Meet a Mentor: Kathy Lovell

July 23, 2015

KathyLovellEntrepreneur and business leader Kathleen Lovell volunteered as a mentor and judge for Startup Quest® programs in North Florida. Startup Quest® mentors are key in helping teams learn and apply the concepts of business development and entrepreneurship, and Kathleen has taken the goals of the program one step further by creating her own company, Clean Water By Nature, LLC from a Startup Quest® technology developed by Dr. Norma Alcantar at the University of South Florida. We recently caught up with Kathleen to discuss some of the lessons she learned from her experiences with Startup Quest®.

Name: P. Kathleen Lovell.

Region: Jacksonville, FL

Entrepreneurial Experience: My entrepreneurial experience stems from a solid foundation of more than 30 years in corporate America, which has provided the opportunity to learn from and better understand the needs of early-stage ventures. One of the catalysts of my involvement in Startup Quest® was serving as the CEO and founder of Powers Device Technologies, Inc., where I commercialized a technology developed at Florida State University. I have also chaired the Emergent Growth Fund for the past eight years, which coupled with my connections to investors across the Southeast, has been extremely beneficial in determining how to best approach the commercialization of technologies.

Why I Mentor: From my involvement as the chairwoman and a member of the Emergent Growth Fund, I have seen firsthand the ample opportunities that stem from – and are available to – startups. I am a firm believer that job creation has a multiplier effect. One job creates more jobs, and Startup Quest® is successfully encouraging economic development in Florida by teaching participants how to develop comprehensive business plans and improve their chances for success.  This is an invaluable 10-week program, and I felt my expertise in this field could greatly contribute through my role as a mentor.

Best Mentoring Moment: My best mentoring moment was the challenge of the program as a whole. Startup Quest® only lasts 10 weeks, so you must quickly utilize your team’s strengths to determine the best path forward. For example, one woman on my team had never done anything but social work and counseling. However, in time, we discovered her creativity, which greatly benefitted our team. As a mentor, you have to bring people from diverse backgrounds together, maximize each person’s inherent strengths, and navigate the team’s dynamics. There will undoubtedly be bumps along the way, but at the end of the day, you’re providing your teammates with a set of tools they can utilize in any business path they choose.

Advice to Entrepreneurs: Start with a clean sheet of paper. Hone your passion and commitment and always be detail-oriented. Be prepared to work for free, because there is no promise of success .It’s all about taking a risk. Without the risk, there is no reward. Dive in, work hard, and give it your all to get the best possible outcome of success.