From YC Interview, TechStars Acceptance, pitching to VCs, to Jumping off Waterfalls in CostaRica
As I was doing an interview for Hacware one of the questions was "What am I most proud of in terms of my business?" This was a very hard question to answer because it has been a year of incredible highs and incredible lows. So I decided to pick 10 moments from this year in honor of our new logo and brand that is based around the number 10 to let you take a ride into my 2019.
#10 - Getting Interviewed and Rejected by Y-Combinator (YC)
Getting interviewed by YC was an exciting moment. The interview went by so quick and it was very tough. I got rejected and could not believe it. As I reflect on that experience, I am glad I got rejected because it lit a fire in me to learn from my mistakes and prove them wrong! I also learned that I need to better articulate my vision for the company under pressure and even in hostile environments.
#9 - The Hacware (Mystery) Launch Party
We started off the year building the Hacware Insider Awareness product. We launched the product in Dallas and at the Startup Grind Conference in San Francisco. The Startup Grind Global Conference was amazing. I exhibited to over 8,000 attendees. I had the amazing help of EY cyberteam there to support me. Then had a launch party in Dallas that brought out the Dallas startup community.
#8 - Spoke to Female Founders at Dallas Startup Week
I was selected to speak at Dallas Startup Week. It was amazing to be sitting on the panel with other leaders in emerging technology like the VP of Data Science at AT&T and other Startup CEOs.
#7 - Became the InnoConf 2019 StartUp of the Year Top 5 finalist!
This recognition was a total surprise but it was early validation that I was onto something great.
#6 - Pitched to Sequoia and USV about investing in Hacware.
It was a great experience to pitch Hacware to some of the top VCs in the US. This moment would have been better if I could report that they have invested in Hacware but I am optimistic about 2020. This journey has led me to meet people amazing people that have been very helpful to Hacware's growth.
#5 - TechCrunch selected Hacware as a Top Pick for Data Privacy and Security
I have always looked at TechCrunch as a great resource for the technology and startup community. I have always wanted to get Hacware noticed by TechCrunch. It was an amazing accomplishment to get a video interviewed by TechCrunch and selected as their 2019 Top Pick for Data Privacy and Security.
#4 - Spoke at Black Girls Ventures and Google Cloud Event about Entrepreneurship
I am grateful for the people that I have met this year and the opportunities to inspire people to follow their dreams. It has been my informal mission to get more people like me to take more risks and step into the scary unknowns to live a purpose-driven life.
#3 - Lived in New York for 4 months
I never thought I would like New York. No offense! I had preconceived ideas of New York that were so far from the truth. After living in New York for 4 months, I have fallen in love with the city and the people. One of my top moments of living in NYC was going to the US Open to see Serena Williams play tennis. I am a huge fan of Serena. I am still trying to get an investment meeting with her. So Serena, if you are reading this, let's connect!
#2 - Getting Accepted into TechStars NYC and experiencing it with my Family!
This is my second favorite moment because it has to do with fear. When Hacware was accepted into TechStars I was excited for my company but fearful of how it would impact my family. This moment has shown my family and me that a family that dreams (and most importantly prays) together stays together. My family is my driving force and this year we have all sacrificed to make Hacware a success. We understand that our discomfort is short term and we have learned how to love each other deeper while on this startup journey. I want to send a special Thank you to my husband, extended family, and friends that helped take care of the kids while I was away.
#1 - Jumped off a 30ft cliff in the Costa Rican Jungle
This was my top moment of 2019! It scared me the most. On the outside, I looked like I had it all together. On the inside, I was terrified!
Before I jumped I told myself, "don't think... just jump!"
Once I finished the jump, I felt like I can do anything. I was so proud of myself for not letting fear stop me from experiencing that moment. I am going to take the lessons learned from my jump to attack my scary goals for 2020!
These top 10 moments have shaped me into a fearless and focused CEO, Wife, and Mom. These moments were all bigger and better than my dreams for myself. I am looking forward to the next moments next year. I know they will be bigger and better than any setback I have had this year. I hope my 10 moments inspire you to learn from your rejections, embrace your wins, meet new people, celebrate more with your team and family, and Just Jump at new opportunities.
Happy New Year!
Cheers to the future! Cheers to 2020!