I couldn’t be more excited to announce my new role as the VP of Startup Programs leading both Startup Weekend and Startup Week on behalf of Techstars.
My love of Startup Programs goes back to my first Startup Weekend in Seattle in 2010. I signed up at the last minute not knowing what to expect. Like so many attendees, I was quickly caught up in the magic of the event. Being around like-minded people who just wanted to build things was so powerful. We stayed up half the night building a niche social network (it was 2010 after all). We “won” the pitch competition, but the real rewards were the lifelong friends I made, and the passion and excitement I discovered for what was possible through startup programs.
My winning team at Startup Weekend Seattle 2010 – I’m in the middle
I was lucky enough to join Startup Weekend as the second employee leading marketing and business development. During my time there, Startup Weekend grew from 75 events to 350 a year – an amazing time of growth that also brought us into many new countries and communities that had no programs to help entrepreneurs. As an organizer and facilitator, I heard hundreds of amazing stories of people who were changing their lives and their communities for the better through the power of a weekend.
In 2012, I joined Techstars co-running the Microsoft Accelerator programs and two years later moved to lead program operations for Techstars globally. I created many of the systems currently in place to help us scale, including writing the first playbook on running a Techstars accelerator.
As Techstars accelerator programs expanded internationally I moved to Berlin and have loved spending time meeting entrepreneurial leaders in other communities, and from other cultures.
What I love most about startup programs is our potential to make a difference. We have always worked to be inclusive which means anyone can come to a startup program and find a welcoming community of people who are working towards something better through entrepreneurship. I have seen first-hand how our startup programs truly change the trajectory of people’s lives and I’m eager to find new ways to strengthen and support that.
My vision for the future of startup programs includes growing the worldwide network of community leaders, making it easier to connect to each other and all of the Techstars family, and continuing to make our programs accessible to all. This community is made up of powerful doers, makers and change agents and from the most mature startup communities to those in the earliest stages, I want to widen access, break down barriers, and connect entrepreneurs across the world.
I truly believe that Techstars Startup Programs provide the very best inspirational and educational resources founders need to support them along their Entrepreneur’s Journey and I’m excited to work closely with John Beadle (Startup Weekend), Matt Helt (Startup Week), Jessica Ford (Startup Digest), regional directors and managers to strengthen our global impact.
Techstars is committed to continuing to invest and grow startup programs around the world. I am excited to step up to lead those efforts to grow the programs that I love – and changed my life.