Startups, Fear + the Big Leap

Starting over is SCARY.  The unknown can be petrifying.  By no means am I a thrill seeker.  I do not go to Cedar Point and ride the roller coasters; I do not jump out of planes or eat blowfish.  I prefer to know the positives and negatives of my life journeys and weigh them accordingly.  So why did I leave my job in Higher Education after almost a decade, to be a part of a startup company?  Faith, hope and the power to make dreams come true. 

I have worked at colleges and universities for almost nine years and have done diversity work for the majority of those years.  I have LOVED the work I have done, the relationships I have created and the empowerment I have been able to provide to multiple communities.  However, at the end of the day, something still felt like it was missing.  After speaking with Joanna Bailey, supreme badass + founder, COTERIE, I was hooked.  From our first conversation I knew I met a soul sister, someone who would understand the passion I have for empowering others (and my love of tacos).  When Joanna offered me the job as the Community Director of Pittsburgh, I was ecstatic—and terrified.  My life has, for the last 26 years, run on an academic calendar.  August 1 when the football players roll in, starts my crazy fall semester, and I don’t stop until Thanksgiving break.  While the job is chaotic, it’s familiar, it’s comfortable, and I have become proficient at what I do (never use the term expert…someone is always better than you!).  The idea of leaving that comfort, the same schedule, the atmosphere which has become home for the last decade was not easy.  Even harder, was the idea of leaving the students whom I love so very much. 

So why did I?  Because COTERIE is bigger than me.  COTERIE is about connecting people, building relationships and making dreams come true.  I now get to help the stay at home mom who wants to create a side business to start saving money for college tuition for her children.  I get to help the young filmmaker, who is rocking an old camera but has a vision of collecting powerful stories of the oppressed.  I can offer assistance to the seasoned business professional who is looking for a new stream of revenue or adventure.  In Pittsburgh, I get to push the boundaries on the good ole boy’s club, and make way for some boss babes that are already taking over the city, and I get to do it with an amazing team + and founder who support, love and empower women daily.

Being a part of a startup is scary.  It can fail.  There are so many factors that can go against us; however, I’m not worried.  I know the work we are doing is life changing, the partnerships we are creating are going to shape how women in business function, and I know the philanthropy work we do, creates a whole other layer of support for women around the world.  Startups can blossom and then the petals can fall away, or it can be steady like a rose bush—slow to bloom, but when it does, that blossom is ever so fragrant and beautiful.  I’m excited to water and nurture my rose bush and to see how many other women will be rocking roses in their lapels.  And FYI—orange roses are my favorite :) 

- Victoria Snyder, COTERIE Pittsburgh Community Director