J. Kelly Hoey


Twists, Turns And Inspirations Edition

Over the past week, at every twist and turn I crash into inspiration. Canadian envoy of the 1979 Iran crisis fame, Ken Taylor passed away. I had the good fortune of meeting him a year ago. We were both slightly out of place at a gathering to hear the Prime Minister of Canada speak at Goldman Sachs. The amusement of our distinct differences in the sea of Brooks Brothers suits made for a delightfully animated conversation. I treasure that memory of my conversation with Ken. Investor Adam Quinton tweeted “Spread your talent to the world — great TEDx by @anneravonna” and serendipitously, via my friend Mary in London, I find Anne in my inbox Saturday morning. And rather delightfully, I ran into Adam (or rather, he found me) when we were both speaking at TechWeek NYC this past Friday.

Last week’s newsletter inspired more than a few good men to email and call in enraged WTW support — one being a serial entrepreneur based in Kansas City, who had been a mentor for the mobile startup accelerator I co-founded and who at age 62 has launched his next startup venture. Inspiration (and innovation) has no expiry date. In a few short weeks, I head to Indiana to keynote at CEWiT’s second anniversary. Perhaps the universe knew more than I that my planned remarks needed extra inspirational oomph, and a chain reaction was set off starting with a direct message on Twitter from Gayle Tzemach Lemmon to be her guest at a breakfast hosted by the Institute of International Education to devouring her book “Ashley’s War: The Untold Story Of A Team Of Women Soldiers On The Special Ops Battlefield” on a flight to San Francisco. Watch out Indiana, I’m going to be powerful and emotional as I’m fueled by the story of the CSTs in Gayle’s book.

“If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped.” — Melinda Gates

I love this quote. Entrepreneur, Joanne Lang shared it with me when she and I caught up in Baltimore at the Women In Tech Summit. Joanne and I met in 2012 when I was managing day-to-day operations of the startup accelerator Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) I had co-founded. Joanne is the founder of About One, one place to manage all your household information securely. It was in Baltimore that I learned how WIM had inspired a great many people, including Joanne. But more than just being inspiration WIM ignited ideas and encouraged action. Take Joanne. As we stood at the registration table on that Saturday morning in Baltimore, she described at how she had been overwhelmed with requests for support and mentor requests from less established entrepreneurs until she had the idea to fix the problem with her lack of time to help others by combining all her volunteer work into one accelerator/fund, the goal being to help many women at once instead of one at a time. WIM was inspired by amazing accelerators like YCombinator, TechStars, ERA, and DreamIT and WIM inspired Joanne to devise an accelerator framework (aptly called Colliders Accelerator) which eliminated the requirement to be there in person. The idea of Colliders Accelerator, as Joanne explained it to me, is that the accelerator will bring the education and coaching to the entrepreneurs — everything is online and there is no application process. One of my favorite piece’s of Joanne’s accelerator is that when you invest in your entrepreneurial success through Colliders — you’re not only helping yourself but you are funding other women too, because Joanne is creating a structure where all the profit goes into a fund to invest directly back into the community — WHAT! — Yes another way women will be investing in women. Now that I have you as enthused as I am about Joanne’s project, here’s how you can help: if you are a women with an idea or have a friend with an idea please help Joanne and the Colliders team by taking this survey (click here). You can learn more at www.colliders.org where you can sign up to see me (Kelly) on one of the free fireside chats where I will share my tips and tricks over a virtual wine with you. Continuing the women investing in women theme, 37 Angels is hosting their last Angel Investing Bootcamp for 2015 on November 20–21. Sign up before you make investing in women your New Year’s Resolution (again). 37 Angel’s Bootcamp is an intense hands-on experience designed to give you the skills and resources you need to participate in this important asset class whether you are new to angel investing or have begun to make investments on your own.

And, Women In Tech Summit has opened their call for speakers for their upcoming summits in Washington, DC and Raleigh, NC. Till next week, I leave you with this extract from Ashley’s War:

When Ashley White-Stumpf became an angel she was at the apex of her life. She was a newlywed with an incredibly loving and supporting husband. She had just purchased her first home. She had a good job and an amazing family. And yet Ashley asked, “what can I do, how can I make a difference?” Think about that for a minute. How much better would this world be if every person, at the happiest, most fulfilled point in their life, thought not of themselves, but of the good they could do for things bigger than themselves?”

This post originally appeared in Innovator Insights, Kelly Hoey’s weekly newsletter. To get insights in your inbox, sign up here.


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