamond Almonds of the exotic mushroom industry- partnering with local operators in different states, supplying them with operations support and sales channels.

Why Oyster Mushrooms?

Oyster mushrooms are dense in protein and nutrients, and are largely unknown to the mass market. Everyone knows about the common button mushroom and portabellas; even shitake and crimini are popular. These mushrooms are classified as agaricus, and grow primarily in a soil mixture. Oysters grow from waste material from other agricultural crops, therefore turning waste into food. This is important because it allows us to implement a farm like this in any market that has agricultural production–including third world countries–and allows for the manufacture of protein and vitamins from waste. We consider this an opportunity to help feed the world.

Tell me about your work style and how being a member at the Hub supports that.

My work style is very free-spirited and lightly structured. Most days I feel like work is just one constant stream of tasks and agenda items flowing from one day into the next. Being a member at Adams Hub has allowed me to come into the office at all hours of the day and night to support the busy schedule I keep. There is always coffee available–a true life saver for me–and it is a conducive environment to work in. I’ve utilized the available interns for market research and help in shaping the business early on, and intend to use them as sales and marketing researchers in the coming weeks. Kat and Miya have been incredibly supportive and communicative of pertinent issues to my business–from texts alerting me of arriving packages to key introductions with influential people in the business community. Working from Adams Hub has certainly accelerated my start-up, and will continue to help propel it into a successful business.

Mastering the Mindset of World Class Customer Service: 7/25 Lunchbox Learning Session

Do you wish your team was more adept at customer service?
Are you frustrated when employees don’t consistently follow your established customer service procedures?
Do you work with the public and need some new “tools” in your kit?

Great customer care begins with great people. (Northern Nevada has lots of those!) But even great employees can struggle with the demands of public-facing jobs, whether in retail, hospitality, professional services, medicine or government. Any organization is only as strong as its weakest link, and bad word of mouth, online and off, can destroy a company’s good reputation.

All world class customer service organizations have three things in common: they have mastered the three key building blocks of world-class customer care–what I call the “roots,” the “structure,” and the “art.” When you understand how these components work together, you can create authentic, satisfying customer experiences in any business. This process increases customer service representatives’ autonomy and confidence while it increases customer satisfaction.

In the class I draw on my 30+ years in the spa and hospitality sector, during which time I managed and led hundreds of front-line employees and consulted for dozens of other companies. I developed a management seminar that was utilized by Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Shangri-La, Peninsula Hotels and Park Hyatt to train their spa directors over the course of nearly 15 years. I’m also a graduate of Hospitality Quotient’s “Creating Wows” program in New York. But this simple approach can be used by any company that delivers customer service, face-to-face or remotely, in any market.

Please join us and “level up” your customer service game! The class is open to business owners and employees alike.

Where: Adams Hub for innovation, 111 West Proctor St. Carson City

When: Tuesday July 25, 12-1 p.m.

How: To register, RSVP to grow@adamshub.com or call 775.222.0001.

Young African Leaders Initiative

On Thursday, June 27, Carson City and Adams Hub welcomed a delegation of 25 members of the Young African Leaders Initiative. (YALI.) The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, begun in 2014, is the flagship program of the YALI, which empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. In 2017, the Fellowship has provided 1,000 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. college or university with support for professional development after they return home.

Each Mandela Washington Fellow takes part in a six-week Academic and Leadership Institute at a U.S. college or university in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management. UNR is one of a handful of universities selected to host a delegation.

Adams Hub Entrepreneur in Residence Matt Westfield, an adjunct professor of business at UNR and a founder of Entrepreneurs Assembly (EA), is enthusiastic about the university’s involvement in the YALI program. Westfield recently returned from a trip to Africa with EA board member and UNR faculty member Dave Croasdell. The men worked on forging relationships and fostering entrepreneurial ecosystems in a number of West African countries, including Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and Ghana. Affiliate chapters of Entrepreneurs Assembly are already operating in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We’re honored to help African nations continue to build their economies. For us it’s a love and a passion to spread entrepreneurship,” he notes. His enthusiasm and energy clearly resonated with the group.

The Fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, boast records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive impact in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. In 2017, Fellows include leaders from 48 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa; half are women.

“We wanted to give these young leaders a taste of what’s happening here in the entrepreneurial environment in Carson, as part of their six week Northern Nevada residency,” says Miya MacKenzie, Chief Professional Officer of Adams Hub. “Fortunately we have a terrific group of very generous entrepreneurs here who are eager to share their experiences.”

Adams Hub hosted a panel discussion by founders of several business incubator startups, including Easykeeper, a livestock herd management software; LuDela, a candle company/social venture whose genesis was in Africa; Mapwater, a software company providing water-use intelligence through the Google Earth Engine; Dunce Labs, a college-prep consultancy; and Cycladex, whose scientists have developed an eco-friendly way to refine gold ore.

“The opportunities being pursued by the Northern Nevada startups in our incubator were remarkably relevant to the business opportunities the YALI members are pursuing back home. Many of them are involved in tourism, mining and agriculture. To have incubator businesses that are also operating in these same sectors was serendipitous. And it also speaks to the diversity of economic opportunity both here and in Africa,” says MacKenzie.

