"My career path has been one heck of the journey," Courteney Real told Fairygodboss. And boy, she wasn't kidding. Now the CEO and Founder of both The Real Capitalist and RiseHER, Real has experience in every aspect of the venture capital and start-up life you can imagine. What's she learned? A lot about the value of failure, the importance of role models and the power of believing in yourself.
We sat down with Real to learn more about her journey to entrepreneurship, how she keeps her mind ready for creativity and the advice she has for women who want to pursue their dreams, just like she's chased hers.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Courteney Real
CEO and Founder, The Real Capitalist and RiseHER
San Francisco Bay Area
Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
My career path has been one heck of the journey. I have done everything from being an early-stage entrepreneur to launching co-working spaces and I experience in seed-stage venture capital and early stage accelerators. I host a weekly podcast about female founders and venture capitalists called The Real Capitalist. I also run RiseHER, a community of women campaigning ladies in the start-up ecosystem! Most recently, I joined a venture capital fund called Portfolia — a venture capital that's mission is to activate women's capital to back the innovative companies we want to see in the marketplace.
What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
The accomplishment I am most proud of is actually my willingness to fail. I wouldn't have earned any of my accomplishments without the many failures I had along the way, and I don't think we talk about that enough. If you want to accomplish anything in life, it’s not going to come without a few major failures. At this point in my life, I have gotten very comfortable with the idea that I will need to fail and fail often in order to achieve all of the big goals I have in my heart.
What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
I think it’s both a blessing and a challenge, but often I am underestimated for my age. In fact, with my first company, a potential investor asked if I was an intern. I think the best way to overcome this is having a sense of humor and letting my results speak for themselves.
Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? And why?
I have been so lucky to have a Fairygodboss at every step in my career and amazing role models who push me to dream bigger. The women in my career are a large part of how far I have been able to get. I could fill a few pages of all the women who have helped me get to where I am today, but just to name a few: Amy Williams, Kate Shillo, Brande Nemire, Chenoa Farnsworth, Cecily Shepard, Asra Nadeem, Katie Russell, Trish Costello and Marcia Dawood.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I love enjoying the outdoors, going to SoulCycle and finding local coffee shops!
If you could have dinner with one person—dead or alive—who would it be?
Jimmy Buffett for a margarita and cheeseburger in paradise.
What is your karaoke song?
Anything by Shania Twain or the Dixie Chicks.
What is your favorite movie?
What book would you bring with you on a deserted island?
Tina Fey's “Bossypants.”
What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
A VW Van to renovate and travel the U.S.
What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
They worst that could happen is it doesn't work out and you walk away a little bit wiser. Just go for it, learn fast and fail often.
Why do you love where you work?
I love helping people remember how powerful and capable they are.