Vanessa Alexandra Pestritto is Co-Founder and Partner at Lattice Ventures. She invests in network effects companies in low tech industries or new markets. Pestritto is an active advisor to entrepreneurs through her roles as EIR at Friends of eBay, Mentor for the NYU Berkley Venture Competition, BrainTrust Advisor for Entrepreneurs@Athena, was named a Top Latino Tech Leader by the New America Alliance, and Co-Founder of the Gladiator Club, which provides access and resources to high potential founders. Previously, she served as Executive Director at the New York Angels, an industry agnostic, network-driven angel investment group.
Molly Siems is currently Director, Business Development and Strategic Partnerships at Justworks, a fast growing HR tech startup. She was previously Head of Business Development at NewsCred, another venture-backed marketing tech startup after leading NewsCred's legal team for 3 years. Molly began her career as a corporate lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Mergers and Acquisitions. She is a Columbia Law School and UPenn alum. At Columbia, she was selected to join InSITE, a tech startup incubator run by Columbia and NYU graduate students.
1. What about your career has surprised you the most?
Molly: How listening to my gut (even when it seemed illogical) has gotten me on the right track professionally
Vanessa: How simply talking to people and engaging with them in their world can open more doors and opportunities than any other effort.
2. What about the future excites you?
Molly: Taking on scary roles that are out of my comfort zone (if you aren't a little scared, you aren't challenging yourself!)
Vanessa: Building the future I believe in with the people I respect. Learning from those that I find interesting and curious. Helping those level up to their next great moment.
3. What about the future scares you?
Molly: Balancing career and children, and overcoming the "motherhood penalty"
Vanessa: This is a funny question because I tell people to do things that scare them. It gets you closer to who you are and who you want to be in the same moment. It's how one can find greatness.
4. Which book has had the most significant impact on your life and why?
Molly: I know it's cliche at this point, but Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg saved me. When I first joined a tech startup, I wasn't being given a seat at the table and I was taking it personally - my confidence was at an all-time low. I hadn't encountered workplace sexism before and didn't recognize it when it was right in front of me. This book made me realize that I wasn't alone, and gave me practical strategies to deal with the situation.
Vanessa: Probably The Fountainhead. I remember reading several scenes where I knew the thoughts and feelings of the characters. It gave me comfort and a sense of calm that I was not alone in having these thoughts, sentiments, and struggles. It is ok to be myself.
5. What tool do you use everyday that is invaluable?
Molly: Meditation - every morning for 22 minutes - and writing in my journal to remind me of my priorities.
Vanessa: My breast pump and Whatsapp.
6. What does the word 'power' mean to you?
Molly: The ability to make decisions that affect others beyond yourself.
Vanessa: Strength and control.
7. If you woke up and had 1,000 emails in your inbox and could only answer 100, how would you choose which ones to answer?
Molly: I would reply to my family, my CEO, a board member, my direct boss, my team, my best friends, in that order. If I had any emails leftover, I'd respond to ones that involved mission-critical projects so they wouldn't fall off the rails.
Vanessa: I would address emails that were critical and those that held the greatest opportunities. If they exceeded 100 then I would attempt a 60/40 split on opportunities and critical.
8. If we could arrange a dinner for you with one person in your industry, who would you want to invite?
Molly: Susan Wojcicki - my first love will always be Sheryl :), but I'm curious about her journey
Vanessa: Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures.