I have always sought experiences that help me understand the world and relate to people in new and deeper ways. While studying Russian and philosophy at Stanford, I started the first Soviet-American student magazine, met Gorbachev and will never forget the night we reported on the fall of the Berlin Wall.
My father likes to quote his fellow Mainers, “It’s good to be smart and it’s good to be lucky. But it’s more important to be lucky than smart.” I was very lucky to leave university with a job on Wall Street, intending to pay off my student loans and then write novels or open a book store. Instead, I found the work fascinating and stayed, working in three different Goldman Sachs offices across three different business units for the next fifteen years – raising capital, transacting M&A deals, covering European telco stocks, and managing a team.
I then moved into portfolio management for private clients, where my interests in technology and impact investment took hold, and I got the entrepreneurial bug. I left the corporate world for four years to co-found a SaaS start-up that developed client engagement software. Despite our best efforts, we didn’t reach sufficient scale. Looking back we would have benefited enormously from the kind of support our investments gain from the Frog ecosystem. Nonetheless, it was an immensely valuable experience, having the chance to be ‘at the coal face’ of the digital industrial revolution we are living through, and teaching me lessons about success and risk factors for high-growth tech companies.
Now I work as a non-executive director with a wide-range of investment companies, investing in assets from early stage ventures to large-cap global stocks, and most recently am proud to chair the first social impact investment trust listed in London. It is terrible that 25% of children in the UK live in poverty and there is much that responsibly stewarded capital and devoted entrepreneurs can do to change that and other entrenched social issues.
Life highlights outside of work include my family, hiking in the Himalayas and across the UK, four marathons, lockdown film club, swimming in rivers, writing a novel (as yet unpublished), and training to be a counsellor.
I am surrounded by anthropologists in my family – most recently, my daughter – regularly reminding me of what I witness in the business world – just how powerful corporate culture is in determining success. This is one of Frog’s great strengths and one of the reasons I am thrilled to be on the board. It’s a firm that values people, and our unique stories. The focus on supporting CEOs and their teams in making the scale-up transition provides a powerful engine for repeatable success. The European tech space is a dynamic and rich vein, and the Frog team has the networks, methodology and values to find and invest responsibly in some of the most exciting opportunities – led by truly impressive women and men.