Hello! My name is Tess Witt and I’m a 2020 Venture For America Fellow from Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m a proud Bearcat and alumna from the University of Cincinnati, where I studied communication and marketing.
When I applied to Venture For America, what stood out to me were the five Credos that guide the Fellowship journey. VFA’s Credo, “My career is a choice that indicates my values” has appeared throughout my entire college journey. My junior year, I had the opportunity to intern at a social impact startup accelerator. This experience showed me how important and essential entrepreneurship is to emerging cities. When I came across VFA and submitted my application on the very last day, I knew that VFA was the place for me.
The entire month of July, my VFA class has had the opportunity to grow alongside each other at Training Camp. Every day, as I would log into Zoom, I was constantly inspired by my class and their resilience, talent, and empathy. We forged through a virtual, and sometimes ambiguous, environment to cultivate relationships and create impact.
Training Camp teaches you how to be an entrepreneur and startup leader, but most importantly, it shows you the power of the Fellowship. There were so many meaningful experiences this month, but what stood out to me the most was learning from entrepreneurs who are doing the work in their respective cities. Last Monday, we had the opportunity to learn from Lorenzo Gomez of Geekdom Media, a San Antonio-based startup. His session was entitled “My Advice To You” and that’s exactly what he provided! He reminded myself and the Fellows that entrepreneurship doesn’t happen on your best days, but your worst days. As 2020 has brought a variety of challenges for all of us, this was an important reminder as we end Training Camp and enter into our Fellowship.
My fellow Fellows inspired me every day to bring my full self to the Venture For America community. It’s been an honor to cultivate relationships with them, learn, and dive deep into the ways we can create opportunities for ourselves and others.