I believe in egoless leadership, where strategic thinkers (and doers) collaborate to transform the world around them.
After college, I went to England to study philosophy and international politics. To everyone’s surprise, I returned to my hometown of Kansas City to run a small, innovative nonprofit that focused on youth development and gang prevention. We established a large coalition to blend the efforts of front-line activists, nonprofits, schools, the police, and other stakeholders to improve the overall youth services system. We led with “3 Little Rules”: (1) Leave your ego at the door; (2) No hidden agendas; and (3) If you’re at the table, you have a voice—use it. These rules were at the heart of our daily practice and policies, and they worked: our programs strengthened the bonds between service providers within the community, which led to measurably improved outcomes for our youth. We reshaped the path of opportunity for many youth using these simple rules.
This egoless approach is at the center of my work, whether at Ulu Ventures, the Screen Actors Guild, the Federal Reserve, or the consulting work I do with companies and organizations across the globe. I believe in our collective ability to expand the circle of opportunity and success for all human beings. We can do this through innovation, business practices, storytelling, and a host of other means, but our approach should always place the work (not our personal ego) at the center of our focus. What matters most to me is improving systems that help businesses grow and, ultimately, help the communities around them to thrive.
Ulu Ventures fosters a unique environment where disciplined analysis, deeply held values, innovative thinking, and collaborative energy combine to support entrepreneurs who are willing to risk it all to bring their vision to life. It is just this sort of virtuous combination that leads to transformational outcomes in business ventures and in the lives of human beings. My own life experience and professional philosophy reflect this rare blend of business attributes, which is why I am so committed to Ulu Ventures and the founders we champion. I believe we can help entrepreneurs achieve disruptive, scalable change to their business sector(s) by partnering with them in the early stages of their vision, and by serving as a collaborative support system as they build their business into reality.
My own entrepreneurial path includes service in various companies as a co-founder, CEO, board member, and policy maker. These experiences have only reinforced my desire to support others along their journey; I recognize that seed-stage investing is one of the most effective ways to address the biggest challenges facing businesses today, as well as those of the communities in which they operate.