Happy Monday Reigners! Hope everyone had a relaxing break and was able to reset for the New Year. I’m SO excited to introduce you to Anna Soliveres as our 1st Women Who Reigns for 2016. Anna and I met while we were at VMware together (similar to Sandy Huynh) and ended up on the same team. From the second I met her I knew that Anna was one of the sweetest and most caring people I had ever met. But what has always struck me most about Anna is that she firmly stands up for what she believes both personally and professionally. That has led her to carve out a career that is not only fulfilling but leaves room for Anna to focus on her other passion: writing! I am in awe that she is now a published novelist of Violet Storm and Crimson Earth, with more in line. Read on below and you will quickly understand what makes Anna a true #GIRLBOSS!
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hello! My name is Anna and I’m a College Talent Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. I help students connect with the startups in our portfolio. And just like my greeting, I’m friendly, easy-going, and super casual. Most people mistake me for an extrovert, but I’m actually an introvert–so I will often leave parties early. Did you cringe? It’s okay, I did to. I’m actually closer to an ambivert, but that’s a story for another time.
Fun fact: I’m a novelist, aka author, aka brooding-but-luckily-not-starving artist. I’ve written five full-length novels, two are published, two are lying in wait for the fires of Armageddon, and one is on the editing block.
What # would define your life journey?
I devoured Sophia Amoruso’s book, #GIRLBOSS the week before New Years, and I thought: wow, here’s someone who understands my weirdness, my entrepreneurial spirit, and the struggle we all have to understand where we fit in this world. This book is a must-read for all you #GIRLBOSSes out there.
Favorite website / app:
Right now, I’m super impressed with Wix. After building my own website, I have a newfound appreciation for website developers and designers. It’s no easy task to design a website. Like other similar websites, Wix removes the technical/coding challenges and helps you create a beautiful expression of you or your product.
For those long commutes, podcasts save my sanity. I love learning something before I even get into the office. My favorites are: The Introvert Entrepreneur, Creative Warriors, 99% Invisible, a16z Podcast, and Criminal (which reminds me, I can’t wait for Serial to return!)
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
Nelson Mandela–for many reasons, but primarily for his wise words: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” These words have carried me through some tough times: starting a huge project (i.e. writing a 100,000+ word novel), a grueling travel season, event planning, and launching a book.
But my biggest inspiration is my mom. She’s taught me that there is nothing in life that can’t be overcome. My mom is the strongest and hardest working woman I know. For all that she’s been through she’s always stood tall with her fists clenched over her hips asking life, “Is that all you got?”
Song that makes you want to dance:
When I was on vacation in Hawaii, OMI’s Cheerleader was on replay. And now every time I hear it, I instantly perk up and start belly rolling (leaning back, making waves with my stomach).
Technical challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
In a crowd of engineers and some of the smartest people in the Silicon Valley, I always have to ask people to explain what they’re talking about. It’s nerve-wracking and like most people, I never want to come off unintelligent. Students tell me about their projects and I’ll likely hear new terms, technical practices, or programs I don’t have any experience with. In order to be truly helpful, I have to understand the technical problem, what they’re trying to solve and why, even on a basic level. When I hear something I don’t understand, I immediately ask them to tell me more. How do you use it? How does it work? Why would you use/do that? Even if there’s a chance they’re rolling their eyes at my ineptitude, I find that most people are talking about something they’re excited about and would love the chance to dive into it.
My ideal job is one where I can help others, tell stories, build strong relationships, increase diversity in the tech community, travel, learn, and have work-life-balance. And guess what? My job at a16z hits every mark. Everyday I connect with students, learning more about their interests, offering advice when needed, and helping them with their career planning needs so they can find their next great opportunity. I have so much faith in their abilities, and I can’t wait to hear about the amazing things they will accomplish. I also learn so much from the engineers from our portfolio companies, and I’m astounded at the huge impact a company can make on the tech community and the world.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Read blogs like this! Don’t stop learning. There are so many resources out there to help you on your path to cultivating your ideal career. Read. Listen. Keep expanding your skills regardless of whether they’re related; not only is it fun, but you never know when they’ll come in handy. And most importantly, network. Keep making new friends. Everyone has wisdom to impart. When people in your network are building their brand/product be the first to support them. They will never forget it. And when the time comes for you to make your mark, they’ll be there for you. Everyone needs a tribe. Set the example and people will follow.
Finally, as Cinderella’s mom said, “Have courage, and be kind.” Even if people don’t treat you right, give them kindness, because kindness can’t be stolen. It’s a gift. Be generous with it.