Day In The Life: Meet Mandy Marcus Of Venture For America

This series is a part of the Jopwell/Black Enterprise partnership aimed at featuring talented millennials in exciting jobs

Venture For America
(Image: Mandy Marcus)

This article originally appeared on The Well, Jopwell’s editorial hub. 

Mandy Marcus
Community Growth Associate, Venture for America
New York City
Twitter: @venture4america

7:30am: Rise and shine! I snooze my alarm around 15 times, then get up for a jog around the neighborhood. I try to go running before work three times a week, and lately have been using an app called Couch to 5K to keep on track. It helps you build up your strength and stamina over eight weeks so you’re ready to run a 5K after two months. After cooling off, I have a yogurt for breakfast and get ready to head to work.

8:45am: I take the M train from my apartment in Ridgewood, Queens to Venture for America’s headquarters in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. VFA is a fellowship program that places talented recent grads at startups in cities with emerging startup ecosystems. New to the startup world myself, I use the commute to read startup industry news on First Round Review and catch up on the latest episode of the VFA podcast Smart People Should Build Things.

9:30am: I get to work and make a pot of coffee (we drink A LOT of coffee here) while catching up with coworkers in our kitchen nook. Everyone at Venture for America is always up to something fun, whether it’s checking out a new NYC restaurant, playing a show, or going to a “paint party” at paint nite. We use the kitchen as a place to catch up on life outside of work.

10:00am: I settle on a couch in our common lounge space and prepare for the day by checking my calendar for upcoming meetings, updating my to-do list on Asana (our favorite project management tool), and scanning my emails. VFA is a fast-paced and often unpredictable work environment, so it’s important to be flexible while also prioritizing the things you absolutely have to get done. It’s a balancing act, but I’ve found that tackling the most important projects first thing really helps.

11:00am: I hop on Slack, the chat client our team uses to communicate throughout the day. Every department has its own channel to share information and strategize, but there are also organization-wide channels we use to share relevant resources on anything from time management to innovative new startups. I check the team Slack first, then the Slack channel we set up for our Fellows. Part of my job is helping to support VFA’s new Fellows as they go through our matching process to find a great job with one of the startups we work with. I give them feedback on their application materials, share interview best practices, and coach them as they research and connect with startups in our 16 cities.

12:00pm: I’m in charge of Fellow recruitment for more than 30 college campuses, so I spend a lot of time planning on-campus events with student leaders and campus stakeholders, meeting potential applicants, and supporting candidates through the admissions process. During the recruitment season (August–February) my job is pretty much nonstop event planning and applicant support. Now that it’s our off-season, there are fewer events, but still a lot to do. I just wrapped up planning a keynote speaking event at the Yale Social Impact Conference for our founder and CEO, Andrew Yang.

1:00pm: I pick up a lentil bowl from Bombay Sandwich Co. through a service called MealPass, a recently launched monthly subscription service started by the founders of ClassPass. Users pay $100 a month and get lunch at local restaurants every workday. It’s a huge money-saver and a great way to try new restaurants in the area. A third of the VFA team uses the service.

2:00pm: Time to touch base with teammates in other departments. At 27 people, we’re a relatively small team, and cross-functional collaboration is necessary. I meet with the programs team to plan what role I’ll play in Training Camp, which we’ll be hosting this summer to prepare the incoming Fellows for their respective placements. I will be paired with Senior Development Manager Helen Lynch on the Training Camp visitor task force. Helen and I will work with the programs team to focus on the experiences of the guests who visit Training Camp to teach and mentor the Fellows.

3:00pm: Coffee time. To break up the afternoon and help team members get to know each other, VFA uses a service called CoffeeGo, a program that randomly groups together three team members and encourages them to grab coffee during the workday. I head to Stumptown at the Ace Hotel with Operations Analyst Mike Henrich and Senior Director of Partnerships Jackie Miller for an almond chai latte. It’s a welcome break and a nice opportunity to get to know some of the people I don’t necessarily work with every day. I come back refreshed.

4:00pm: Speaking of an afternoon refresher, the “walking meeting” is a personal favorite of mine. I walk and talk with Marketing Manager Katie Bloom about our video content strategy. While it doesn’t always work for external meetings (I find those go over better at a café, where you can sit and take notes), it’s great for brainstorming with a team member – especially when the weather is nice.

5:30pm: In the evening it can be hard to stay focused, so I like to break my time up using the pomodoro technique. This involves using a timer to work in 25-minute intervals, with five minute breaks between. I use a free app called Pomodoro Time to block time and knock out certain tasks. I usually do the classic 25-minute block, but today I’m feeling particularly focused, so I set 55-minute time blocks with five-minute breaks between each.

6:30pm: The official close of the day. The team rarely leaves at 6:30pm since there’s always more that can be done. Tonight, I wrap up by 7:00pm to go catch a movie – Midnight Special at Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I’m a huge film nerd, so I use a service called MoviePass that allows me to see as many movies in theaters as I want for a reasonable monthly fee.

9:00pm: After the movie, it’s time for a quick bite. I’m a pretty terrible cook, so I pick up tacos for dinner on my way home. My neighborhood is super diverse, so on any given night I can choose from Mexican, Polish, German, Dominican, and more.

11:00pm: I listen to music and do some evening chores to get ready for tomorrow. I try to avoid looking at my computer screen at night, but I do rely on my Spotify playlists. April 16 is blasting at my house. I’ll call it a night soon. I like to get to bed at a reasonable hour so I feel refreshed for the day ahead.

Venture for America is a partner company of Jopwell.

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