By Punch Correspondent Karen Garnick
People say New York is the city that never sleeps, but what about DC? Young, creative minds flock to our city every year, with aspirations to make a difference and try something new. Commonly known as â€œGeneration Y,â€ we are tech savvy, confident, and too ambitious to just settle. In a city that centers around corporations and government, it seems unlikely to be a self-starter, but the city is bursting with them.
Google has embraced this entrepreneurship culture, and last Thursday hosted a free, open event with Zagat called DC Entrepreneurs Event #inspire20to30. This evening brought together a panel of 7 local entrepreneurs and like minded professionals in their 20s and 30 to share advice, inspire, and network.
The panel was comprised of Sakita Holley, founder and CEO of House of Success; Adrienne Sheares, creator of I Heart Social Media; Ron Cade, lawyer turned entrepreneur and founder of Tapxi; Victoria Harris, co-creater of CapMac Food Truck; Brian Arnoff, chef and owner of CapMac; Dan Arnoff, a 5th generation family member of Arnoff Moving and Storage; and Jhanel Wilson, a real estate mogul. The diversity of their professions and backgrounds made for an empowering discussion.
Some highlights from the evening:
Victoria Harris, the host of the evening, talked about the challenging decision not to lower their standards ay CapMac when their competition did. She promised her clients the best product and knew she had to deliver, even if it meant profits would not be as high. She emphasized how empowering it is to make these decisions yourself, that you have no rules and more creativity when you are an entrepreneur.
Sakita Holley advised to first find a company to work for to decide if its your passion, and if so, just go for it. She said things wont always work out exactly like you want, but to â€œbloom where youâ€™re planted.â€ One of the most rewarding things or her was when big clients knew who she was, such as when NIKE asked her to be the brand ambassador for NIKEâ€™s Womenâ€™s #MakeYourself campaign in 2011.
Adrienne Sheares actually offered to do work for free for a potential client, knowing if she did a good enough job they would hire her in the future, and it worked! On finding employees, she said, â€œyour dream is YOUR dreamâ€, and its always challenging to find someone who will work as hard as you.
Each shared personal stories and hurdles they overcame, but they all had recurring messages â€“ make sure you are passionate about what you do, take advantage of all your connections, and its a challenge to be an entrepreneur but the end result is much more rewarding.
Missed the event? Don’t suffer from #FOMO, More photos can be found HERE.
Correspondent Karen Garnick is a California native trying to get accustomed to the East Coast lifestyle (and weather!). By day, she works as an event planner for a think tank, and by night you can find her out on the town. She is a world traveler, loves baby animals, and enjoys curling up to a good book and glass of wine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.