In this monthly series, Built In Chicago will highlight some of the most important players in our digital ecosystem: the women. From entrepreneurs to technologists, investors to academic leaders, and corporate innovators to developers, women play important and diverse roles in dozens of local organizations. Every month, we'll introduce you to five women worth knowing. Through these exclusive interviews, get to know these women through their likes, experiences, and maybe even their secrets. Here's one of them.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
My job is to make connections between the University of Illinois community and the outside world that foster tech commercialization and talent retention.
HOW DID YOU BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
It all started as a class project, and one thing led to another…Next thing I knew I was running a small biotech startup. Although we shut it down four years later, it was an amazing experience.
BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?
Listen – especially when negotiating a deal. People love to fill silences. Chances are that you will get a better understanding of the other side’s motivations if you just listen.
YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE ON A DAILY BASIS?
Prioritizing among a host of opportunities. I frequently tell entrepreneurs that focus is critical, and I try everyday to heed my own advice.
YOUR FAVORITE INDULGENCE?
Exploring a new menu at one of the many fabulous restaurants in our great city. Especially if it’s with my family and friends.
YOUR ADVICE FOR YOUNGER WOMEN?
Whether starting your own company or joining one, be sure to find a market that you both “love” and “know”.
YOUR ROLE MODEL?
My mom. Not only did she build her business from scratch 15 years ago, she is always kind, yet assertive, bold and fair.
Nominate your favorite woman for future installments of The Women Driving Chicago's Digital Renaissance by emailing Amina Elahi ([email protected]). Include her name, title, organization and a 140-character description of why she deserves to be featured.