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Building Connections & Paving the Way – a Founders #eNVIUS19 Study Tour to the US

This is Part Two of two. Read Part One here.

Thanks for picking up the story where Part Two takes us to the eastern side of the US where gentle humans across New York City helped us to expand our networks. Even after a fast paced 24 hour stop over in Austin and two days in Atlanta, it was a joy to be there. Austin and the South by Southwest exuberance was quite intimidating and wasn’t helped by a cancelled flight connection out of Dallas to get me into Austin in time for a dinner I so desperately wanted to attend.

The dinner was to connect with the Springboard (SBE) group of entrepreneurs, an acceleration program I went through in 2017. SBE is a not-for-profit expert community, helping female founders gain the skills, knowledge, confidence and networks to take their business further. This missed opportunity has certainly given me a push to coordinate another global event to attend in the future.

A quick 30 second report is better than a perfect one.

Charlie Pellett, Bloomberg

Day one of our New York City leg of the tour lead us to Michael Lysak and Charlie Pellett from Bloomberg who provided us with a generous and eye opening hour of their time to take us through the impressive Bloomberg building. We were taken into Charlie’s magic cave where those 30 second reports are generated with such skill and precision, it was a great reminder that ‘done is better than perfect’. We were also invited to attend the company’s 15 minute stand up where representatives from each show stood in the original studio where Charlie Rose spent many hours filming before his notorious exit. We were impressed with the short, sharp and informative summary each representative delivered. A reminder that short and concise stand ups are a much better use of our own internal meetings on a weekly and daily basis.

Collaboration is key.

Jen Curtis, NYU Entrepreneur

After picking up some quick snacks for our Subway trip downtown to NYU, we spent some time with Jen Curtis who provided us with an overview of the New York University entrepreneurial ecosystem. Cross collaboration is the key to the Entrepreneurship ecosystem at NYU with the vast collection of alumnae becoming mentors and providing 1-1 opportunities for early stage start ups to push the boundaries of their ideas.

Some famous NYU alumnae companies includes Audible, Ben and Jerrys, Brooklinen and Etsy. What an amazing list of companies to have been part responsible for ‘starting’.

Working on ‘happy cases’ always keeps me wanting to do more.

Zjantelle Cammisa Markel

Moving to New York and making a name for yourself I’ve always envisaged to be bloody hard work. Zjantelle Cammisa Markel shared her impressive story which started 20 years ago when, quite by accident, she took up an offer to spend a weekend in LA with a holiday connection who, not long after that weekend, turned into her husband.

Based in Tribeca, Zjantelle is known as a ‘super lawyer’ standing in the top 5% of her field of law. Helping Australians live and work in the US is her thing and she does it with such creativity and a ‘help first’ philosophy I know I’ll be calling on her when the time comes to work through this challenge. Note to self: take Minties.

Every successful brand stands for something more than itself, and that thing is emotional.

Martin Lindstrom

The effervescent Marie Scoutas from Social Titanium spoke to us abut the importance of building brands and business leads in New York City, a city of eight million people. There’s that connection thread again which, in Marie’s opinion, is vital to getting ahead in the city that never sleeps.

If you’re not telling it, you’re not selling it.

Marie Scoutas

As a Founder, you must continue to tell your story, your product, your reason behind doing what you do to sell it. Sharing our lessons on failure is a big tip, according to Marie, to connect with our audience. There’s many I could choose from … as I take notes for my next conference presentation …

Marie then facilitated a powerful Founders’ panel discussion including Visnja Brdar, Sarah Parkins, Lisa Skye Hain and Alexander Miles. Founding a variety of businesses from bespoke jewellery, corporate gift giving, co-working spaces and edtech, this discussion was most certainly my favourite of the entire US trip. Perhaps because I was envisioning our future in taking TCPinpoint to NYC, perhaps because the extraordinary stories were coming from such ordinary people that being so relatable, their anecdotes sat so well with us as an audience.

Be sure to run to your own rhythm.

Sarah Parkins, Founder, Norsu Haus

Our discussions covered the highs of winning our first clients, the importance of running to your own rhythm and trusting that we know what we need to do. All points that resonated to strongly with me as a Founder, hearing the same highs and struggles from successful Founders doing the right thing in such a huge market. This was also the antithesis of what we heard on the west coast covered in Part One of this blog post where to win at the expectations of the Silicon Valley ecosystem is the only way to win. The East Coast is much more of a go fast, but find your own success and not at the expense of others kind of vibe.

NYC is brutal for networking.

The Panel

However, to the panel’s advice, the networking in NYC can be brutal. There can be several events to attend every night of the week, so it’s important to tap into the right communities for partnerships to propel you and your company forward to find your own success.

Finally, when we discuss the pace of business in New York City, we are reminded that we all need to get comfortable with risk and failure. The stamina required combined with resilience is what will feed your hunger to solve a big problem because after all, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

You change the world when you change your mind.

Kinky Boots Ensemble

Whilst Parts One and Two of this blog post conjured up lots of learning, listening and a gruelling schedule across the 14 day eNVIUS19 trip, we did fit in some down time. Serendipitously one of our last ‘New York experiences’ was to see a Broadway show. Allison Nikula, fellow Founder and inspiration behind Careapp, and I attended Kinky Boots on our last Saturday night in New York City.

“If you hit the dust,
Let me raise you up.
When your bubble busts,
Let me raise you up.
If your glitter rusts,
Let me raise you up. (and up)”

Listen here

The theme behind Kinky Boots encapsulated in the final number, Raise You Up, and provided a beautiful, heartfelt summary of our time in the US. The importance of finding your tribe, expanding your network, asking connections for help, learning from those who have done it before, paving the way for those after you. The incredibly generous people listed above and in Part One of this blog post articulated the importance of that. They’re willing to help where required, it’s like they’re whispering ‘gentle human, thank you for coming, come back soon’. So, go on out there, build those connections and make a difference in the world!