Recognizing the Women who make things happen
The month of March has been a great opportunity for us all to recognize the fundamental contributions of women in our lives. At Yoo and Co. Accelerators, we have benefitted from the leadership and thoughtfulness of two women in particular, Hannah Vice and Yvette Ferreira. To highlight why we are so appreciative of their contributions, here's a little more about each of them.
Hannah Vice, General Counsel & Director of Corporate Development
Q: What led you to Yoo & Company Accelerators?
An insatiable curiosity led me on a unique educational journey that spanned business, social science, and law; while my professional journey has focused on law and corporate development. This blend of experiences has led me to an incredibly meaningful career.
From the start of my time at Sandra Day O’Connor, I knew I didn’t want to be a traditional attorney. Coming from an entrepreneurial household, I learned the importance of legal compliance to running a successful company from an early age. While studying the legal aspects of entrepreneurship, a certificate focused on healthcare and life sciences steered me towards the startup realm.
Upon graduating and passing the bar exam, I decided to pursue the healthcare and life science industries in a non-attorney position. This transition turned out to be far more difficult than I anticipated. I continuously faced resistance with this non-traditional path. After more rejections than I can count, I took a Contract & Policy Analyst position at Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. This position introduced me to the healthcare industry and was where I learned to manage large-scale projects.
While I thoroughly enjoyed project management, I knew I wanted more. The law was calling back to me, like the sirens singing to Odysseus (minus all the bad stuff when the sailors crashed into the rocks). In this case, it was the best thing I could have done.
Fast forward a year, and a job opened up at Systems Imagination, a healthcare technology and big data late-stage startup. I had recently met Chris Yoo, their fearless leader, and knew I had to work there. With my new opportunity as Business Process Project Manager, I began coupling operations (larger-scale project management, among other responsibilities) and legal by helping the company’s attorneys with various in-licensing agreements.
Today, I serve as General Counsel and Director of Corporate Development for Yoo and Company Accelerators, where I am surrounded by people at the top of their industries. I was drawn to this opportunity because of the company’s focus on collaborating with innovative startups across industries, along with the freedom and support to grow my own career. In addition to the supportive culture, the Accelerator also allows me to provide a platform for female founders to encourage innovation within an atmosphere of empowerment.
The Accelerator has given me the opportunity to blend legal and corporate development combines operations, strategy, and business development to help startups grow. While Phoenix is a budding startup ecosystem, it is growing stronger by the day. Phoenix has begun to be filled with innovative and socially conscious visionaries that want to disrupt the status quo. I want to do my part in helping these founders achieve their dreams, and while doing so, positively stimulate the economy by helping scale companies locally.
A lot can change in a year, and I am excited to see what the future brings for the accelerator!
Q: What are you the most curious about in life?
I am fascinated by the interconnectedness of all things. Combine that with a voracious appetite for reading, and this curiosity leads me to dive into topics as varied as dinosaurs to seaweed to religion.
Most recently, my interest has been focused on mushrooms and healthy buildings.
Q: In the past year, what new belief, behavior, or habit most changed your life?
Envisioning the ideal end of something, before it starts.
I got the idea after reading an article from the world-renown chef Samin Nosrat. She said, “That experience [of shutting down a restaurant that financially failed] taught me to take agency in my own professional narratives, and that endings don’t have to be failures, especially when you choose to end a project or shut down a business… I’ve learned to envision the ideal end to any project before I begin it now – even the best gigs don’t last forever. Nor should they.”
While we cannot control the future, or even know what it will entail, envisioning the end at the beginning makes experiences both more meaningful and impactful because you’re more inclined to immerse yourself in the present fully.
Q: What is your most recommended book?
The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben.
I recommend this book to everyone because it’s filled with fun facts about trees that will completely change the way you view them. Trees talking to one another or taking care of their sickly members!? I’ve said too much already; read it!
Yvette Ferreira, Director of Market Development
Q: What are the five morning rituals that help you “win” your day?
I love a strong cup (or pot) of coffee
Exercise is great for the mind, body, spirit. I’m much more pleasant to be around post endorphin-high.
Read a magazine, newspaper, book…anything non-electronic
Smiling and good morning hugs
The last one, I am able to do only recently. Send the kids off to school happy as campers. They have never been happier to go to school. Funny how a year of remote learning can change their perspective.
Q: In the past year, what new belief, behavior, or habit most changed your life?
This year was obviously unique. I’ve had a chance to create new habits. I’ve taken the time to ride bikes to school with my kids, read in the morning, go for mid-day walks, eat together as a family. These have changed my life because it allows me the time to just slow down and be present in the moment. It’s like time slows down just for a short bit.
Q: What do you consider success?
I feel that I am successful when I can make an impact and help people achieve more. This is something that has changed for me throughout my career. When I was early on in my career, I wanted to be the one to achieve more. I wanted the next big promotion, the next pay raise, to be recognized for my hard work and efforts. I was able to achieve all of those things I set out for, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without a support system, the people who guided my and taught me along the way. I can’t say I always agreed or did what I was being taught so I will say I learned some good lessons learning the hard way. I think those experiences and recognition that to succeed you really need a great team and so that’s one of the many reasons why I am part of Yoo & Co. Accelerators. I hope to be able to help others take their ideas and innovations further. If I can do that, I will feel that I have been successful.
Q: What has been one of your greatest career challenges?
One of the greatest challenges has been being able to advance in my career while maintaining work-family balance. The trajectory for finding a career path that allows for the different stages of life is often not well laid out. I have been able to find a working environment that that fits with my schedule having the flexibility and autonomy I need. I have been able to create roles that leverage my strengths while also providing the opportunity to develop in other areas. I set out with a plan to learn different functions within the start-ups I’ve worked with and seeing the potential as they grow to take on new responsibilities or evolve into new roles. Often times, there was uncertainty, an undefined job description that I had to figure out. I look at everything as a learning opportunity, a chance to gain new experiences. In doing so, I have been able to create my own career path. The challenge of finding the work-life balance continues only because I love what I do and wish I could do more of it.