Jeanette Stock — Fellow Profile

University: Queen’s University (2014)

Major: English Language & Literature

Startup: Pressly

City: Toronto

Hometown: Toronto

What does your startup do?

Pressly is an enterprise content platform that makes it easy for companies and their people to establish relationships, presence, and credibility within their community.

The backbone of our product are content hubs, which you can allow anyone to contribute either original or curated content to. Through newsletter tools, social amplification, and embed widgets, we allow you to distribute content across all channels from one centralized location. We then wrap all that in analytics, so you can understand who is engaging with what, and on what channel.

In short: we’re making life suck less for companies who use a lot of content.

Describe a typical day at your startup:

My role at Pressly is Customer Development — and day-to-day changes with every new customer I work with. Some of my favourite customers are building community content hubs for people both within and outside of their companies, or powering internal research programs with time-sensitive information for networks of 1000’s of advisors. When it comes down to it, my job is to understand my customers’ goals, and then help them reach them — which means each project is as different as the teams I’m working with.

Since I started, I’ve talked strategy with marketing teams, launched projects for consulting companies, crafted proposals for new clients, explained Soundcloud to an enterprise research team, repped Pressly at some sweet events…and answered a lot of “forgotten password” requests.

What do you love about working at a startup? (What are the benefits of working at a startup?)

Before Pressly I spent 4 years in university and 2 years in the workforce…and I’ve learned more in the last 6 months than I did in those 6 years. Yes, it’s bordering on cliché (practically every fellow has said this in their profile) but the pace at which things move in a startup is staggering. Being able to turn projects around in days instead of weeks (or in hours instead of days) is such a rewarding experience (and, for many of our clients, is a nice change). Though sometimes it can be a challenge to keep up, I wouldn’t have it any way.

What’s a social issue that you are particularly passionate about?

LGBTQ* inclusion in tech, and diversity in tech more broadly. There is so much research that shows that bringing together diverse and inclusive teams isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s good for business. This is true for companies across the board, but especially for startups and tech companies. Because innovation is what keeps us ahead of the curve, diversity can be that extra edge that takes a company from good to great. (Plus, you know, it’s the right thing to do).

I’ve been involved in Start Proud for the past year, connecting LGBTQ* students with inclusive employers. This year I’m leading the team that is launching Venture Out — the first ever Canadian conference for LGBTQ* folks in tech & entrepreneurship. It’s a daunting challenge, but very exciting!

What’s your favorite book?

Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger. My sister and I fell in love with his stories of the precocious Glass children when we were teenagers, and now I re-read Nine Stories at least once a year.

If you could tell your third year university student self one piece of advice, it would be:

Get your nose out of a book, and go take some people you admire for a coffee. Ask them what they do at work, and see if it sounds like something you could do every day for ten years.

It took me a long time to realize that this was a space I wanted to be in, professionally. Believe it or not, I used to want to be a doctor and work for Medicines Sans Frontiers, and almost completed a degree in Life Sciences. It took a few coincidental conversations with family and friends for me to realize it wasn’t the insides of people’s bodies I was interested in spending my life working on, but with people themselves. Had I sought out those conversations earlier, or with more intention, I might have arrived at that conclusion earlier.

What is the best part of being a Venture for Canada Fellow?

Hands down, the people I’ve met since joining Venture for Canada have been the best part of the experience. I’m grateful for the guidance that the team provides, the training we receive, and the doors that VFC has opened, but it’s the people I’ve met within the program that have really made the difference. If I have a question about sales, or how to approach a conversation with a coworker, or how to do my taxes, or what to make for dinner … there’s always been another VFC fellow out there with the answer, and they’ve always been ready to hop on the phone and talk me through it. As the network grows (here’s looking at you, 2017 Fellows!), the power of this network will only be amplified — and I can’t wait to learn what the 2050 Fellows will have to teach us one day.

What do you hope to accomplish in your career?

This is a mean question: my answer to this changes every day. Short answer: I want to look back at 80 years old and be able to say: “I’ve done well, and I’ve done good.”

Why should someone apply to Venture for Canada?

If the community you will build, the doors that will open to you, and the things you will learn aren’t enough to sell you on it — it’s the most fun you’ll ever have in your career.

Describe your most memorable experience as a fellow.

After training camp, I impulse bought a ticket to Halifax to visit some of the fellows who are crushing it on the east coast. Sure, I expected to visit with some of the people I had met, but the welcome I received by the fellows & Sabrina — including some 2015 fellows I had never even met before — floored me. From the moment my flight landed to the time I returned home, my time was packed with tours of the city, field trips along the Nova Scotia coast, visits to incubators and startups, and introductions to others in the community.

Having a network of people that stretches across the country — literally from coast to coast — is one of the most rewarding things that Venture for Canada has given me.

What advice can you offer to future fellows?

Don’t take the first job you find — take the time to find the right culture & career fit for you. When you know, you know.

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