Virtual Training Camp Diaries: Augusto Torres

Hi! I’m Augusto, a 2020 VFA Fellow from New Jersey. For the last five years, I’ve grown alongside my family’s small business, Quality MT Home Improvement. As I inched closer to graduation in January 2019, I decided to pursue an industry that passionately intrigued me: startups and the innovation economy. Startups and their symbiotic relationship to the venture capital industry were brand new to me at the time, but I pushed forward in networking and learning. The year that followed was incredible. Shortly after graduating, I started an internship as a research analyst at a venture capital firm which led me to apply to Venture For America in the Fall. The rest is history.

Today is July 4, 2020. Venture for America’s Training Camp starts tomorrow.

When I found out Venture for America’s Training Camp would be held virtually this year, I sighed deeply. For reference, Training Camp, a month-long program focused on fostering the Fellow community and teaching vital startup-ready skills, is often referred to by VFA Alumni as the best experience of their Fellowship and early careers. Although the switch to a virtual Training Camp was unsurprising, I found myself holding on to the glimmer of hope that the cohort would be able to come together in person. Certainly, integrating the cohesive VFA node into our professional networks is will prove to be invaluable in the long run. Just as important – if not more important – will be the bonds forged through virtual proximity and shared challenges and goals. I’m excited to see what the program has in store for us tomorrow!

Today is July 10, 2020. VFA’s Training Camp has been a game-changer this week.

In starting to write this, I was pleasantly surprised by how many facets of Training Camp deserve a dedicated post of their own. In truth, the collective TC experience is an amalgamation of what has resonated with each of the Fellows. The short blurb I wrote above, prior to starting TC, is a great indicator of where I have spent my energy best over the last week. While the social events are welcoming and a great place to spill tea, it’s the brief 1-on-1 conversations that have truly resonated with the part of me that loves to appreciate others for their uniqueness. Taking the time to bounce a few questions off a challenge week teammate in between work sessions or diving into an ongoing conversation on Remo has created vividly memorable experiences. Ultimately, I realized that it is now up to me to stop comparing what is to what could have been, and fully embrace this experience by being increasingly present for the passing moments.

Finally, I can’t share this week’s highlights without giving a huge shoutout to the VFA Team. The transition from an in-person skill and relationship building boot camp online is no short feat, but the VFA TC Team has adopted continuous improvement and community building mindsets that are a true display of leadership by example.

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