? We're about to give away our secret sauce...

September 15, 2021

Experimentation isn’t the secret sauce  

If you missed Tracy’s email last week, you might be surprised to have a new address in your inbox. So, before we talk about the secret sauce, a quick introduction. Hi, I am Jen Rajchel, and we may have met before in my previous role as the Venture Café Philadelphia Program Manager & Experience Designer, in which I had the privilege of getting to know and work with many of you in the community.

I am excited to have the opportunity to continue supporting the Venture Caf√© team, the Science Center,¬†and all¬†of you¬†in my new¬†role.¬†This also means that you‚Äôll be hearing from me¬†more often, and I am grateful to have¬†the chance to build on Tracy’s inspiring weekly insights.

On to the secret sauce!

I thought¬†this week‚Äôs¬†topic would be¬†‚Äėexperimentation,‚Äô¬†the fuel of our Thursday Gatherings.¬†Each week, our team tests unique experiences like autonomous racetracks with unusual theme combinations such as fintech and art therapy¬†(more on that soon).

But¬†a¬†recent¬†Caf√©¬†conversation with¬†Neferteri Strickland, curator of¬†our¬†Edupreneur¬†Roundtable, made me rethink.¬† Experimentation isn‚Äôt the secret ingredient–¬†at least not in isolation. Neferteri¬†highlighted, ‚ÄúI love this community, because I know that everyone wants me to win.‚ÄĚ I was struck¬†by this insight¬†not least¬†because¬†it¬†describes Neferteri‚Äôs own¬†approach.

The willingness to connect, celebrate, and support each other that you all bring every Thursday is the secret sauce of Venture Café.

From¬†Aron Starosta¬†kicking off the¬†weekly¬†Startup Roundtable¬†by¬†encouraging¬†attendees to share their stories on how they decided to take the risk of becoming an entrepreneur (and¬†what¬†they learned) to¬†Garry Johnson¬†III¬†sharing his expertise and connections to VCs in¬†his¬†‚ÄúFunding 101‚Ä̬†session for¬†OnRamp,¬†this past (and every)¬†Thursday we come¬†together¬†to help¬†each other¬†win.*

In her session, ‚ÄúThe Entrepreneur‚Äôs Mindset,‚Ä̬†Anna Greenwald¬†talked about the swamp of uncertainty and isolation that accompanies entrepreneurship‚ÄĒand I would add also applies to our current day-to-day. I look forward to Thursdays not just for the bold ideas, but also for¬†the connection to the¬†leaders behind them.

What I deeply value about the leadership of our Venture Caf√© community is not just¬†an openness¬†to experiment and fail forward in the face of uncertainty‚ÄĒit‚Äôs a willingness to do so¬†together¬†with the aim of helping each other win.

I am grateful to be part of a team and broader community that embodies these elements of authentic leadership and look forward to what wins we can champion this Thursday.

Please feel free to reach out if you have ideas on how we can continue to support you or to say hello!

Jen Rajchel