I’m a Coach for Slauson & Co.’s Friends & Family Accelerator

. 2 min read . Written by Sara Hicks

Last week I had a beautifully satisfying experience that reaffirmed many of my life choices. It was a week that reminded me of my purpose and expertise. It was a week that showed me what is possible when I prioritize my most highly valued beliefs like inclusion and intentionality.

I’m delighted to share that I’m a coach for Slauson & Co.’s 2024 Friends & Family accelerator, a cohort of 20 companies whose founders receive financial and operational support to help guide their business. If you had told me that, someday, I’d be working with a venture capital firm in any capacity, I would have given you a serious side eye. While I love coaching entrepreneurs, I never saw myself getting involved with a (predominantly white-male, exclusive, intention-lacking) venture firm. 

So what changed? 

Just over a month ago, I happened to see a post from Slauson & Co. announcing that they were looking for coaches for their upcoming Friends & Family accelerator program, which was launched in response to the steady decrease in venture funding for diverse founders. I was only vaguely familiar with Slauson & Co., but the post captured enough of my attention to lead me to their website. Although they used words like “intention” and “inclusion,” which are so often overused and under-delivered buzz words, something felt different. (Hint: just take a look at the Slauson team!) So I applied. 

From my initial conversations with the Slauson team to the kickoff last week, I’ve been incredibly impressed. Slauson is not a company that uses empty buzz words to make them seem progressive; they back up their words with real action. Among the 20 amazing companies, 95% have a founder who identifies as a person of color, 60% have a founder who identifies as a woman, and 20% have a founder who identifies as LGBTQIA. That’s astonishing! 

As a founder and former CEO of a venture-backed company, I was often the token female at events. To make the disparity even worse, other founders and even investors would often ask if I was in marketing or if I was married or related to my co-founder. Being in those rooms highlighted the widely known stat that only about 2% of venture capital dollars go to female founders and even less goes to underrepresented minorities. I know first-hand how hard and lonely the entrepreneurial path can be. There’s still a mountain of work needed to make the entrepreneurial journey more inclusive, but to be part of such a diverse and exceptional group of humans in the Friends & Family cohort feels like a seismic shift in all the right and inclusive ways. 

The next 12 weeks are going to be great fun as I get to coach truly remarkable people building trajectory-changing companies. I’m confident I’ll learn just as much from my founders as I hope they do. Stay tuned. I am eager to share some insights along the way. Here we go!