How Entrepreneur Courtney Spence Seeks Advice and Mentors

In Chapter 14 of 19 in her 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, non-profit executive Courtney Spence answers "At This Moment in Your Life, Where Are You Seeking Advice and Coaching?"  Spence notes how she is seeking advice and coaching in new ways, including her board of directors.  After Spence finds herself lonely and isolated as an entrepreneur, she places a higher priority on building peer entrepreneur and female mentor relationships.  Courtney Spence returns to Capture Your Flag for her Year 3 interview.  As Founder and Executive Director, Spence leads non-profit Students of the World to empower college students to use film, photography, and journalism to tell stories of global issues and the organizations working to address them.  Spence graduated with a BA in History from Duke University.


Erik Michielsen: At this moment in your life, where are you seeking advice and coaching?

Courtney Spence:  I am seeking advice and coaching in ways that I haven’t before, for sure. I think if you’re gonna go do something big, or grow, or scale, you have to have mentors and people that can advise you. I, of course, have my parents. I have the members of our board of directors which are – we purposely have kept our board really small and they are people that I ultimately trust, and are guiding me just as much as they’re guiding the organization. I recognize that as we grow, that board of directors will need to grow and change as well, but right now it’s a really solid core group of individuals that can advise me from very different perspectives.

I would also say though that I think I am in a position where I would like to have a couple of more mentors in place, particularly female mentors, I think that I’ve never actively sought out mentorship before, and I have recognized that I desperately need that, especially from a female perspective. I think that just as I’m recognizing the need to surround myself with other entrepreneurs, I think there is a real need for – Well, let me just say this, I didn’t realize how lonely I was until about a few months ago, when I started to spend more time with other entrepreneurs through not any sort of purpose or it just – it just sort of happened. And when I was able to talk to people that had been through similar situations that I was going through and then understood that, you know, the need to be certain in times of uncertainty like that, you know, all of these things that I had been struggling with, I recognized, “Wow, I’ve been trying to do this all by myself”. And with not necessarily the adequate support.

And again, if wanna go run the most effective, wonderful organization movement that I can, I’ve gotta be supporting myself in some ways, so I am realizing that there is great value and need in having advice and mentorship.