Hub & Spoke

The Importance of Company Culture – Megan Falvey ’14

A Quick Overview

During her time at Davidson, Megan picked the English major because it was what she loved: reading, and disseminating information into an argument, and she credits her English and liberal arts experience to a lot of her success today. Megan actually created something of her own Hurt Hub experience while at Davidson. Working with Dr. Campbell, Megan completed an independent study by interning for the town of Davidson working on their Small Business Saturday, to encourage customers to shop along Main Street instead of in Charlotte or on down to Exit 28. Megan really created her own internship and experiential learning experience in a time when the Hurt Hub didn’t exist at Davidson.

Megan can speak to the importance of culture within companies, moving around until she found the culture that best fits her at LinkedIn. Even though culture in after-work interactions are important, Megan is particularly in tune with how that culture functions in the work environment. Joining LinkedIn after the Microsoft acquisition, working within a huge brand, LinkedIn is still very independent of Microsoft but allows for the financial stability of a large company. Within the product marketing department, Megan has found a close-knit team that makes a large company feel small.

Finally, Megan gives her advice to Davidson students and the Davidson community. Megan wishes she had had more confidence in herself and her work and patience in the process. On the culture front, if you believe in the product and enjoy the people you’re with you can do anything in that company. Be honest with yourself and what you want and follow and lean on your network, especially one as giving Davidson’s.

Hub & Spoke

The Art of Tightrope Walking – Amee Parbhoo ’06

Like many people, Amee wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted to do when coming into Davidson, but quickly found a passion and interest in international development and more broadly, international issues. Wanting to solve these big challenges, Amee felt like she didn’t have the toolkit yet, but used the Davidson connections to develop that kind of skill set. So she worked at McKinsey for a couple of years, until moving to India to work at a small for-profit company providing loans to women all over the country.

Crediting CK Prahalad for this line of thinking, Amee has to balance thinking about individuals who we would maybe think about as poor or underserved, and instead think about how we could empower them to be available for all the same opportunities that others may have. Balancing for-profit companies with their social impact, Amee in impact investing has to try to bridge the gap of solutions.

Amee calls herself a “failed entrepreneur,” but also recognizes the growth from that failure. Starting her business in graduate school, she spent her time trying to figure out what problem she wanted to solve. Talking to many people, building a product, and investigating sales cycles and marketing ventures, Amee had to decide to put the company on hold, a difficult decision for any entrepreneur.

Now, at Accion Venture Lab, Amee invests in fin-tech companies that are focused on consumers and small-business that don’t have access to all the services that many others do. Amee works with a worldwide team, listening to pitches and making recommendations.

Finally, Amee challenges young entrepreneurs to think of problems that might pertain to communities beyond their own. These kinds of solutions may crack something bigger in a population that’s not necessarily thought about as often and might just become the next big thing.

Hub & Spoke

Supporting Women-Led Ventures – Caroline Lewis ’06

After graduating from Davidson Caroline thought she was going to be a lawyer or a doctor because that’s what everyone else was doing. She ended up hating it and actually applied to teach English in South Korea. After teaching for a year, Caroline traveled around South Asia for a couple of years, until feeling like she was more a tourist in the cities she was in, and wanted more of a community and solid base.

After coming back stateside, Caroline ended up in West Virginia, met her husband, and started working as a receptionist which transitioned into helping found a company. This was Caroline’s first foray into start-ups and starting companies. After enjoying that, Caroline looked into business school to learn more and moved out to Oregon where her husband did his residency and she completed her MBA at Portland State University. During that time, Caroline met the founder of Rogue and reached back out about to learn as much about investing as possible, when she was actually offered a job with Rogue.

Like many at Davidson, Caroline was a scholar-athlete and that teamwork plays into her work today. Developing a discipline and skill-set that scholar-athletes need in order to thrive at Davidson, allowed Caroline to transition easily into the working world. Not only that, but recognizing that you may fulfill a specific skill set of a larger team, makes you a real team player, instead of just focused on yourself.

After joining Rogue, Caroline started to focus on supporting women’s ventures through Rogue and she started to put together a thesis about why investing in women-led ventures again and again gave great returns. There were a lot of professional reasons to start something like this at Rogue, but Caroline’s own daughter added a personal touch to raising this kind of fund and continuing to do this kind of work.

Hub & Spoke

Poetry & Flowers – Cameron Hardesty ’07, CEO & Founder of Poppy

The Hurt Hub didn’t exist when Cameron was at Davidson and as an English major, she jumped into communications for seven years, not knowing entrepreneurship was ever an option. After seven years and realizing it wasn’t where she wanted to go, she honed in on what brought her joy: flowers!

At Davidson, Cameron was focused on poetry and saw flowers as a pathway back to the super creative time that Davidson was, while also being commercially viable. Literary analysis and deeply studying text have translated to Cameron’s work as a CEO, and not necessarily the content, but how she looks and analyzes that content, using those skills in her work. The synthesizing and storytelling required of an English thesis applies to bringing pieces of data together to make one cohesive business narrative. Cameron was also a member of the women’s soccer team during her time at Davidson, forcing her to learn time management and discipline, which has translated to getting a start-up going and maintaining that success.

As a woman founder, Cameron has seen the odds against female founders and the inequity that’s just generally present. Cameron has had a majorly positive experience, but when there were investors that overlooked Poppy or Cameron because she wasn’t what they expected, Cameron stayed assured in herself and her own mission, knowing that her business and work ethic has the tools for the people that trust her.

Cameron ends with some advice for Davidson students: get involved with the Hurt Hub to connect with start-ups! Now that so many companies are remote, there are so many opportunities to connect with small companies that will help you grow.

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