Exeleon Magazine

Carrie Colbert: A Story of Colors and Much More

Carrie Colbert Curate Capital

In a world where creativity and business often seem to be at odds, Carrie Colbert stands out as a shining example of how the two can seamlessly intersect. A digital influencer, Carrie has made a name for herself by empowering women to succeed in business and entrepreneurship.

As the Founding and General Partner at Curate Capital, she is on a mission to provide capital, mentorship, and strategic planning advice to female entrepreneurs and female-driven companies.

Additionally, through her work as a fashion and lifestyle influencer, Carrie has become known for her bold and vibrant use of color, and she has made it her mission to help other women embrace color and express themselves boldly.

With a proven track record of driving results, it’s no wonder that Carrie is a sought after speaker, panelist, mentor, and advisor. In this interview, we to learn more about her journey, her passion for empowering women, and how she is using the power of color to inspire and uplift others.

What according to you makes one a powerful woman? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership?

To me, power begins with a deeply rooted sense of self-awareness. Knowing who you are and playing to your strengths are two keys to embracing your power.

Beyond that, I may be biased as an investor, but I think being in charge of and knowledgeable about one’s finances makes a woman powerful. I grew up in a very small Texas town where it was impolite to talk about money, which I think is a similar story to many women’s upbringings.

When I began working for a rapidly growing energy company, that changed quickly. Hilcorp embraced a very entrepreneurial culture. Two key components of that culture were an open book management style and an ownership mentality. All employees knew how their actions could impact the bottom line – and thus our own financial success, because we all had equity in the company. I quickly realized the power of ownership.

Though I now work in a completely different industry, I’ve carried many of those lessons forward in how I run Curate Capital, wherein I share all financial updates, both good and (heaven forbid) not so good with our internal team and investors. Transparency is so critical for women to feel more invested, both figuratively and literally, in the outcomes.

Talk to us about your growing up years. What is your earliest memory as a leader? 

One of my first jobs growing up was at the small-town golf course where of course it was predominately men that played day in and day out. Very quickly I learned to speak confidently, upsell at the Pro Shop, and hold my own even when surrounded by those with much more life experience than myself. I think that was one of the first opportunities for me to learn how to get comfortable with failure, which is an absolutely vital skill as an entrepreneur.

Beyond that, I was always a high performer. I was my high school class valedictorian, the top of my engineering class, an officer in organizations many times over, and so on and so forth. For me, performance was a way to rise above my meager beginnings.

Carrie Colbert

Your branding uses a lot of vibrant and expressive colors. What is your association with colors and what it represents?

Yes! I have always loved color! Early on in my career, I succumbed to the workplace norms to wear (in my mind) boring neutrals. But soon thereafter, I learned to embrace my individuality and express my personality via my style selections. On Instagram I coined the hashtag #MoreColorPlease because I truly believe surrounding yourself with vibrancy and positive energy is the only way to live your life. It sounds corny, but something as simple as slipping on a bright pink dress or rainbow sweater can totally turn my day around.

From a business perspective, it was super important to me when launching Curate Capital to use color and bold branding as a way to stand out from the crowd. At the time, just a few short years ago, the sea of venture capital firms was pretty monochromatic. VC websites all had very conservative, traditional colors and branding. Navy blue was everywhere! So, my branding was an opportunity to set ourselves apart from the very first impression!

From spending almost two decades in the corporate sector to starting a venture capital fund that supports and empowers women entrepreneurs. What has been the journey like for you?

It’s been a rollercoaster, that’s for sure. Up until the point that I started Curate Capital, I had really been very blessed to see a steady positive progression in my career. I rose in the ranks at an oil and gas company, I “retired” and grew an Instagram following and influencer status, and then as more and more female founders were approaching me on social media with their incredible investment opportunities, I realized I had to do more.

Little did I know that I would hear more “no’s” in my first fundraise with Curate than ever before in my life. There were tears of frustration and joy, moments of fear and triumph, and in the end, we were just ecstatic to surpass our initial goal of $10 Million by 50%! Our portfolio companies are each thriving as they grow at their own paces, and we believe so strongly in the women behind them.

While my professional experience may seem really disjointed, it’s actually not. Experience teaches us lessons all the time if we are open to learning. In hindsight, I can look back and connect all the dots. No experience is lost or wasted. It has all contributed to what I’m doing now – which I consider to be my professional sweet spot, the culmination of many years of hard work.

Looking at this journey, if you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Technically speaking there are a few details of structuring a venture capital fund that I would probably do differently, but those were lessons I had to learn the hard way. Overall, I can honestly look back and say that every moment in my life has led me to where I am today. My husband and I are raising two phenomenal children while I grow Curate Capital, and while it’s wildly busy and chaotic at times, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m grateful for the chance to craft a life I love.

As an entrepreneur, speaker, influencer, and mother, what does a day in the life of Carrie Colbert look like? How do you ensure work-life balance?

Well, while there are certainly times of chaos, I’d say age has taught me to fiercely filter through opportunities. I don’t try to be all things to all people. I’m very clear on my priorities during this season of life. My priorities are (1) taking care of myself, (2) taking care of my children, and (3) building my business. Any invitations or opportunities that come my way have to benefit one of these three priorities – or it’s a no for me. A different season of life may look differently. But for now, my focus on these three things is of utmost importance to me.

Finally, talk to us about the impact of Curate Capital, not only in terms of supporting women-owned businesses but also how it is increasing awareness about the untapped potential of this market.

We’re extremely unique in the sense that 80% of our investors are women, and the vast majority are individual investors, not giant private equity firms or financial institutions. We’ve also seen that our investors are primarily from Texas and the Midwest, whereas most venture capital dollars are coming from the East or West Coast, as you might imagine. I think all that data supports our gut feeling that Curate Capital is opening the eyes of a whole new demographic and generation of women who want to put their money where their mission is, so to speak.

If no one else is going to invest in female founders, of course it’s going to be our fellow women! We know for a fact that companies led by women outperform their male counterparts, so we’re not only creating a movement, but we’re also making excellent business decisions as well. And the best part is, the sky’s the limit!

This interview is part of Exeleon Magazine’s celebration for Women’s History Month. The entire month we are releasing multiple interviews, stories, and articles of established as well as emerging women entrepreneurs.

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