Periodically, we feature a member from our Team to provide a behind the scenes look at the people that make it all happen at the firm.
Featured This Month:
Dora Prado – Executive Assistant, Sierra Ventures Operations Team
What is your focus at Sierra Ventures?
I am an Executive Assistant on the Sierra Ventures Operations team. My main responsibility is to keep as much as I can off of the plates of the Partners I support so they can focus on helping their portfolio companies succeed and find new investments for Sierra’s portfolio.
How did you get into Venture Capital?
I started working as Sierra’s receptionist in 1995. Once I learned about the business and saw what Executive Assistants were responsible for I decided I wanted to become an EA. I was intrigued by the role because there is never a dull moment! I worked hard to be part of the EA team and in 1998 I started assisting my first Partner. Now I am EA to Ben Yu and Tim Guleri.
What administrative tips or resources would you recommend for entrepreneurs and startup teams?
- For administrative teams, I recommend joining groups and networks of other EAs and administrators. These groups are helpful for staying up to date with the latest trends and technologies and for meeting other people who can be helpful with various work-related questions. A couple of LinkedIn groups I recommend are The Effective Admin and Executive Assistants Org (if you’re in Silicon Valley). OfficeNinjas is a membership group that I’m part of and they publish a lot of helpful articles. There are also some good podcasts created by thought leaders in EA roles – one I like is The Leader Assistant Podcast – so check those out too!
- It’s good to build up a rolodex of vendors for events and other office-related activities. Since I support and organize events for my Partners and the firm it’s really helpful to have some go-to people to call on for catering, gifts/SWAG, and venue needs when they come up.
- Another tool I really like is Mixpanel. While it focuses on sales teams, it has some good features that can be used for administration needs as well. The feature I find really helpful is keeping track of emails I have sent out and seeing whether or not they have been opened.
What are the top three pieces of advice you have for entrepreneurs?
- The value of smiling and being friendly is underestimated. Even when you are having a hard time raising money – smile! Having a positive attitude during the whole fundraising process, even if a Partner doesn’t fund the company, doesn’t go unnoticed by the whole team.
- I never thought I’d say this when I first became an EA in 1998, but using emojis in your emails can help with engagement! 😊 Show your personality and use them from time to time.
- Always be mindful and respectful of Executive Assistants. We have a lot of irons in the fire supporting our Partners and it really stands out when the person we’re interacting with is kind and appreciative.
What is your best “life-hack”?
Keep a running list of things you want to accomplish, even the small ones. Cross them off once you complete one and add another. Seeing a list of crossed-off items brightens my day!
Anything else you want to share?
In my spare time, I spent a lot of time trying out new restaurants and lounges – pre-COVID of course! I’m a bit of a foodie and will try anything once. It also helps with finding new places for business dinners for my Partners. Since we are now eating more frequently at home, my chef skills have improved since the only dinners I have been having are the ones I make! My favorite was learning how to make pizza from scratch – surprisingly, the dough is the easiest thing I have ever learned to make.
Check out our Team Page to learn more about the Sierra Ventures Team.