Throughout her career, Kathryn Cartini has witnessed the birth of Charlotte’s startup ecosystem, embedded herself within the hustle of Boston’s high-growth activity, and returned home to help rebuild Upstate NY through entrepreneurship. In addition to Chloe Capital, Kathryn is the CMO of entrepreneur-led nonprofit Update Venture Connect, and the owner of Peacock Media, LLC. In these roles Kathryn excels as a startup mentor, promoter and ecosystem building – having connected hundreds of founders with investors.
What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
If you meet me at an event, or see my activity on social media, I try my best to bring the “energy.” I don’t think people would guess that I’m actually an introvert. That said this introvert is on a mission to get more women founders funded, and at the end of the day, this movement drives my enthusiasm.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I have no shortage of mentors and advisors. I’m blessed in this regards. But the best business advice I’ve ever received was shared with me early in my career by my father. He said, “pay yourself first.” What this means is before you take the next growth step, make sure you have enough income coming in to take care of your personal expenses, including at least a six month safety net for “peace of mind.” He believed this affords us the opportunity to explore, take risks and yes, fail. I’ve also had no shortage of failures. Thanks to my dad and his advice, I’ve been prepared to navigate through the ups and downs of #StartupLife.
What would you say to 16 year old you?
Take a deep breath and see the forest through the trees. The road less traveled is not an easy one, but you have the tenacity to make a difference – somehow, somewhere, someday.
What is your greatest fear?
After the sacrifices, will the ends really justify the means.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
In general I don’t recall anyone doubting me (to my face), but sure, I’ve felt the gaze of a skeptic or two. In truth, I love it. This is when I dig deeper. Being tenacious can be a curse, but in the entrepreneurial world I consider it a blessing.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
Today’s the day. There’s nothing holding us (women) back but ourselves. There is more funding and resources available then ever for women entrepreneurs. Learn to let go, delegate and build a great team of champions and advisors to make sure you seize the day, each day. “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” Mother Theresa
How do you manage your work-life balance?
Given time is a commodity I don’t live with work – life balance. Instead I practice work – life infusion. Saratoga Springs is a little slice of heaven. As my mom says, “It’s living on vacation.” Upstate NY is also a stellar place to launch and grow an innovation company. We’re surrounded with nextgen talent graduated from some of the top research universities in the country, and located within hours from NYC, Boston and Toronto and the cost of living is low.
What do you love most about yourself?
My mentor, advisor and friend Martin Babinec told me just yesterday that I’m “opportunity rich.” I joked and asked him if he was calling me an opportunist. He said, “No way, you’ve worked hard to move the needle, and the results you produce on a daily basis have earned you respect. Now you have to concentrate on where you want to spend your efforts.” So I guess to answer your question, I love that I’m able to recognize and take hold of opportunities as they reveal themselves. I have no fear when it comes to starting something new or pivoting when necessary.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
Of course, though I don’t talk about it often. After I left the newsroom to help launch my first venture and become a real estate investor, the recession hit and I almost lost it all and myself. After a straight month of receiving counsel from every mentor and friend in my contact list, I wiped away the tears and created a strict action plan. It took intense dedicated, belief in myself and hope in the future. As they say, “this too shall pass,” and it did. I’m a better person in business and life because of this experience.
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned along the way?
Choose your partners wisely, surround yourself with industry leaders, and never stop learning.
Why do you love to travel?
I do love to travel. More than I can say. And I’ve lived in many places from Upstate NY, to Charlotte and Boston. But I haven’t been able to travel outside of business for many years as I’ve been focused on initiatives I’m passionate about. This is why I like to live in tourist towns. As my mother says, it’s like “living on vacation.” If you’ve never visiting Newburyport, MA or Saratoga Springs, NY – check them out!
What are your biggest passions?
Helping others succeed. All of the work I do involves connecting entrepreneurs to the resources needed to build great companies and create healthy economies (jobs). I love surrounding myself with the makers, doers and achievers. Helping them on their journeys motivates and inspires me to keep going.
What is your favorite meal?
Aw come on. This is an impossible question! Some of my favorites include my grandmothers sauce and chicken soup. I’ve never had a breakfast sandwich I didn’t like. Belgian waffles with strawberries and chocolate ice cream from the New York State Fair was a must as a kid. And I’ve probably stopped at every lobster / crab shack from MA to ME.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
Watch, listen and apply. Seriously, this is a daily effort. When we surround ourselves with the best and commit to never stop learning, we’ll always grow and move forward.
If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
I feel that I’m right where I need to be. Of course new ideas popped into my head all the time, and I’m presented with new opportunities daily. But if I had to start from scratch and my career didn’t involve helping entrepreneurs, maybe I’d be an architect / interior designer or own a Bed and Breakfast. We can’t change the stars though, so chances are it would be a B&B / incubator for startup founders. LOL.
What is something on your bucket list?
More overseas travel, constant education and building a home are top of my wish list. In the immediate future, my Chloe Capital partners and I would be honored to build a $1M Business Competition for Women-Led Innovation companies, and raise a $10M venture capital fund to invest alongside the companies. That’s our big picture motivation.
Have you ever had an extraordinary experience? Describe it!
Every day. My father was not only my dad, but my best friend, financial advisor and mentor. He was a man of few words, but they were always the right ones. He encouraged the exploration of various paths to reach a desired end goal. As I’m presented with these wonderful new opportunities I feel him in my heart and hear his voice in my end. He was extraordinary. He provided me with a blessed life, and even now guides my motions.
More About Kathryn
Kathryn Cartini is a Partner at Chloe Capital. Throughout her career, Kathryn has witnessed the birth of Charlotte’s startup ecosystem, embedded herself within the hustle of Boston’s high-growth activity, and returned home to help rebuild Upstate NY through entrepreneurship. In addition to Chloe Capital, Kathryn is the CMO of entrepreneur-led nonprofit Update Venture Connect, and the owner of Peacock Media, LLC. In these roles Kathryn excels as a startup mentor, promoter and ecosystem building – having connected hundreds of founders with investors