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 Café team, the Science Center, and all of you in my new role. This also means that you’ll 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’s topic would be ‘experimentation,’ 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 Café conversation with Neferteri Strickland, curator of our Edupreneur Roundtable, made me rethink. Experimentation isn’t the secret ingredient– at least not in isolation. Neferteri highlighted, “I love this community, because I know that everyone wants me to win.” I was struck by this insight not least because it describes Neferteri’s 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 “Funding 101” session for OnRamp, this past (and every) Thursday we come together to help each other win.*
In her session, “The Entrepreneur’s Mindset,” Anna Greenwald talked about the swamp of uncertainty and isolation that accompanies entrepreneurship—and 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 Café community is not just an openness to experiment and fail forward in the face of uncertainty—it’s 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!