Facing Failure – Lessons from Millennial Entrepreneurs

This is a guest blog post by Vanessa Ronquillo, member of the Emerging Leaders Committee and  Account Coordinator at Triomphe Marketing. 


More than 100 Emerging Leaders and Starbucks Millennial Network members came together at the Starbucks Headquarters last month for Speaker Series Panel event on Failing Fast and Taking Risk.

Beto Guajardo, Senior Vice President, Global Strategy at Starbucks moderated a panel of successful local Seattle millennial entrepreneurs including Angela Stowell, CEO and co-founder at Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Ben Friedman, Co-CEO of Homegrown, and Asha Sharma, COO at Porch.

The panel focused the importance of taking risks and shared lessons learned from failures. Each of the leaders have taken risks, experience the trials of failures at a young age ranging anywhere from layoffs, poor management to bankruptcy, but each of them talked about how they saw their failures as positive lessons. Failure is never easy to go through, but the experience helps shape character and strengthen resilience.

1. Get Perspective– Asha Sharma mentioned that when she was abroad, she was always looking for the next thing in her career. She was moving quickly, but a mentor advised her to slow down and enjoy the journey and the people around her. That perspective was life changing for her. It is important to remember when facing the fear of failure, you just need a little bit of perspective.

2. Find Purpose– Angela Stowell highlighted that not everyone has the privilege to fear failure, it is sometimes a matter of basic needs, especially to those in the service industry. Being aware of her employees’ needs as individuals helps her find purpose and try different (sometimes risky) approaches.

3. Be Present – Ben Friedman’s early beginnings from Noah’s Bagels to starting Homegrown taught him that he had a lot to learn. He highlighted that “if you focus on the past you tend to be depressed, if you focus on the future you tend to be more anxious, and people who live in the present are at peace.” Being present helps ease away the fear of failures – both in the future or in the past.

Everyone has the ability to take risks and influence ideas because as Beto said, “It is not the responsibility of anyone to accept your ideas, but it is 100% of your responsibility to influence people about your ideas.” Take a chance and don’t fear failure. [Check out this quick video from the event.]

In your 20s or 30s? Get invited to our upcoming Speaker Series by joining United Way Emerging Leaders

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