You’re Invited: Startup Leadership Fireside Chat Featuring Brad Feld

What does it take to build and lead thriving, diverse startup communities?

I’m co-hosting a virtual workshop on March 8th with Brad Feld (Author of Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City) to explore this topic.

In Startup Communities and his follow up book The Startup Community Way, Feld sheds light on the ingredients for successful startup communities and how to cultivate diverse and thriving ecosystems.

In my book Lead Upwards: How Startup Joiners Can Impact New Ventures, Build Amazing Careers, and Inspire Great Teams, I share a guide to maximizing your impact and delivering results in a startup leadership role. The book explains how to prepare for, earn, and succeed in an executive role at a startup company.

Join us as we discuss our perspectives on startup leadership and career development to empower the next generation of startup leaders.

RSVP to join us. Hope to see you there.

Holiday Season Book Pairing Recommendation: Startup CXO + Lead Upwards

As the winter holiday season kicks off, I’m still smiling from a fireside chat I had the privilege of co-hosting a few weeks ago with the one and only startup CEO and author Matt Blumberg and the fantastic team at Bolster, including Cathy Hawley and Andrea Ponchione. 

The chat was a conversation between Matt and me focused on topics in our complementary books, Matt’s outstanding Startup CXO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Company’s Critical Functions and Teams and my book Lead Upwards: How Startup Joiners Can Impact New Ventures, Build Amazing Careers, and Inspire Great Teams.

I’ve long admired Matt and his work and have dogeared copies of each of his books on my shelves, including the excellent new Second Edition of Startup Boards by Brad Feld, Mahendra Ramsinghani, and Matt Blumberg.

As a primer for startup leaders who want to succeed in their functions, and for startup CEOs and others who want to better manage their CXOs/build functions up, Startup CXO is an invaluable resource. I wrote Lead Upwards hoping that it would be a helpful way finder for people like me – growing startup executives who want to make an impact. CXO is an essential exec startup leadership functional guide, and our books as companion reading just makes sense.

Holiday gift idea: Startup CXO by Matt Blumberg and Lead Upwards by Sarah E. Brown

Order Startup CXO HERE and Lead Upwards HERE

Matt, the Bolster team, and I had the idea to host our session as a fireside chat in order to explicitly put our experiences and our books in conversation, calling it “Startup Leadership: Startup CXO Meets Lead Upwards,” tackling topics for startup leaders like:

  • Career Progression – creative paths/journeys we’ve seen to the executive level in startups and why those paths work.
  • “Managing the CEO” – As a startup leader, how do you manage the work relationship with your CEO? As a CEO, how do you attune to your teams and decide the cases it’s time they attune to you? Is it certain roles that must attune to you (ex. An EA) but your direct reports you learn their styles?
  • How to quit as a CXO or let a CXO go – Two weeks’ notice is not the way to go, as Matt and I agree. Executives can’t just up and quit with “two weeks’ notice” — AND executives need to be mentally prepared to be shown the door when they resign. Also, as a CEO, how do you know when an exec isn’t scaling or working out? How do you think about exiting them from the business?
  • And more!

[Watch The Recording] Startup Leadership: A Fireside Chat

I hope you enjoy these as a part of your holiday reading for yourself or perhaps as a gift to your team. Full disclosure: Matt and I share the same incredible editorial team at Wiley (shout-out to Bill Falloon and the team). Happy holidays!

P.S. Matt recently published a generous and thoughtful review of Lead Upwards on his fantastic blog. Check it out

Announcing my new book Lead Upwards


In my new book Lead Upwards: How Startup Joiners Can Impact New Ventures, Build Amazing Careers, and Inspire Great Teams, learn how to maximize your impact and deliver results in a startup leadership role. Get insights into how to prepare for, earn, and succeed in an executive role at a startup company.

The book describes every step on the way to realizing your goals—and the goals of your startup—as you navigate the gap between a management role and the executive team. It covers what to do in your first 90 days, how to build and sustain a healthy team culture, and the art of communicating results to your leadership team and board. You’ll also learn:

  • How to manage the challenges posed by leading a remote, distributed, or hybrid team
  • Management strategies based on inclusive and diverse teambuilding, alignment with business objectives, and inspirational leadership
  • Effective ways to level up your skills and stay current as your company grows

Written for current and aspiring executives at startup firms, Lead Upwards is also a guide for startup board members, founders, funders, and managers seeking a singularly insightful discussion of business leadership. Available now!

Order your copy