Tracy Killoren Chadwell knows all about career longevity.
After a career spent in law and banking — and later learning that only 2.4 percent of venture capital founders are women, Chadwell felt ready to take on a new challenge.
So, in 2016, she founded 1843 Capital, named after the year that Ada Lovelace wrote the first computer program. Her fund invests in early-stage startups founded by women who work in the “silver tech” space, which is geared at improving the lives of people over the age of 50.
Chadwell, 56, recently chatted with Mika Brzezinski on the “Mika Straight Up” podcast about career longevity, and how a longer runway gives women more time for a career reset. Chadwell also shared her tips for women to ensure and build career longevity:
Take your time
“Understand that you may have a 60-year career. The Stamford Center for Longevity recently released a 100-year roadmap that says that half of all 5 year olds will live to 100 and will have careers of 60 years broken into three 20-year sections with a different career for each time period,” said Chadwell.
She added, “This means we have a lot more freedom to pursue new interests and broaden our perspective as our age and experience grows. In the era of Covid-19, we are no longer locked in an office or chained to a desk. Also, the ‘great resignation’ has shown that we are not tied to a single career, especially if that career is not tied to our purpose. Rushing and grabbing opportunities out of fear only leads to more frustration.”
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“Follow the breadcrumbs to your purpose. To do this, it’s important to understand the skills that you have. Know Your Value founder Mika Brzezinski has done such an incredible job of communicating that all women should know their worth. In fact, it was her book ‘Knowing Your Value’ that planted seeds in my head about returning to investing,” said Chadwell.
“But first, it’s important to know who you are and what motivates you. There are many types of intelligences and skills that are valuable. If you can effectively communicate the skills that you have (and not worry about the ones that you don't), you will be much more effective,” she added.
Chadwell also said it’s important to think about what moves you emotionally. “I knew I had to use my skill set and start a venture capital fund when I learned that women only received 2 percent of venture dollars and women venture capital fund managers only managed 3 percent of venture dollars. Around the same time, I saw an Always commercial ‘#LikeAGirl’ that showed how young girls’ notions of self worth changed as they grew up. As young girls they ran strong and hard and as teenagers they ran in a weak and uncoordinated manner. It moved me greatly, and I realized it was important for me to return to my career and be an example for young women and a bridge to capital for women entrepreneurs,” she said.
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Being in nature is important, said Chadwell. “Even if it’s a small city park, it is important to get away from your computer and spend some time outside. Nature will help you quiet the noise and help you see clearly the things that are important. We are all pieces of a great big puzzle. Your piece is unique and the only way you can see this clearly is by quieting your mind,” she said.
Chadwell added, “A walk in a park and a few minutes of meditation can help you greatly. I try to spend at least 30 minutes outside in nature every day. It helps that I have dogs to walk! But that time is essential for me to have clarity in my priorities each day. If you feel like you do not have time, see secret number 1. I believe that you will get the time back.”
Tracy Killoren Chadwell is the founding partner of 1843 Capital, a venture capital fund focused on early stage technology companies. The fund has a focus on “Silver Tech” of technology for longevity and aging. In 2021, Tracy was named to Forbes and Know Your Value’s inaugural “50 Over 50” list, and she hopes to change the way we view and experience aging.