Learnings from a Fantastic Co-founder in Tech — Dawn Quaker
What is COO of Dreamers // Doers reading?
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Your Twitter bio reads: Dreamer, Doer, Co-founder & COO @ddoers. Mentor @Women @ColumbiaEntrep. @Columbia Alum.
…tell me a little more about yourself.
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, I spent most of my childhood in a studio dancing. However, I think I always possessed an entrepreneurial mindset and had a penchant for ‘pushing the envelope.’ Whether it was ballet or business, I preferred working in a space where I would have an impact — even when in the most junior roles.
It was that goal, the desire to have an impact, coupled with interests in technology and professional/personal development, that led me to start-ups. While in school, I started working on my first company, EduNext, a portfolio builder for youth.
What is your key to success?
Self awareness. So many people approach decisions and goals in life as if they are stepping into a role, when it’s really about stepping into yourself and owning who you are and what you want. There’s a lot of freedom in that.
How does reading fit into your daily routine?
I’m an avid reader. I like to be informed of current events and opportunities in the start-up/technology space for work, but I also genuinely enjoy reading and think it’s important for personal growth.
In the morning, I catch up on the news and newsletters, and most evenings, I read before bed. More often then not, you’ll find 2–3 books on my nightstand at any one time. I prefer non-fiction and while I’ve been reading a lot of books related to entrepreneurship and business management lately, I love memoirs. Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” is a recent fave.
What are your favorite 3–4 emails that you subscribe to, and why do you read them?
→ I read it because… to date, it’s the best go-to source I’ve found for catching up on current deals and events in the startup ecosystem.
→ I read it because… I genuinely enjoy the stories and commentary, and the hard copy always seems to disappear.
→ I read it because… The tone and stories are ultra-accessible and the team at Refinery does a great job of covering everything from pop-culture and music to news and entertainment.
What makes you happy?
The first — professional — is having a positive impact in someone’s life, whether it’s through helping them connect with an opportunity or build out strategy for their business.
The second is more personal and has to do with my friends. They are an endless source of support and inspiration, and I cherish every moment spent with them.
What are you working on now that you’re excited about?
After receiving an invite to the Y-Combinator Female Founders Conference in February of 2015, I began a monthly Female Founders meet-up in New York. I’ve always loved bringing people together, and when I had the opportunity to put together an event for like-minded women doing interesting things, I thought ‘why not?’ It was great!
So, of course, when I met Gesche Haas of Dreamers // Doers in July 2015 through a mutual friend, I was delighted to learn more about her company, which focuses on increasing the number of female-run ventures via an online support, referral, and information network. My first meeting with Gesche turned into a 4-hour brainstorming session and we began working together soon after.
I truly enjoy my work at Dreamers // Doers. I believe in our members and that our company’s decision to invest in women who are both interested in investing in themselves and in each other, will move the needle on diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
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