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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!

Entrepreneurs Assembly Carson: Where do you want to go in 2017?

Local entrepreneurs can begin their year on the right foot: Entrepreneurs Assembly (EA) Carson starts the New Year on a new schedule: the second Wednesday of the month from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Entrepreneurs, , small businesses, even people working on a new business idea are welcome. There is no charge to participate, and meetings are held at The Studio at Adams Hub, 177 W. Proctor, in Carson City.

EA is a Nevada non-profit whose mission is growing opportunity and prosperity throughout the state through entrepreneurship and . There are now thriving chapters in Reno, South Lake and Incline. EA also launches chapters in 2017 at UNLV and Henderson, Nevada.

City officials and local business experts meet with a group of visiting Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative fellows at the Adams Hub for Innovation in Carson City, Nev. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016.  Photo by Cathleen Allison

Entrepreneurs Assembly Meeting at The Studio at Adams Hub. Photo by Cathleen Allison

During each meeting, round tables facilitated by experienced volunteer business who act as a “virtual business incubator” in which participants work on their business, not in their business. Confidentiality is key, as members discuss their business . Mentors and peers alike join in the lively interactions, and the formulates a plan of action for the next 30 days. (EA is not a or leads group, though networking happens and business leads often occur.)

“The beauty of this format is that it creates accountability for entrepreneurs, who are generally accustomed to going it alone,” says Matt Westfield, the founder of EA. “This helps keep them on track, moving forward, and making progress. Just as important, our members are able to discuss challenges and concerns that they may not even share with their family members. Our motto is founders helping founders.

Since its inception in 2011, EA has provided support to over 1,000 Nevada entrepreneurs.

To participate, RSVP to grow@adamshub.com or call 775.222.0001.  You’re also welcome to simply show up on the evening of the meeting.

 

 

The Wisdom of (Small) Crowds

Scratch the surface of most (go on, I dare you) and you’ll find…a scratch-resistant surface. Most entrepreneurs have hard shells. As the pop culture stereotype goes, you gotta be tough to be an . Not just tough, but a lone genius or a rugged individualist. Most of us are accustomed to going it alone.

Maybe you’re familiar with the Peter Principle. It holds that employees are promoted until they reach their level of incompetence. But plenty of entrepreneurs doggedly work their way up to incompetence, too. It’s something called Founder’s Syndrome. Here are the symptoms, per Wikipedia:

  • The founder makes all decisions, big and small, without a formal process or input from others.
  • Decisions are made in crisis mode, with little forward planning.
  • Staff meetings are held generally to rally the troops, get status reports, and assign tasks.
  • There is little meaningful strategic development, or shared executive agreement on objectives with limited or a complete lack of professional development.
  • There is little organizational infrastructure in place, and what is there is not used correctly.
  • There is no succession plan.

Does this sound like you? No founder can succeed without “working on the , not in the business,” as Michael Gerber’s business classic The E Myth describes it. Yet the vast majority of US business owners don’t take the time to step back and examine their strategy, ask the big questions, or seek out the opinions of our peers or outside experts.

Very few of us have a board of directors or even an informal . (There are companies who offer “virtual” advisory boards, but over the years I found many of these to be prohibitively expensive or run by people without the kind of entrepreneurial experience I sought.)

So entrepreneurs can be a little…secretive. Not surprising really: many of us start companies so we don’t have to answer to anyone else. There are plenty of chips on entrepreneurial shoulders. This can lead to some less-than-productive behaviors, such as bottling everything up and feeling as though we should have all the answers. Many founders’ families–even their spouses–have no idea what’s keeping them up at night.

So what’s a rugged individual to do?

Entrepreneurs Assembly is a business-support organization born in the Great Recession. It’s a non-profit, where members get to experience expertly facilitated round-table discussions about their biggest issues, the stuff of insomnia.

EA’s motto is “Founders Helping Founders,” and it’s clear to see that the magic of these round tables is a set of fresh ears and fresh brains who can help you think differently. Even if it’s just for a few hours once a month. EA members help each other identify blind spots and remove road blocks.

Of course, you’ll leave the meeting with “marching orders” for the next 30 days. And suddenly, you’ll rediscover the beauty of accountability. (You said you were going to terminate that toxic employee in last month’s meeting, and your peers are waiting to hear how it went. No wiggle room. You can’t pull that “I’m the boss” card to explain why you postponed the inevitable…again.)

Best of all, few of those crucial “marching orders” require that you spend any money. EA Founder Matt Westfield keeps members focused on their customers. You’re going to spend some time, certainly, but some of the most profound changes you can make involve talking to people and doing research. Engaging with your customers or your marketplace.

At every meeting I see resources shared: a or another member provides an email or phone number for a key contact that can provide help. Someone writes down a book or blog to read, or suggests an app to try. Some of the resources are so laser-focused, so ridiculously relevant for the individual involved, it’s hard to believe the serendipities. But that’s what happens when you leave your hard shell behind and get real, and really honest, with other people who are on the same path. And by the way, confidentiality is a sacred vow to EA members.

The founders of EA saw a huge gap and are busily filling it, with chapters in Reno, South Lake, Incline and now , where the meeting is held in The Studio at Adams Hub, 177 W. Proctor. And did we mention that there’s no charge to take part?

Our final meeting of 2016 is being held November from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. is your chance to “work on, not in” your business. For more information, email grow@adamshub.com, or call us at 775.222.0001. You can also visit www.ea-nv.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save the Date! Launch Party 8/3 for The Studio at Adams Hub

 

The Studio at Adams Hub is nearly complete! We’re planning our launch for Wednesday, August 3, from 5-7 p.m. The Studio is an exciting new extension of our business incubator and co-working facility. This versatile space will host seminars, workshops, social events, company retreats and fundraisers.

With a theme of “Launching Innovators,” the party will include gourmet treats from local food and beverage innovators as well as prize giveaways. (Even free coworking memberships for some lucky new members!)

Guests will have a chance to participate in an interactive “treasure hunt” to learn more about the programs that Adams Hub supports. These include the New Entrepreneur Network, in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club, and the brand new Entrepreneurs Assembly at the Capitol, which will hold its monthly EARN (Entrepreneurs Assembly Round Table) meetings at The Studio.

The first 20 guests to RSVP online will also receive a VIP Adams Hub Gift Bag when they check in.

RSVP for the Launch Party at http://thestudioatadamshublaunchparty.eventbrite.com

Or call (775) 222-0001 for more information or assistance.

 

Start-Up

From the Adams Hub’s very own Jonathan Sarmenta!

 

Start-Up: 5 Key Ways to Succeed as a Young Entrepreneur | Carson City Nevada News – Carson Now

Every year it seems more and more people are looking into starting their own ventures, escaping from the corporate mindset and driving themselves to do more, be more—and let’s not forget—earn more. These pioneers come from all walks of life, but the category that seems to be on the rise, and the one that I fall under, is that of the millennial entrepreneur.

The fierce competition to get into large corporate firms and industry giants is pushing young men and women to get creative and think outside the box to make a living. And they’re making a killing of it. “This group is poised to be the highest density of entrepreneurs in history,” according to Jeff Glass, director of the New Entrepreneurs Network, a youth-based program that teaches high school students in Carson how to think like an entrepreneur.

Curated from Start-Up: 5 Key Ways to Succeed as a Young Entrepreneur | Carson City Nevada News – Carson Now

 

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