Tell us about your work at PS27 and why you love the company.
When I first started at PS27 in 2015, I was an intern. Once I graduated in 2016, I was hired officially as a team member. My role was Financial Analyst where I would help review new startup companies applying for funding, which was really exciting. Over the years, my role has evolved to Operations Manager, my current position. As an Operations Manager, I manage the day-to-day activities and keep the team on track to complete all tasks.
In addition, I manage our hiring processes, intern program, and compliance policies. When initially looking for an internship, I took a lot of time to find a place where I would have an impact. I believe in PS27’s core values to embrace failure, be real, and learn continually. That is one of the reasons I am still with PS27 after seven years.
“Over the years, working with hundreds of entrepreneurs and knowing we helped motivate, inspire, and teach them leadership skills has been one of the most rewarding things about this career path. The bonus is working with a team with the same values.”
A little about Shannon LoGiudice:
I am a born and raised Jacksonville native and grew up on the Northside. My dad is an entrepreneur and the founder of the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a non-profit rescue for big cats that becomes their forever home.
Growing up surrounded by lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!) contributed to my love of animals and my appreciation for hard work driven by purpose and dedication. At home, I currently have two small cats, Booberry and Tigger.
After high school, I decided to stay in Jacksonville and get my AA degree at Florida State College of Jacksonville. Then I transferred to the University of North Florida (UNF), where I got my BA with a major in Finance. At UNF, I also found an appreciation for diversity and culture through studying abroad in Santiago, Chile, and Mendoza, Argentina. Traveling has allowed me to grow as a leader and keep an open mind to global ideas.
What is your favorite memory in the innovation ecosystem so far?
My favorite memory is thinking back to the first-ever PS27 Female Founders Forum (F3). As one of the program’s co-founders, it has always been close to my heart to encourage more women to participate in venture capital and entrepreneurship. As the Program Manager for the PS27 Foundation, our non-profit, I help guide the programs for new entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. F3 started with about 15 women and has now grown eight years later to an event that hosts over 300 founders! I always feel motivated after planning and attending. Since the event is at the beginning of March, celebrating International Women’s Day is always a great way to start the year.
Tell us about your vision for the future and Jacksonville’s innovation ecosystem. Hopes and dreams for 2023?
My hope for the future of Jacksonville’s innovation ecosystem is that there are more resources, investors, and entrepreneurs that help the entrepreneurial community continue to grow.
Jacksonville is in a unique place right now, and we are slowly starting to become one of the startup hubs on the map. A growing innovation community provides more funding opportunities to startups and more opportunities to get guidance. We’ve seen fantastic growth over the past ten years, and I dream that our city, Jacksonville, will one day be recognized for global innovation in finance and entrepreneurship.
Advice for young professionals hoping to get involved in venture capital?
If you are interested in venture capital, dive right in, and reach out to the firm you have been following on LinkedIn. Ask the local venture capital firms if they have any intern positions available, and if not, ask what upcoming events they have that you can attend. Even better, ask to volunteer at that event. Finally, read about the different positions at VC firms, see which interests you the most, and find others in that specific role to connect with them.
What’s your favorite thing about startups you’ve discovered so far, and what do you want to see next?
Persistence. Driven founders won’t take no for an answer and are incredibly determined even through the lows.
“One of my favorite parts of hearing a founder’s pitch is to hear and see their passion as they explain their solution. Good founders are passionate about their craft and want everyone to know it.”
I’m excited to see more #FemaleFounders. The number of women entrepreneurs is rising, but the number that gets fundraising is low. Only 2.3% of startups with female founders successfully raise capital.
What’s the best thing startups can do to help build the innovation ecosystem, and why should they do it?
The best thing is for startups to get involved in the ecosystem, attend events, and share experiences with other founders. It’s about giving back to the community that helped build your company, and if you are still building, it’s about getting advice from founders who have been there. Everything is better when we all work together. To learn more, connect with Shannon on LinkedIn.