Written by: Linda Holroyd
Family rumor has it that my mom married my dad as a ticket to America for both herself and her brothers and their families. Whether or not it is true, we find ourselves decades later, all acculturated and productive and full-fledged Americans.
My parents debated about whether my dad should come first to America, to earn money to send for my mom and the four kids. My mom won out and the family, including mom, dad, and four kids, with ages ranging from 2-7, left from Hong Kong to San Francisco with $20 in their pockets, a place to stay, but no place of employment. My mom asked my sister to watch the kids so that they could both work. My sister said, ‘no, I’m 7’, so my mom asked me, and I said ‘somebody has to do it’. So when I was 5, I found myself learning and teaching English to siblings and parents alike, cooking, cleaning, and watching the other kids.
I knew that our ticket out of poverty was education, so I helped ensure we were all well-positioned for college. Despite the wisdom and experience beyond my years, I didn’t know enough about life to find my fit in the world, only knowing that the sight of blood made me queasy so I was no doctor, and the thought of conflict made me cringe, so I was no lawyer. While in college, advanced math, chemistry and economics made no sense to me, so I gravitated toward a major in psychology, a minor in education, and side jobs as a pre-school teacher, a note-taker, and an office-worker.
Upon graduation, I taught elementary school for six years before transitioning into the business world as an entrepreneur at three different technology start-ups, leveraging my communication, leadership and sales abilities and my managerial and organizational skills. At that point, my new husband and I decided to launch a web consultancy together, creating dynamically generated web sites for emerging tech companies as well as tech icons. This adventure had its ups and downs (which were amplified during the conception and infancy of our daughter) and culminated in a company sale just as the dot-bomb hit.
It was off to a non-profit then with me, before that imploded, and led to my second business, FountainBlue, which I currently run. What started as an attempt to connect good people with each other to form innovative businesses that change the world leveraging technology evolved into an event production business which served a community of thousands. Notes from each of our sessions have been quoted, reprinted, leveraged, and taken to heart by our community, fostering transformative change in people, and business pivots based on identified trends and customer feedback.
As I look back at our six and a half years of business, and look to what’s next for FountainBlue, knowing that the event-production business in itself is not sustainable, necessitating a consulting revenue model as well, I ask myself what’s my value-add. My conclusion is as follows:
- I’m an inspiring and informative storyteller. I listen to what leaders and icons are saying, synergize their message and communicate the essence of their wisdom to an appreciative audience.
- I’m a connector, connecting the dots between trends, technologies, people, and industries, and communicating it in a way which connects decision-makers with the people, thoughts, trends and customers that can help them transform their business.
- I’m a creative problem-solver who listens to the challenges of others and offers out-of-the-box ideas, thoughts and information which helps get our clients from here to there, and then commits to create and execute on a plan to get there.
- I’m a passionate world-changer and a respected strategist. I can’t stand to see people suffering because of the incompetency or self-serving needs of others-in-charge. I leverage my passion, my creativity and my efficiency to work with a team, shift a strategy, team or organization, and build traction in a new and proven strategic direction, based on knowledge of market trends and customer needs.
- I’m an out-of-the-box thinker, never doing what’s expected, but always having a different, alternative and relevant point of view. My background working with clean energy, high tech and life science entrepreneur as well as with corporate levels has given me insights to many markets, thoughts, ideas and strategies, and many cross-over ideas which prove beneficial to my clients.
The bottom line is that I’m scrappy, and will leverage my skills, experience and passion to define what’s next for me, probably again by doing something I have no right to think that I could do successfully.by