Ten years ago, I joined a newly-formed Fellowship program called Venture for America, a non-profit that takes recent grads and trains them as entrepreneurs to work at start-ups in lower-cost cities like Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland, and Providence.
The Chief Operating Officer of the startup that was VFA and our guest today is Eileen Lee. Following six years running VFA, Eileen is once again putting her community-building chops to work as the co-founder of The Lola, a physical workspace and digital community for women.
In our conversation, Eileen teaches me about what it means to be a community builder, how she was initially wrong about The Lola’s target audience, and why the Start, Stop, Continue exercise is undefeated in surfacing the best ideas.
- (1:32) Why Eileen wanted to start The Lola
- (3:32) What is the community at The Lola?
- (6:59) The learnings Eileen took from founding her first community, Venture for America (VFA)
- (9:14) How Eileen determined The Lola’s “North Star” and who The Lola was for
- (10:53) How Eileen found people to build out her new community in a new city
- (14:24) How Eileen determined what her community needed
- (19:18) Eileen’s thoughts on playing the long game vs. harnessing quick wins
- (22:32) What it’s like to build a community amidst a pandemic
- (24:28) The pros and cons of a hybrid work model
- (27:49) Operations lightning round
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