After brief presentations by the Adams Hub startups, there was a Q & A session with audience members and the entrepreneurs. Then YALI delegates toured the Capitol and revitalized downtown Carson with Carson City Tourism’s Joel Dunn. The Carson expedition finished with a lively social at the new Union Taphouse and Eatery, where YALI delegates continued a spirited, informal Q & A with the Adams Hub entrepreneurs over pizza and soft drinks.

Following the academic component of the Fellowship, the Fellows will visit Washington, D.C., for a Summit featuring networking and panel discussions with U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

One hundred selected Fellows then remain in the United States to participate in a six-week Professional Development Experience with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and governmental agencies that relate to their professional interests and goals.

Upon returning to their home countries, Fellows continue to build the skills they have developed during their time in the United States through support from U.S. embassies, four Regional Leadership Centers, the YALI Network, and customized programming from USAID, the Department of State, and affiliated partners. Through these experiences, select Mandela Washington Fellows have access to ongoing professional development opportunities, mentoring, networking and training, and support for their ideas, businesses, and organizations. Fellows may also apply for their American partners to travel to Africa to continue project-based collaboration through the new Reciprocal Exchange component.

Mentor Moment: Clint Koble, SBDC Business Counselor

Clint Koble loves rural America and its small communities. As Northern Nevada’s SBDC Rural Business Counselor, he spends nearly all his time there. From Elko to Battle Mountain to Lovelock and south to Carson, Minden, Gardnerville and Yerington, you’ll find Clint on the move, meeting with small businesses and entrepreneurs. SBDC provides free and confidential business counseling to new and existing small businesses.

“I enjoy helping someone chase their dreams,” he says. “I like to be positive and reinforcing, and at the same time, it’s my job to be brutally honest. I have to tell them that their plan may not work. And I have to help them develop contingency plans in case that happens.”
Clint is adamant about the importance of rural America to the fabric of our economy.
“Two percent of our population grows food for the other 98%,” he points out. “Our fresh water, food, fiber, minerals, energy sources, and major transportation links are all located in these rural areas. Yet only 16% of the country’s population lives there, the lowest amount in history.” As anyone who has traveled through these small towns has observed, the loss of population has led to a decline in local businesses. Those that survive are challenged by the tremendous pace of technology-driven change.
Clint was born and raised in north central North Dakota, the second oldest of seven siblings. He lived on a 2,000-acre family farm with row crops and hay, as well as beef and dairy herds.
“I developed the value system that I have today from my upbringing. I learned the importance of the family unit, of working together, and having a strong work ethic.”
After college, he found his way into the fitness club industry and then into the resort and hospitality sector. But his heart remained in small town America, and he eventually returned. He worked for the Nevada Rural Development Council, a non-profit focused on economic development, and then was appointed to head up Nevada’s office of the Nevada Farm Services Agency of the USDA. There he helped implement and enforce farm bills and programs, and worked closely with farmers, ranchers and Tribes.
“Rural America is under a lot of stress,” Clint explains. “We have to keep reinvesting in these communities. There’s so much change right now.”
He cites Winnemucca as an interesting example of a small, rural community that is rising to the challenge.
“It’s a town that wants to protect its future, and it’s a community willing to invest. Winnemucca is normally dependent on mining, but they just built a brand-new Boys and Girls club, did a $50 million-dollar expansion to their hospital, and recently added a large new hotel and casino. They’ve also embraced the arts, education and the environment. It’s a well-balanced community, with a large number of dedicated, community-driven, well-trained, and well-educated people. Even though their population is less than 8,000, they’re thinking about, worrying about, and planning for their future.”
Clint believes that community pride and entrepreneurship is key to the future of small towns.
“These are communities that deal in trust, in face-to-face interactions. A handshake and a smiling face still mean a lot,” he observes. “There’s still opportunity for locally-owned and operated businesses.”
With the improving economy, Clint has seen more lending to small businesses, but financing can be a challenge in rural Nevada.
“Businesses that are related to agriculture and mining can stillfind access to capital. So do service businesses that support those industries, such as companies who provide heavy equipment and tools, or skilled labor such as welders and mechanics. We’re also seeing increasing investments in indoor ag and hydroponics.”
Clint is encouraged by meeting a lot of young Nevadans with “entrepreneurship in their DNA.”
“They see the world as they want it, not as it’s been seen, and they have big imaginations. They can be experts in a moment’s notice–they can get so much information online. They have access to templates for business plans and cash flow statements. The people I meet with now are more well-read and their plans are better researched today, compared to 5-10 years ago.”
He cited a recent meeting with an aspiring bakery owner who had extensive experience in the industry, and presented him with strong business plan.
After their first meeting, Clint assigned her to do more detailed research on her competition, produce a monthly profit and loss statement, and plan more for operating capital. He’s optimistic about her chances because of her experience and knowledge, as well as her commitment.
“She’s willing to do whatever it takes, including waiting until she’s better prepared,” he notes. “Many aspiring business owners don’t seek help with their plan until they’ve made critical decisions, like signing a lease or cashing out their retirement account. That is usually the kiss of death.”
“I like to be positive, and if they are doing what they need to do, I’ll be their biggest cheerleader,” he says. “But I’m also willing to be brutally honest to save them from themselves.”

