A Surprising Twist of Events

Each week, Startup Edition poses a single question to a group of bloggers from the startup community. This week’s question is “Why are you working on your startup?” Karen’s answer? To multiply my efforts to help women in the tech industry. And the dudes as well.

Logo for AthenticaYou may have noticed that I’ve been writing less frequently for “Use Your Inside Voice.” While I wish I could post at least weekly, I simply don’t have the bandwidth. Why? I’ve gone through a significant and unexpected career pivot. I’ve joined Athentica, an early-stage startup.

Before Athentica, I was a leadership coach, speaker, and blogger focused on helping women have great careers in the software industry. And I wrote regularly about the intersection of leadership and parenting for my blog. I was doing what I loved, and I was happy. I wasn’t looking to make a career change.

Yet I did. Earlier this year, a friend invited me to lunch to discuss a business idea he had. Over the next six months, we met every so often, and I saw his business idea grow into what it is today—a social learning site that helps online learners identify and complete a curriculum of online courses to meet their career goals. Along the way, I started seeing connections between his idea and women I met through my speaking engagements.  These women were taking online classes to improve their technical skills. Many told me that they liked online classes because they could fit them into their busy lives, but they didn’t think they were learning enough to apply to a real-world programming need. They knew they needed to take more classes and get more experience building software, but they struggled with next steps. As a result, I knew my friend was on to something.

In a surprising twist of events, my friend asked me to be the CEO of his company. I wasn’t looking for this kind of role, but I decided to consider it seriously. As I evaluated the opportunity, I became really excited. I realized that, by joining the startup, I could help more women than I ever could as an individual. With the support of my husband and kids, I decided to lean into my career once again. I’m now the CEO of Athentica. And I’m having the time of my life.

Will I continue writing “Use Your Inside Voice?” Absolutely. Just not at the same frequency as before. If you have suggestions for parenting and leadership topics you’d like me to explore, please leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!


NOTE: This post is part of Startup Edition, weekly wisdom from founders, hackers, and designers who answer a single question each week. Click here to see other answers to this week’s question: ”Why are you working on your startup?

© 2013 by Karen Catlin. All rights reserved.

6 thoughts on “A Surprising Twist of Events

  1. Congratulations! I’m excited for you, this kind of thing is SUPPOSED to happen as we go through life, and I think it will only make this column richer. And thanks for the explanation – was wondering if I inadvertently dropped off the list. 🙂

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