I’m back from MIT’s Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp! I want to dedicate this week’s Mentor Monday to someone who had an incredible influence on my time at the bootcamp: Elaine Chen.
The first day of the bootcamp finally arrives. The energy of the 75 entrepreneurs chosen to participate in the program is electric. Remember the excitement you felt going to summer camp as a kid? The excitement for what’s to come and being somewhere new, and the nervousness of not knowing what’s to come? Think of that feeling, and then multiply it by 1,000.
While listening to the introductions of the lecture leaders, alumni and panelists who will help us throughout the bootcamp, I found myself wondering who I would be able to relate to. Enter Elaine. Full of energy, confidence, down-to-earth in a way that makes you feel like you’ve known her for years, yet you’re still intimidated by her incredible level of success and brilliance, the minute she began presenting I knew that I wanted to get to know her better.
“Elaine is a startup veteran and product strategy consultant who has brought numerous hardware and software products to market. As founder and managing director of ConceptSpring, she works with executives and leaders of entrepreneurial teams to create product strategies and roadmaps, and to formulate aggressive but achievable program plans to implement the company’s vision.”
In summary: Elaine is a total boss in every sense of the word. Here are 3 reasons why she’s this week’s Mentor Monday:
She’s an incredible public speaker. Every lecture she lead, I found myself nodding, or truly connecting with the points she was making. She took complex ideas within entrepreneurship, simplified them, and made you excited to apply what you’ve learned to your own business.
She helped me find my inner Superwoman. I was sitting with her during a break, and shared how I felt out of place among so many engineers and brilliant minds. MIT is known for it’s Engineering and top-notch academics, and while I’m confident in The Mentor Method and my skillsets, I felt some nervousness entering the bootcamp given MIT was not a viable option for me when applying for colleges years ago. Her advice was to remember that everyone was accepted into the program for a reason and that the admissions team did not make a mistake in selecting me. She also suggested I tap into my inner Superwoman by using Amy Cuddy’s power pose. If you’re not familiar, check out the video here. On the last day of the bootcamp, we present our pitches to a panel of judges. As team CEO, I was presenting the idea on behalf of them. While preparing, I remembered the ways in which Elaine presented, in addition to the power pose. Her advice from a few days before made a world of a difference in my pitch delivery. I can’t thank her enough for that advice.
She’s proof that success and kindness are not mutually exclusive. If her bio isn’t proof enough that she’s been very successful in her career, her full bio will leave you beyond impressed. Often times you hear of people who develop a chip on their shoulder once they reach a level of success. Not with Elaine. She listened to the concerns of bootcamp attendees, shared her insights and knowledge, and dedicated an entire week with all of us despite having a busy schedule.