President, NextCorps, Inc.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
There have been so many lessons learned, it’s difficult to pick just one. Certainly near the top of the list is to always do the right thing. Sounds simple! People usually know what the right thing is, but actually doing it can be hard. Put egos and agendas aside, and just do the right things! Another “lesson learned” is “Give First.” TechStars has this as a mantra, and it essentially means to help others without any expectation of getting something in return. This is how strong communities are built, and trust me, you will certainly gain a lot from that community in the long run.
What’s been your biggest success?
I’m proud to have been on the team that got NextCorps’ startup hub facility in downtown Rochester built. It was a four-year journey to raise enough capital and get community buy-in to make it happen, but it was well worth it. We now have a central home base for entrepreneurial support and community development, just like other top startup cities. And demand has exceeded expectations. Our goal was to serve 100 entrepreneurs in the first five years of opening. This February we celebrate our 3-year anniversary, and we’ve already supported 107 startups! We look forward to supporting many more!
What are your hopes for the Rochester community this year?
My hope for Rochester in 2021 is that we emerge from the pandemic as a stronger and more resilient community. I hope our economic growth accelerates, that downtown Rochester continues to evolve into a premier live/work/play community, and that people can work together to elevate all of our citizens. We’ve got work to do, but the assets, resources, and willingness are here. I think Rochester is poised for some rapid growth, and I’m looking forward to it.
What do you do to unplug in your free time?
On a day-to-day basis, with four kids in multiple activities, most of my “free time” gets sucked up pretty quickly. Many people (myself included) have trouble unplugging from work, especially with phones and laptops always nearby. But disconnecting is important to clear the mind, and we should all try to make it a priority. One of my favorite places to unplug has been at beach vacations with extended family. Being at the ocean with no agenda is a great way to recharge, and we look forward to getting back there after the pandemic subsides!