What do you do and why?
I’m the Founder and CEO of MyUmbrella, which is a mobile app that acts as a safe platform aimed at marginalized members of the LGBTQ+ community to connect and share stories about navigating the journey of living openly and authentically in their relationships, families and friendships on a larger scale than any other social networking platform currently available.
I started the company due to the combination of fear I felt post-election and the frustration of seeing LGBTQ spaces dominated by white men. The community is wonderfully diverse and deserves to be represented and connected outside of the bar/club scene.
What did you do before you started your company?
I obtained land approvals for residential and commercial development projects. I went to undergrad for architecture and went on to receive a master’s degree in real estate development.
What’s the single most important piece of advice you received when first starting your company? What would you tell a young entrepreneur in turn?
Don’t punk out. When it gets hard, don’t punk out.
I still consider myself a young entrepreneur, but if I had to give advice it would be to imagine what you could accomplish if you removed all barriers and what that would feel like. Then tell yourself the story of how you got to that point. Then work your way backwards until you can get to actionable items that you can start to tackle.
What aspect of business ownership came as the biggest surprise to you?
The amount of emotional management it requires. It’s like being on a roller coaster day to day and at times hour to hour. It’s important to be as even keeled as possible and save your energy for the big fires.
What do you find most rewarding about owning your own business?
The most rewarding thing is stopping to see how far you’ve come from when it was just a simple thought to seeing your ideas come to life right before your eyes.
Where do you see yourself and your company in five years?
In 5 years I hope to have built a truly supportive community across the world. I would love to have a robust series of workshops, retreats and events. A big dream of mine would be to have a mentor program similar to the Big Brother/Sister programs.
What resources would you recommend to someone who is contemplating starting her own business?
Listening to “How I Built This” from NPR is a good zen moment for me. Hearing how large companies started from humble beginnings is inspiring and gives me hope. Also, read read read books on business strategy from subject matter experts.
What would you say is the single most important key to sustaining a business long term?
What obstacles did you face in establishing your company and how did you overcome them?
Belief in myself was the biggest hurdle. Finding my north star, my why, was the push forward I needed.
Is there anything we didn’t ask you about that you’d like to share with our readers?
I want people to know that my goal is to bring a sense of community and comfort to those that need it most. I wish I had this growing up. It’s the struggles and trauma I experienced related to my orientation that gets me out of bed in the morning. So long as those memories persist, I will never stop fighting.