At the core of my life's purpose is a commitment to change American culture so that our work places and social spaces are more inclusive, equitable and diverse.
ProsperCity is a vessel for this work—a job search platform that gently nudges employers to assume a posture of openness and honesty, especially when it comes to disclosing salary and pay information. Without greater transparency, we risk perpetuating pay discrimination, inequalities and disparities, which disproportionately negatively impact women and people of color.
It terms of what I actually "do" everyday at the helm of a brand new social venture, it looks a lot like relationship building, team wrangling, empathetic listening, saying no to say yes, imposter slaying, and noticing the 20% that will make an 80% impact. In certain circles, they call me the Gentle Machete.
I think of my altMBA experience as a true catalyst for shipping ProsperCity. The business model and basic framework were already in place, but the growth potential was made stagnant by so many constraints, most of which stemmed from a scarcity mindset I had developed during my career in nonprofit management.
For me, leveling up meant shining a spotlight on my core beliefs related to "enough" or "not enough" and then acknowledging their power over almost every decision I made. The altMBA helped me learn that "enough" is a choice I can start making right now.
My biggest revelation was related to the opportunity costs of not shipping ProsperCity. I had already evaluated the potential cost to myself and my family, but I hadn't really considered the thousands—maybe one day millions—of people we were intending to serve. By asking some very powerful questions, my coaches and learning group members helped me see beyond impacting a few people and consider what it would mean to powerfully change workplace culture as a whole.
The best part of shedding the scarcity mindset and opening up the frame is that ProsperCity quickly became a magnet for good people. I had the honor of becoming an altMBA coach shortly after my student experience, and several of my fellow coaches, including Dean Bardouka, Laura Tyson, Mark Dyck and Alex Waters, began rallying around this project and lending their rich expertise. Now together as a team, we are building a company that will shift our culture in a very meaningful way.
Is everything an acceptable answer? altMBA raises such important questions like "what's it for" and "who's it for," but the workshop is so much more than that too. The curriculum, pace and group learning environments press on you to peel back layer after layer, until suddenly you are asking core questions like "what am I for" and "who am I for".
In the startup world, we talk a lot about solving problems and addressing the needs of others, but I don't believe we can do either effectively without a sense of our own individual purpose. The altMBA leadership team clearly gets this and created a safe space to explore it, to take leaps, and to relish the rewards of discovering ourselves on a deeper level.
It takes courage to do just one thing, to say no to myriad distractions, and to accept the risk that what we're doing may feel hard and may not work out. This applies to starting a new company, a new project, or even a new learning experience like altMBA.
That said, I find courage is much easier to come by when you're in the company of so many generous, caring people. My advice is to lean into your peers, cohort, coaches and accountability partners. Projects will come and go, but trusting relationships have the capacity to carry you through anything. Grab hands and don't let go.
What is the magical utility of altMBA? For me, it's 100% the community.
The program dates:
January 6th – February 5th, 2020
Note: The Early Decision deadline for the January 2020 session is Tuesday, October 22nd.