New year. New role.
January 4, 2017
By Jeff Reynolds
I never intended to work at Trailhead. But somehow, through serendipitous events, not only did I find myself working here, I found myself a community here.
And now, after a year and a half serving as Trailhead’s first engagement director — responsible for creating the first iteration of the organization’s entrepreneurial education curriculum, the Start Series, and other programs, among other tasks — the time has come for me to hand over the reigns.
As of January 1, 2017, I will no longer be a daily presence at Trailhead. Instead, I will be moving into an advisory role, still helping with special projects and the Start Series, but handing off my other duties to the rest of the team.
I consider every day I’ve been able to spend serving, advising, and helping to build Boise’s entrepreneurial community as a gift. I’ve learned so much about entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs; in many ways it feels like one of the most self-indulgent “jobs” I can imagine.
And it only happened because of some lucky timing.
See, in the spring of 2015, I had just left my day-to-day role in Wevorce, a startup I had co-founded. I was doing some communications consulting while I figured out what was next. Somewhere along the line, I became a Trailhead member (the #2 annual member, in fact) where I could meet with clients and get out of the house to work. About that time, I was introduced to Raino as a “marketing guy” by a mutual friend and, before long, found myself doing some consulting work for Trailhead – working with the team to tighten the communications plan and launch a new website.
We all clicked, and by June 2015, I had signed on as a full-time member of the team. It’s been amazing. For the first year, we grew membership by more than 30% month-over-month. We built a community of builders and makers and hackers. We aided refugee entrepreneurs when the International Market burned down, gave scholarships to entrepreneurs in need, and connected talent with startups that could use their skills. In the first year alone, thousands of Idahoans participated in Trailhead workshops, courses, and events.
That sort of progress only happens when a dedicated team comes together to make a difference. Trailhead — from the board of directors to the staff to the members — is filled with those people. The amount of positive, get-it-done energy that is concentrated at Trailhead is like nothing I’ve ever seen, let alone been a part of.
I once heard the writer David Epstein say, “Just because you’re a bird doesn’t mean you’re an ornithologist.” It’s a rare few people who get the opportunity to step back and study what they are and why they do what they do. But thanks to my role at Trailhead, I’m one of those people. And now it is time for this bird to get back to doing what I do: building companies.
This is all the long way of saying “thank you.” To Raino, Sibylle, and the Trailhead team. To the board. To our members and friends. To Mayor Bieter, Micron, CCDC, Albertsons, and to all the others who stepped up to make Trailhead happen.
Thank you. Thank you for this gift to the community… and to me.