Venture Capital

5 Lessons from my PledgeLA + HBCUvc Experience

Here's what I learned from my PledgeLA experience: Shoot your shot. Have a growth mindset. Think about what makes you unique. Celebrate others. Give back. Learn more at pledgela.org.
Janet Lee
Janet Lee
August 25, 2021
5 Lessons from my PledgeLA + HBCUvc Experience
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1) Shoot your shot.

I had actually applied to the program last year but was not accepted. I had put in hours into my application which included a video but didn’t make the final cut. However, when the application opened again the next year, I shot my shot again and was successful the second time around. So keep tabs on opportunities that excite you, they usually run programs like this every year so iterate on your application and try again.

2) Have a growth mindset.

When you start interning, you will feel like there is a large knowledge gap. I was hit hard with imposter syndrome. There are so many qualitative and quantitive aspects of VC to learn. HBCUvc does a great job in onboarding you with cohort learning and mentors so you have others to lean on. However, getting comfortable takes time and focus on incremental improvements daily through reading books and blogs, having one-on-ones and listening to podcasts.

3) Think about what makes you unique.

VC’s come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Consistent advice I have gotten is that there are many paths into this industry so focus on what you can uniquely bring to the table. Not everyone is an ex-investment banker or from Ivy leagues. Even being able to see the world through the lens of a woman of color can be a value add to the conversation, especially now.

4) Celebrate others.

Publicly celebrate other people’s success and amplify their voices so we can all rise together - whether it is hyping others up in real life or on social media. Everyone is on a different path and it feels amazing to see your friends win. We currently have a cohort that shares our monthly wins, asks and other resources and it feels like a treat every time I open that email.

5) Give back.

So many mentors and speakers gave their time to speak to us throughout the program. I am super grateful for them being so candid with their thoughts and generous with their time. Remember that gratitude and give back to others when you can. Share job opportunities, make intros and open up time in your schedule to chat with those who are a few steps behind and lift them up.

Learn more at pledgela.org and hbcu.vc

Janet Lee

Janet Lee is an MBA candidate at the UCLA Anderson School of Management on a full-tuition fellowship. She is currently working for TenOneTen Ventures, Visible Hands VC and Tech Coast Angels. Before business school, she started two businesses, a tech-forward real estate brokerage and international trade & logistics company. Her MBA focus is venture capital, for which she was recently awarded the Deutschman Venture Fellowship.