Crashing an Alumni Meeting Worked Out!

Last year I attended a conference in Atlanta. One panelist was a black venture capitalist. I hadn’t heard of him and was intrigued. He has experience at various venture firms and recently launched a $40 million fund to start his own. His firm is a hybrid that invests in emerging venture capital firms and early-stage companies. This hybrid approach was new to me. I set a goal of connecting with him and learning from his experiences. Unfortunately, he lives on the West Coast (like most VCs), so it hasn’t happened.

I try to read everything that’s published about him. One piece mentioned that he would be giving a talk to alumni of his alma mater via Zoom. I didn’t attend his school but figured I’d try to register anyway. Worst case, they reject my registration. Best case, they don’t, and I get to learn something. To my surprise, they let me in.

The talk was great—well worth the time. He shared his unique perspective on various things and discussed the challenge of raising capital for his firm. The highlight, though, was an unpublished resource he shares with firms he invests in. He offered to share it with his audience upon request. Naturally, I asked for a copy. Had I not attended, I would never have known this golden nugget of information was available.

I haven’t been able to connect with him in person, but I didn’t let that discourage me. I did the next best thing. I went to where he would be sharing his experiences and listened. Today, it happened to be on Zoom. It wasn’t what I envisioned when I set my goal, but it did the trick. It filled some of my knowledge gap, and I now have a great resource that will continue to do so.

Sometimes it isn’t obvious how you can accomplish a goal. But if you’re clear on what your goal is, persistent, and open to creative solutions, the universe usually presents you with an opportunity. You just need to recognize it and take advantage of it.