Get to know our Endeavor Mentor Julia Wilkinson, Founder & CEO of imvest, in this mentor spotlight.
Why did you decide to join the Endeavor Network?
Endeavor attracts diverse, talented, and visionary humans into its global network and empowers them to maximize their potential. The organization has played a meaningful role in building the local ecosystems in Miami and Latin America, led by an impressive group of talented and awesome individuals. I want to support and help multiply their impact!
Tell us about your background and why you decided to become a mentor.
My background is at the intersection of sustainability and capital markets, global economic development, and diplomacy. My finance career began at Goldman Sachs in Private Wealth Management, where I first heard about ESG and impact investing. I was so excited by this emerging investment, policy, and entrepreneurship approach that I decided to dedicate my life to advancing it.
Since then, I have had the privilege of supporting high-impact female-led funds and entrepreneurs such as SV Latam Fund (portfolio includes: PayClip, Encellin, Oyster Financial, Verdigris, Combinati) and Women’s World Banking Asset Management (Ujjivan, NMB, Ananya). I have accelerated sustainable and diverse businesses in VR, clean tech, edtech, smart cities. (Xennial Digital, OBE Power, EcoShip). As an advisor to ecosystem builders and investors, I have helped them strategize on ESG and impact, map key stakeholders, and diligence investment opportunities (CIC, HFSF, SVP, etc.). I am also an active board member and former board chair.
I became an Endeavor mentor because I love to meet and connect with inspiring entrepreneurs. It is my passion to help companies strategize and scale their sustainable or purpose-driven business models while building diverse teams. After 15+ years at the intersection of entrepreneurship, finance, and impact, I am committed to sharing my unique knowledge and perspective while learning from new innovators.
What are the most important qualities and characteristics that mentors should have?
Mentors should be empathetic and practical. By listening to the team and connecting with the vision it is easier to understand challenges and opportunities. To be able to provide meaningful advice, mentors can discover and understand key strengths and weaknesses of each business with the help of Endeavor’s X-Ray process. It is also helpful to have industry knowledge or the willingness to do some research to dive deeper into the entrepreneurs’ shoes. Delivering advice requires a mixture of firmness and kindness.
Any general advice for entrepreneurs?
Many great entrepreneurs excel at soliciting advice and leveraging sounding boards for key decisions. This can be a difficult task for all humans that takes lifelong effort to perfect but is an important one to work towards.
While challenges may arise in juggling many things, it is important to make time for self-care, team building, and mindful engagement with your key stakeholders. Tune in and listen to your stakeholders, as they will offer good insights if you create a space for creativity, ownership, and expression. As you do so, stay in touch with the purpose-driven passion that brought the company and team to life, and use it as your compass.
What are you reading?
Scale: The Universal Laws of Life, Growth, and Death in Organisms, Cities, and Companies by Geoffrey West
The Vintage book of Latin American Stories Edited by Carlos Fuentes and Julio Ortega
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
These responses have only been edited for grammar.