As a CoS Mastermind Founding Member, Carmeanna continues to receive support and guidance from the peers and mentors in the network, while providing her own value, through shared experiences. Interested in joining? Apply here.
Can you walk us through your career journey to date? How did your interests and/or values help shape where you landed?
My career started in Admin at Goldman Sachs. I realized after a couple years that I wanted to build something and be in a place where my voice carried more weight. Therefore, I joined an emerging VC as a founding member where the scope of my role increased to include operations. I spent about 3 years with the fund and began to really understand the VC world. The Founders we diligenced were fascinating to me and watching them build a company and idea from the ground up was so exciting. I took that excitement and joined a healthcare startup as a Chief of Staff to try my hand at being an Operator. That is where things clicked for me in my career and came full circle. As I progressed in my career, I understood how my Admin roles were foundational to tackling new responsibilities as an Operator. I have now been a Chief of Staff 3x and am currently the Director of Operations at Refine Labs. In my downtime I do operations consulting and mentor startup founders through various groups and different capacities.
What has been the most rewarding part of the role so far? The most surprising and/or
One of the biggest rewards is building a place I'm proud of as an
employee and a hiring manager. Refine Labs is a talent destination and a place I am excited to recruit for. Our culture was, from the start, a top priority for us as a business because we wanted to attract and retain the best talent to build our vision. I have been so impressed with our leadership for continuing to prioritize culture. While I sing the praises of our organization, there are of course challenges that come with building.
One of the more challenging parts of my role is that it changes every 6 months, depending on company priorities. When a company scales as fast as we have in the past year, there are growing pains. Sometimes you'll feel like you are flying by the seat of your pants and tackling things you aren’t qualified to; sometimes you'll have no idea which direction the company will go so you need to be extra flexible; sometimes you are on cloud 9 because you are crushing your targets across the company and everyone is in great spirits. You have to be so open-minded and nimble within a startup, which is not always easy to achieve! However, with empathy, prioritization, communication and strategic problem-solving skills, you find that you have all the tools necessary to navigate such dynamic times.
How has networking amplified your career?
I began building my network very early in my career, only knowing that it was “a good idea” but not reaping the benefits until I needed to find a new role. I can say now that my network has played a part in every job I have secured and it only becomes more important as I grow and gain expertise in my career. I add value to my network and also lean on it in a reciprocal way that allows me to be a master connector. Your network is a lot like a swap economy, except you are trading knowledge and connections, instead of material items.
Who is someone that you admire that you’ve learned from? How have they influenced your career, thinking, and approach?
I have had the good fortune of having incredible bosses, with most of them being women. They have shown me what to aspire to at an executive level. My current boss, Megan Bowen - COO of Refine Labs has been the main catalyst in my career as a leader. She has inspired and shown me what operational excellence looks like in someone’s career. I strive to emulate her empathy and investment in her employees, as well as her passion for her work.
Interested in joining Primary CoS Mastermind Network and growing your community of peers and mentors? Apply to join here!