This Interview was originally posted on June 9 on Glassbreakers.co “Glassbreaker of the Day” blog.
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Glassbreaker of the Day: Alison Dale, co-founder of Flipcause
What do you do?
I’m the COO and Chief of Design at Flipcause. At Flipcause, we build software to help growing nonprofits build effective development programs. I co-founded the company after I’d spent time working in both nonprofit and design fields, and realized the massive need for centralized, user-friendly, and affordable supporter management tools.
Why do you love your job?
I love being able to use my creativity to help organizations who are making major impact in their communities and in the world at large. It’s so fun to speak to the founders of our nonprofit partners and learn about how we’re helping them do what they do best- there’s such a variety of inspriing organizations out there, and we aim to help them reach greater levels of success.
What is your proudest career moment?
It’s not so much one moment as a series of accomplishments that I feel proud of in my career. I’ve always been entrepreneurial, but when I was younger I didn’t have the confidence to think that I’d be able to effectively run a scalable, venture funded company. Over the past couple of years I just dove in and aimed bigger and higher, and it’s been awesome to see that I’m getting out of it however much I put in.
Have you ever quit or been fired from a job before? Tell us what happened.
I quit my job when I realized I needed to work on my ideas full-time, or not at all. For several years, I was working for another company while working on a startup idea part time, and there was some progress but it was getting too exhausting. At a certain point I knew that it was time to dive in and take the risk of giving it all to my idea. I made sure to create a support network of mentors, friends and cofounders and it made the transition easier.
What advice do you have for other women who want to be in your role in two years?
Dream big. Aim high. Don’t be afraid to take risks. It’s been studied that most likely, if you regret anything at the end of your life, you’ll regret something you didn’t do, rather than something you did. It takes a lot of courage to deviate from the security of a constant paycheck to strike out on making a go of an idea you have, but I’ve never felt more satisfied in my life. Every small win is amplified because you know you got there yourself and with your team, and for the right reasons.
Outside of your day job, what else are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about art and culture. My parents own an art gallery in Santa Fe that I basically grew up in, and they were entrepreneurial inspirations from early on. Growing up with an incredible art collection inspired me to become a painter, photographer, video producer and multi-media artist- I definitely feel incomplete if I don’t have a creative project going alongside my day-to-day work. The loose, right-brained work helps to balance out the logical and detail-oriented nature of running a company, and lots of great product ideas come at the times when I’ve freeing my mind in my studio.
Have you had any inspiring mentorship moments in your career?
I’ve really enjoyed the process of mentorship that came from participating in a couple of startup accelerators and incubators in San Francisco. My founding team and I participated in both the Founder Institute and Acceleprise and learned so much from the mentors in both programs, both directly and through osmosis. Being in intense programs like those was like mentorship-speed dating. I resonated with the advice and ideas of some mentors more than others, and found that mentors who humbly spoke from the heart about how they got where they were were were the most impactful. Kate Rutter of Intelleto was a great UX mentor, Rajesh Setty of Witty Parrot taught me a lot about content production and storytelling, Allen Gannett of Trackmaven provided a lot of insights on sales processes… just to name a few.
What song pumps you up in the morning before a big day?
Today I’m jamming out to “Ghetto Superstar” by Pras and Mya. I’ve always had a thing for 90s hip hop, and that’s my current karaoke throwback go-to. “Reachin’ for the stars”, you know?
What other women in your industry do you admire?
I’m really inspired by women who are starting double and triple bottom line companies, doing good, creating a more level playing field, and innovating while making an impact in the world of business, as that’s what I strive to do everyday. Alexa Von Tobel of Learnvest, Jessica Richman of uBiome, Rachel Berry of Modiv, Danielle Morrill of Mattermark, (and Eileen Carey and Lauren Mosenthal of Glassbreakers!) all inspire me to reach higher. Fashion and lifestyle startups are cool, but its so great to see women in leading roles at companies that strive to make a big difference and focus on important issues of today.
What books, blogs, podcasts, networking groups or other resources do you recommend for Glassbreakers interested in your field?
What have you learned from failure? (either yours or a failure that directly impacted you)
I really like the quote: “If you stumble, make it part of the dance.” Failure is inevitable at some level, but it doesn’t exist unless you give it power. Failures have taught me everything that has ended up making me a better founder and leader. Just remember to take time to reflect, learn from, and even try to enjoy all the ups and downs along the way.