71: Stephanie Newby, CEO of Crimson Hexagon Talks About Completing a Native American Vision Quest
My guest tonight is Stephanie Newby. She’s the CEO of Crimson Hexagon and founder of Golden Seeds, an investment firm that connects women-led companies with venture investments. She’s recently completed a traditional Native American Vision Quest and went through fantastic reinvention. Stephanie went from executive at JP Morgan to the founder of her own investment firm Golden Seeds.
Can you tell our listeners a little more about yourself?
My name is Stephanie Newby. My accent is Australian in case you’re wondering. I took the long journey to the U.S via London and had a Wall Street career followed by starting my own investment company called Golden Seeds and from there became the CEO of Crimson Hexagon which is where I am today.
I recently read that you went on a traditional Native American vision quest. Can you explain what a vision quest is and why you made the decision to go on one?
A traditional Native American vision quest is a rite of passage where you go out into the wild and you come back with a vision for yourself or for your family or maybe a big vision for your town or nation. It’s important that you are out in nature and typically you go without food or water and sit in a circle by yourself for several days in a row (3-5 days traditionally).
Can you explain how the vision quest has helped you be more successful and give you better vision?
I’m not sure how it’s helped me be more successful but I think it’s helped me put some big life decisions into context. As a business leader, I think it’s really important for you to have a solid vision for the company and also to come up with ideas that you aren’t just going to stumble across through day to day. Sometimes you have to get out from the immediate decision to see everything in context. That enables you to have a bigger plan. Of course when you come back to the day job you have to have the courage to follow through with that plan that when you get back to the day job might seem a little crazy. But typically those big ideas are the best ones.
What tips can you offer others who might want to try a vision quest and are there any companies that organize these retreats that you know of?
I would have to Google that today because the company I was with doesn’t exist anymore.
You have gone from Wall Street executive at JP Morgan to the founder of an investment firm at Golden Seeds, to CEO of a technology company at Crimson Hexagon. Can you tell me a little about this? Did the vision quest play a part in this?
I can’t say that any of it was terribly planned. The way it has played out is by me taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. I’ve jumped on things when they look like fun. For me, fun has to be part of all of it. Once it becomes mundane it’s probably time for me to move on.
Many fail to realize we can actually help ourselves by helping others. Do you think the vision quest helped you understand this or has that always been your personal outlook in life?
I read a great book when I was working in London and it was called Mind Your Manners by John Mole. In that book, he explained all the different cultures across Europe and how different they were from the north to the south and how these cultures played a role in how people do business. What that book taught me was that all the things I thought of as my personal great attributes were actually largely the result of my Australian upbringing.
What is next for you? Are you going to take your foot off the gas a little bit or will you be off on another adventure?
For me Crimson Hexagon is the adventure. This is definitely taking my foot off the gas. I can’t see beyond really seeing this through with Crimson Hexagon which is just a great and wild ride.
If anyone listening wants to find out more about Crimson Hexagon, Golden Seeds, embarking on a vision quest or just to follow you on Twitter what’s the best way of doing so?
@CrimsonHexagon, @StephanieNewby, @GoldenSeeds. We’re active on Twitter so any of those would be fantastic.