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Putting People First: Becoming Emergence’s First COO

Over the past two decades, I’ve built a career around a love of empowering others and helping companies reach their full potential. I’ve worked as a consultant, an executive, and an investor. But when I look back at the common threads in my career, it’s always been about finding and developing teams that inspire me.

As I begin this next chapter, I reflect on what I originally set out to do when I came back to Bain four years ago and what I accomplished in my role as Head of People and Talent for the Bay Area. Bain is where I first launched my career coming out of college 24 years ago, working as an associate consultant. I eventually left to work in private equity and served as CEO at Luxury Link and CFO at Tea Collection—roles that taught me how to grow and scale businesses sustainably.

When I returned to Bain as a senior executive, I was tasked with helping the organization get a handle on their healthy growth as the office scaled to 600+ people. I had the chance to roll up my sleeves and work side by side with the team to evolve processes and become more efficient, in a thoughtful way that put people first. I loved serving in that role and I’m incredibly proud of the work we accomplished together. In particular, I am humbled by how the community came together to navigate the COVID-19 crisis and the work we did pioneering the company’s efforts on racial justice, crafting initiatives that Bain adopted globally. A huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to my family at Bain. It’s the same focus on scalability, sustainable growth, and people-centric systems that I hope to bring to the Emergence community as their first-ever COO.

I wasn’t looking for a job when Emergence came knocking. A mutual friend put me in touch with Gordon and let me know he was looking for an executive to help run operations. I thought I could help point him in the right direction for this hire, but from our very first conversation, it felt karmic. The role was the perfect confluence of my prior operating experience, love for smaller teams, and passion for empowering entrepreneurs. When Gordon shared more about the values of Emergence—specifically, the first value of “we all” and serving something greater than self—I knew I could be the missing piece to the puzzle. Meeting the wider partnership and rest of the team only confirmed that. I was so inspired by each and every one of them and although it was a difficult decision to leave Bain, I knew I had found my next home.

Before meeting the partners at Emergence, I didn’t know there were people in venture capital that shared my values. The more I dug in, the more I realized they also shared my belief in winning big, but doing it in the right way. I was stunned by their vision of creating a lasting, thriving platform and doing right by their portfolio, team, and LP’s, even when it’s not always the easy choice. When I did my backchannel reference checks on them, I just kept hearing consistently “great investors, even better people.” It hasn’t been long, but I know this now to be true.

One thing I’ve learned throughout the course of my career is that you can do the right thing for the business and still care for people. As COO at Emergence, I will be focused on helping Emergence continue our stellar track record and advancing its potential. Back when I worked as an investor, I remember explaining to my then three-year-old, “Mommy helps companies grow up like I help you grow up.” It is my goal to help Emergence attain that healthy growth and position us for the next stage of maturity. We have an incredible portfolio of ambitious founders, but how do we accelerate and support them even more with a strong platform? How can we empower Emergence Partners to have even more time and to make better decisions quicker? I look forward to building Emergence for the next generation and continuing our momentum without losing the magic.

Connect with me on LinkedIn to learn more about Emergence, our upcoming events, and ways to get involved in our community.

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