Listed in Forbes as one of five women changing the world of VC/Entrepreneurship, Kelly Hoey is the CMO of Cuurio, a New York City based startup. In 2011, Kelly co-founded Women Innovate Mobile, the first start up accelerator focused exclusively on launching and accelerating the growth of women-founded companies in mobile technology. An angel investor, she sits on the advisory boards of several early-stage companies as well as mentoring startups participating in accelerator programs in New York City, Tampa Bay, Omaha and Cairo. She was the first president of global women’s networking group 85 Broads. Kelly was recently recognized as 1 of 100 Most Influential Tech Women on Twitter by Business Insider. Before venturing into start-ups and angel investing, Kelly was a corporate attorney.
My Definition Of Success | Success is the ability to do what you love to do on a daily basis. I used to think of success in terms of a title, a corner office and get-away home. Now, I think about of success in terms of choice, freedom and opportunity to choose.
I Am Driven By | Seeing others succeed and achieve their goals.
My Highlights | I’ll let you know when it happens! At 49, I still consider myself to be a work in progress.
A Key Talent | Building networks of professional relationships has been critical to my career success and the best guidance I can provide is build a broad, diverse network of career contacts before you need them. Here’s why: building professional contacts takes time and a diverse network generates a variety of career opportunities. Back in 2002 I decided to embark a career change, from being an attorney to a professional development role on the management side of a law firm. To transition into this new role I had to build an entirely new network of professional contacts – and that process took 18 months! My network was filled with lawyers and bankers, but not with the contacts I needed to land the new job. To build the new network I scheduled informational interviews, joined a committee and planned events, attended conferences, took classes in the area I wanted to go into….building this network of contacts was a full-time job! Since 2002 I have always maintained a contact list which is diverse (various industries, across org chart levels, global etc.) and this diverse network has continued to produce new opportunities for me.
Lessons I Have Learnt | It is never too late to start over or to pursue a new career or opportunity. The three career tips I dish out regularly are: (1) build your expertise (2) build your network and (3) build your bank account. Expertise is much more powerful when there are connections (the network). Connections help you navigate up / around and over the corporate ladder. Connections are why some startups get funded with relative ease and others struggle. Connections produce opportunities if you have the expertise or substance to back it up. And the bank account? The bank account enables you to say to opportunities, to pursue your career interests, not simply chase a paycheck. The bank account or career cushion is the investment you make in your career so you don’t ever have to say “I’d take the job but it doesn’t pay enough”.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | To write a book. To appear in the media regularly. To make Cuurio (startup where I’m CMO) a success. To help diverse founding teams reach success in the emerging technology world.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | I worked with a lawyer who believed in training his assassins, as in he trained the junior attorneys on his team to be better than he was at the job. His philosophy created fierce personal loyalty and commitment to producing the best work for him – which in turn created great work opportunities, career access and elevated professional experiences for me (and other junior attorneys). As someone who aspired to a corner office this was great leadership advice to receive and observe in action.
Advice On Building Wealth | Follow your passion. Work hard. Be kind to people.
I Am Inspired By | The female founders I’ve invested in, inspire me. The women coders I mentor, inspire me. My role models include a woman who graduated from law school in the 1960’s and was then one of the first female law firm partners of a big NYC based firm, to various angel and VC investors (men and women) who I am fortunate enough to know. I am drawn to people who are driven, self-aware and who understand the need to lift others up.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | A number of years ago I had the good fortune of hearing Glenda Bailey (editor of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine) speak. Glenda talked about attending London Fashion Week right after she had taken the job with Harper’s. As it was the first London Fashion Week she attended as the editor in chief of a U.S. publication vs a European publication, it was a new experience as she was seated across from her “usual” seat for the shows. As I recall the story, Glenda sat down in her new seat and waved to a familiar face and the entire front row across from her waved back – it was at that moment Glenda realized she had mentored so many people who went on to become editors in chief of major publications. I would like to have a similar legacy of having mentored people to professional success.