Kamar Mack: Reflecting on Strengthening GV’S Foundation as its Second CEO
I can distinctly remember the end of Spring 2017 when GV was nothing more than a vague idea on a sheet of paper. Anthony, Theo and Julien experienced firsthand the need for a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem at Georgetown when they were underclassmen. They dreamed up a student-run startup accelerator which could provide hands on consulting, mentorship and financial support for student founders. Getting this started would be no small task.
During that same semester, I and Jessica Andino (COL’18) were elected Student Body President and Vice-President with boosting entrepreneurship as one of the three commitments of our platform. The timing was perfect. I was tapped to serve as one of the eight original members of GV’s Board and collaborated with the faculty members who head Georgetown’s Entrepreneurship programs in order to carve out space for GV to operate.
Under Anthony and Theo’s leadership, GV had a strong first year and brought in two diverse startup cohorts. Most of all it was a fantastic learning experience for us. I personally learned about how to effectively lead a team, and best practices for running a startup accelerator–lessons that I carry with me to this day. Come the end of the Spring 2018 I was best positioned to take the reins as CEO for GV’s upcoming “sophomore year.”
During my tenure I prioritized strengthening our organizational workflows, clearly defining our role on campus, and spreading awareness about GV to as many entrepreneurial students as possible. I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to work directly with two of my dearest friends who I admire greatly: Cheryl Liu, Chief Venture Officer–a new position designed to oversee the Venture Accelerator–and Billy O’Carroll, Chief Operating Officer–Theo’s former position designed to oversee LaunchPad and the External Relations Division. All three of us had been in GV since its inception and were equipped with the necessary perspective to avoid many of last year’s mistakes (and replace them with a few of our own!). We were supported by an amazing leadership team of young, talented students, many of whom are still leading the organization today.
I want to close with a few words of appreciation. First, I wish to give a personal thank you to all of our student founders who participated in the Venture Accelerator and LaunchPad this past semester. Your energy and willingness to learn provided our members in GV with meaningful work toward understanding your customers and shifting your insights into value-generating products. Finally, I would like to thank the faculty members that supported our efforts this semester: Jeff Reid, Pat Henriques, Mike Malloy, and Ben Zimmerman who have helped guide our startup programs and enabled us to revitalize the Yellow House, as well as Professor Dale Murphy of the SFS IBD program who gave GV the opportunity to cosponsor the inaugural Citi Ventures Global Impact Pitch Competition. GV looks forward to cultivating our relationships with each of you in the future.