Name: Patricia (Pat) Hedley
Age: I once received the best compliment ever: “You’re an honorary millennial.”
Job Title & Description: Investor, Advisor and Author of Meet 100 People; former Managing Director at General Atlantic
College Name/Major: Dartmouth College / Computer Science
Website : www.meet100people.com
Twitter Handle: @Meet100People
What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
After a 30-year career at a global private equity firm, three years ago I embarked on my own as an investor in and advisor to growth companies. My job entails finding great companies and working with them to help them grow. In addition, I wrote a book called Meet 100 People, providing career advice I would have greatly benefited from when I was first starting out.
My typical day consists of meeting people in person, lots of emailing and many phone calls. I find investment opportunities by talking to and meeting with lots of people. I work with the companies I invested in by meeting with the founders and helping them access resources through my network. I occasionally speak at events and write blogs/articles.
What is the best part of your job?
I LOVE meeting people especially entrepreneurs and millennials because I am always learning something new. Entrepreneurs are generally extremely passionate, curious and interesting people. Millennials are a window into the future. I love hearing your stories and what interests you. I find opportunities because I am in the flow of lots of activities.
What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?
My first job out of college was a consultant for Bain & Company. There I was on a team that developed a business plan for a start-up. The client decided not to fund the start-up, but Bain Capital (an investment firm) did. I had the opportunity to join the start-up and jumped at the chance. I wanted to see first-hand how to build and grow a company.
What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
“Get lucky by placing yourself in the path of opportunity!” You do that by meeting a lot of people and being open to ideas. I know that I am driven by my curiosity, so it helps me seek people from whom I can learn, and find situations and experiences that stretch my thinking and capabilities.
What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
I have made many mistakes along the way, but my view is that all of life is about learning. I learned to be proactive, I learned to speak up and make my opinions heard, and I learned to be unafraid to push outside my comfort zone. I am much better in smaller groups than larger ones, but each time I have spoken in front of bigger groups, I find I am less worried about doing it again. Keep practicing what scares you and you will become better and even more confident than you ever thought you could.
What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?
I was invited to speak to a group of 600 people in Jaipur, India. It was my first trip to India and that, in and of itself, was incredibly different and exciting. It was my first time to speak in front of a large group and anytime I speak now, I think, “if I was able to do that, I can do anything.”
What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
I am looking for someone who has grit and perseverance. If you have those qualities, you can overcome many obstacles. I also am energized by people with a positive attitude, a good sense of humor and a strong work ethic. I respect those who can say, “I don’t know the answer to that question, but I can find out.” And then they follow through. A willingness to learn is extremely important because all of life is about that.
What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
You are only limited by your own beliefs and your own fears. Address them head on. If you are shy and reserved, acknowledge that and then practice meeting people. If you are afraid of rejection, know that that emotion is very natural, and do not be deterred by someone saying “no” because it may just mean “not now.” Engage with others and build real relationships. People are willing to help you, but you have to help them help you by being specific about what you need.
What’s the one thing that’s stood out to you the most in a resume?
I look for evidence of someone who can “get things done” and is a hard worker. The ability to execute even in a non-glamorous job is a key skill. I also like action words such as analyzed and solved (a program), led (a project), created (a program), or designed (a new system). A resume must always be neat, well-organized, concise and accurate.