Free and confidential counseling from the NV SBDC is available with Clint on alternating Tuesdays at Adams Hub, 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM. He can help business owners improve the performance of existing businesses as well as guide an aspiring entrepreneur through the creation of a full business plan.

Interested in SBDC counseling? Contact the Nevada Small Business Development Center at www.nsbdc.org, and on the home page, click on “request counseling,” answer a few questions about the business, and you’ll be contacted within 24-48 hours to set up your session.

June Mentor of the Month: Karol Hines

Karol Hines has spent five years as a volunteer supporting the development and growth of the entrepreneurial community in Northern Nevada. Today, she serves as the Executive Director of Entrepreneurs Assembly. (EA) In addition to serving as a volunteer with EA, she was a board member of both NCET and Entrepreneurship Nevada, curated the Reno/Tahoe Digest, and participated as a preliminary judge in several Sontag Plan competitions and as a final judge for the Governors Cup Business Plan competition. Karol’s professional career, spanning over thirty years in New York and Silicon Valley, included technical leadership and executive management positions in several startup companies. We are proud to call Karol our June Mentor of the Month!

How did you get involved with Entrepreneurs Assembly?

Coming out of retirement after moving to Reno from the Bay Area, I decided that I wanted to work with small companies and startups to help them get started, grow, prosper and lift the economy. Through a lot of –something I love to do–I ended up on the Board of Directors of Entrepreneurship Nevada and NCET (Nevada Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology). Somewhere along the way, I had the opportunity to take a shortened version of Matt Westfield and Rod Hosilyck’s seminar on starting a business. This is the now the Jumpstart class they teach at UNR. It was during that time that I found out about the Entrepreneurs Assembly Startup Incubator (EASI) workshops. From the first time I attended an EASI workshop on a Saturday morning in February 2013 as a mentor, I knew I had found a place where I could use my extensive experience with startup companies in the tech world of Silicon Valley to help aspiring entrepreneurs and participate in a meaningful way to help boost the economy of Northern Nevada.
 
What unique perspectives does a female mentor bring to the table?
        
For my entire life, I have been surrounded by males. I was a “tomboy” growing up with four brothers.  When I was very young, my dolls, dress-up clothes and other girlie play things sat on the shelf while I negotiated with my brothers to play with their trucks, bikes and such. It wasn’t until well into my career as VP of Development for a rapidly growing software company in Silicon Valley that I realized my career was in jeopardy because of bias and perhaps jealousy from newly hired senior executives, all male. I tried to play the game without realizing that they were not threatened by my superior ability to execute, but just did not want a woman in the board room. I learned that women need to work together, play the game a bit differently, teach each other the rules and choose the right mentors that will help them embrace their unique qualities, skills and perspective.

How would you describe your style?

My mentoring style is much like the management style I used with my employees and the style I used as a management consultant with my clients. I am a coach. Rather than telling people the “answers” when they often don’t even know what questions to ask, I will often ask questions to help lead them to reveal what they didn’t realize they knew and or realize what they don’t know. That sounds a bit circuitous, I know.  But sometimes that is just the point. It’s like a mining expedition to help people find that vein of precious metal, that spark, that passion in them that will allow them to believe in themselves and be willing to take on the risks necessary to start and build a business.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself!

Whenever I need to get in touch with who I really am, I go fly a glider or tell stories about my career as a nationally ranked competition glider pilot. I had always wanted to learn to fly–be a pilot. But the twists and turns of life, including my career, kept veering me off that course. When the opportunity came to take an introductory flight at Sky Sailing in Fremont, CA, it coincided with having fewer personal obligations and time commitments. Within a year, I had soloed, gotten my license and bought my first glider. It wasn’t long before I reached out to find accomplished glider pilots (all male, of course) to mentor me to start flying longer distances away from the home airport–we call it cross-country flying. Flying in small local events led to first managing and then flying in Regional and National competitions. My “mentors” remained my friends, but they became my competitors, so were not so much mentors any longer, even though most of them were always above me on the scoresheet. This was another lesson of how lonely it can be for an accomplished woman in any business, sport or other endeavor that’s dominated by males.

I found my passion on that first flight in Fremont and it really did change my life. The ability to pursue that passion with just my own drive and skills to rely on was very freeing. The confidence I gained from pushing myself to complete a flying “task”, getting myself into and out of trouble, trusting myself to make decisions quickly, not deriding myself if the decision turned out to not be the best and using the information gained to make the next decision, carried over to all other aspects of my life.

When I work with entrepreneurs, particularly women, I try to discover both their deep-seated passions and their insecurities. It’s more difficult, at least for me, to get men to reveal their insecurities. I find women often are more forthcoming about their insecurities with other women. If they can get to that point and find the magic that turns those insecurities into strengths, that’s when I get…well, I have to be clear with myself that I am helping them soar and hold back from soaring myself!