Never quit, never surrender, no matter the odds...
is a phrase that gives nods to Winston Churchill’s 1940 declaration, “We shall never surrender,” and a Galaxy Quest quote of “Never give up, never surrender.”
All of our lives are architected in different ways, with different challenges. I grew up in an uncertain home, with lackluster parental role models adept at abdicating their entrusted responsibilities. Their eventual separation led to our house being foreclosed on and a direct descent into further poverty and uncertainty, leaving me with a disabled mother to support at 15 years old. I learned early on that I could resign myself to allow “the obstacles” to win or figure out how to adapt and leverage them for strength and learning. I did the latter and hardwired this mentality into how I saw the world and experienced it.
I put myself through an undergraduate and graduate education, earning a BSE at Wharton, and went on to earn an MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, all while supporting my mom until she passed away in 2003. Whenever someone told me that something was impossible, it served as the trigger to pour more gasoline into my Energizer Bunny engine to prove them wrong. Throughout my career, I have worked relentlessly to master ambiguity and achieve accelerated results. There was nothing that I would not do to ensure the project, company, people, shareholders—you name it — would win, no matter the self-sacrifice.
This has been my path for 30 years as father and role model, operator, and entrepreneur. It has taught me a lot about how to foster relationships and treat people with the utmost respect and integrity. Being able to look at the challenges others face with empathy and assist when the need is greatest gives me purpose. In addition, my background has been foundational in allowing me to quickly think through issues, prioritize, create optionality, and leave no dependency unattended. Time is never on our side, and we must harness it effectively.
I am an EIR at Ulu after a long stint at two startup fintech companies and the firm was an investor in my last company. Ulu Ventures is different. Their purpose as a catalyst for diverse entrepreneurial teams is real and excites me. They are creating opportunities for those underrepresented, with fervor, integrity, and results. I am honored to have a role with Ulu working on several incubated businesses to potentially spin-out over the next six months, as well as provide assistance to any of their other portfolio entrepreneurs where applicable.