My 2015: conviction, mistakes & JOMO

2015 was one of the most rewarding and challenging years of my life.

In a nutshell, this year:

  • I joined the accelerator team at 500 Startups and learned so much about investing in early stage technology companies in Silicon Valley and abroad, and led a few of my first investments. It’s been a true privilege learning from the entire team. I’m inspired everyday by the team around me.
  • I gave 10+ talks & 20+ pitching workshops, judged/spoke on 5+ panels, helped two batches of ~65 startups & two 500 Startups Demo Days, and mentored 100+ founders all over the world.
Ghanaian and Nigerian founders with me in MEST in Accra, Ghana – miss these ladies!

Ghanaian and Nigerian founders with me in MEST in Accra, Ghana – miss these ladies!

3 Key Things I Learned: 

From my first year at 500:

1) Have conviction, and speak up more. There were moments this year when I felt terrified of speaking my mind, or worse, sticking to my gut when people disagreed with me or thought I was wrong. I learned when they were right and should stop, listen, and change, but I also learned when to trust my intuition and stand my fucking ground. This year, I finally learned not to abandon myself in those moments, to breathe through them, and it’s made all the difference.

From deciding to speak Portuguese in public after 2 months: 

2) Be bold, and make mistakes.  Throughout my linguistics education, I was always studying languages. My journey with Portuguese has been unlike my experience with Tagalog, Chinese, or German – because this year I’ve never been much bolder about speaking and making mistakes daily. Like sales, every “no” leads to a “yes” – and every mistake led to faster learning for me. I still have such a long way to go, but I am feeling closer to fluency much faster than ever before. 

From all the travel: 

3) Embrace JOMO. Make quiet time for myself, no matter what. Health, sleep, water, activity, and filling my own cup comes first. #outgoingintrovert

What’s On My Mind for 2016:

  • I miss building things. Stay tuned for some side hustles.
  • MOAR travel and investing in emerging markets with 500 Startups!
  • #empathywarrior, social impact, and diversity – stay tuned for launch of my new website and more.

Inspiration board that I made on the last day of 2015 to prepare for the coming year, with help from my mentor, Arina Isaacson.

Today, I feel so full of gratitude for all the new relationships, opportunities, and personal growth this year, and I’m so excited for the year ahead.

Now, onward.