A six month retrospective — the Braven Accelerator

By Jimmy Vo

1Life works in strange and mysterious ways. Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau once said, it is “not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” As I venture into my own frontier, taking a step back and reflecting on the experiences that influenced my life is not only important, but vital for my future success.

For decades, a glass wall has maintained an impenetrable boundary between my ambitions and reality. We live in a society full of assumed identities and expectations, most of which are out of our control. Insert any racial assumption. I was lost in a void of uncertainty and hesitation, scared to break free.

It became apparent that unless I understood myself, I could not understand others. How can I make a difference in the world — how can I influence others — if I cannot grasp my own identity?

Joining Braven was the risk that shattered my walls. It exposed me to a world of endless possibilities and created an environment where I could explore my true potential.

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Furthermore, Braven showed me that anything is possible; not only in theory, but in execution as well. With a team of peers, I utilized design thinking to develop solutions to pressing real-world problems. During the Braven Bay Area Hack-a-thon at LinkedIn and the Braven Community Challenge, my team took ambitious ideas and brought them to fruition.

The Hack-a-thon at LinkedIn was a unique experience I will never forget. Fellows were squared off into different teams (rather than their usual cohort) and were tasked with completing a challenge. The event emulated any professional setting: a group of individuals working together as a team towards a common goal. There were times where we faced frustrating setbacks or disagreed over trivial details. We soon discovered that working together — and having multiple perspectives — was necessary for our success. There was always a way, we just needed to figure it out. I will always cherish our struggles at the Hack-a-thon.

I cannot neglect the memories I had with my leadership coach, Vikki, and fellow members of team #EmbraceYourself. Through our endeavors, we all grew stronger. Our mistakes became stepping stones to learn from. Building the confidence to step outside my box would have been difficult without the support of my cohort. Thank you all for being an amazing team!

Without the mentorship of Vikki, team #EmbraceYourself would not have been the same. Her guidance has been inspirational to every member and fundamental to our development. Vikki continuously pushed us to our limits so that we would reach our true potential. Her leadership had no boundaries. Thanks for always being awesome, Vikki.

My Braven experience does not end there. Since completing the Braven Career Accelerator program and becoming a Post-Accelerator Fellow, Braven has offered me a range of resources and opportunities to further my career.

1Thanks to Braven, I now have a roadmap and the support needed to continue the journey on my professional path. Deep down, I always knew where I wanted to be, I just didn’t know how to get there. Braven was the radiance I needed to illuminate the path.

As long as I persevere — nothing can stop me.