Interview
Kirsten Green

with Kirsten Green

Stunning and Inspiring Venture Capitalist – Founder and Managing Director of Forerunner Ventures

The Stunning and Inspiring Venture Capitalist Kirsten Green is the Founder and Managing Director of Forerunner Ventures, a leading venture capital firm based in San Francisco.
She has successfully evaluated and invested in countless consumer oriented businesses, from pre-revenue startups to multi- billion-dollar enterprises. The press has lauded her for defying venture capital’s gender boundaries.

Your personal story is so inspiring. You are one of the first successful female venture capitalists in the Silicon Valley. What do you feel has empowered you along the way?

Being engaged. Being interested. And above all else being committed to finding work that gives back as much as I give to it. Relatively early on in my career I gave credit to the reality that I was willing to give a lot of myself: my time, my thoughts, my vulnerability and my hope to my work. I promised myself to be mindful of my efforts and myself and to strive to find work that not only paid the bills, but that offered me potential to grow, develop, and have fun with the hope of a reward both personally and financially.

Building a career is a journey; and while I have plenty of tendencies to be impatient I continue to remind myself of the many ways in which I am continuing to grow and benefit as part of the process.

My career to date has been a journey and I always hope to keep it that way. For good and bad I have a tendency to look ahead and think about what’s next. I keep an open mind about what the path should look like but a direction is implied in everything I pursue.
I try to be purposeful with my time. When things aren’t working, I challenge myself to reflect and consider what I could do differently. And sometimes the answer is to ease up and let go, and trust that quality work delivered with integrity will yield positive outcomes; maybe not in the moment, but in time. Building a career is a journey; and while I have plenty of tendencies to be impatient I continue to remind myself of the many ways in which I am continuing to grow and benefit as part of the process.

Your travel schedule is remarkable. Share with us how you take care of yourself with such a demanding schedule.

I used to love to jump on a plane last minute to take a meeting. It was easy enough to pack an outfit or two, toss a few beauty supplies in the bag and figure out where to stay while en route. Its always inspiring to be out in the field engaging with people and doing hands on learning. These days though, life is a bit more complicated, so planning has become important. I have incorporated the majority of my travel into a routine: same flights, same hotels, and same drivers. In fact, I’ve been doing the same routine in NYC for so long now, that the bellmen at the hotel where I stay have become my friends.
I also attempt to keep my packing simple. I’m always sure to travel with one outfit I feel ready to take anything on in, and beyond that I stick with basics and accessories in an effort to show some style.
Too often, I fail to eat while dashing between meetings, so starting things off with a decent breakfast is a “don’t miss”.

I spend a few hours each night reading, writing, or reflecting, which are essential to keeping me in balance. 9:30pm until midnight has become that sacred time.

What is your unique wellness routine?

I used to be a morning person but these days I often stay up until midnight.
One of the things I love about my life,work and family, is the level of interpersonal dealings. That’s a good thing!
In any given day, I spend 80%+ of my waking hours engaged with someone. That said, I’m actually a person who recharges by spending quiet time alone.
I spend a few hours each night reading, writing, or reflecting, which are essential to keeping me in balance. 9:30pm until midnight has become that sacred time.

Do you have some favorite beauty products to share with our readers?

Admittedly I’m a bit of a product junkie. It started because I was doing a lot of research/work in the beauty space and so constantly learning about and trying new products. It’s fun to play and challenge whether the fabulous claims of eternal youth, even skin tone, or no wrinkles are possible.
And while I’ve tried too many products to ever count, at any one point in time my beauty cabinet is fairly pared down. I’m pretty good about either parting with something I don’t love early or sticking with something until it runs out. And like most things in my life, simple feels more manageable and better.

I also love Amore Pacific Enzyme Peel. Its actually very gentle and can be used daily to cleanse; I’ve been using it for 5 years and still love it enough that I gave it to a few girlfriends as gifts this holiday.

Right now, I’m loving the new Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream; it has this perfect weight and lovely texture. I’m also testing out two products from ThisWorks: no wrinkles night repair and no wrinkles tired eyes…see a theme.
I use a 3LAB eye cream, on both my eye and lip area (desperately trying to avoid upper lips wrinkles!)
Most importantly, I am loyal to my face wash. I use Eve Lom cleanser daily; it’s a bit of a process but worth it.
I also love Amore Pacific Enzyme Peel. Its actually very gentle and can be used daily to cleanse; I’ve been using it for 5 years and still love it enough that I gave it to a few girlfriends as gifts this holiday.
Weekly I use a few masks from Tracy Martin and a rose serum from Terry.
As far as make up, daily I keep it very simple: 3LAB BB Cream, Christian Dior Matte Fantasie Shadow and Blinc Mascara, and one of about a dozen lip-glosses in my bag and sometimes a highlighter on my cheeks.
This holiday season I fell in love with Glossier’s Liquid Foil Liner.
Obviously it suits for a night on the town, but honestly it’s just as good for Saturday morning, with no other eye makeup and clear lip-gloss.

Do you have a favorite spa in Northern California?

Cavallo Point. A quick trip across the bridge and you find yourself in a whole other dimension. (www.cavallopoint.com)

Tell us your favorite restaurant in San Francisco?

Hard question to answer given the many fabulous places to dine and be treated to a culinary experience in San Francisco.
I’d have to say that SPQR is a favorite. My husband and I try our best to respect a planned Thursday night ‘date’ night out.
And while schedules and other commitments interfere too often, when we do enjoy a dinner out it frequently comes down to a neighborhood favorite. The food is consistent, original and always divine. The sommelier is amazing.

Can you mention a few of your favorite spots in San Francisco?

I cherish the fact that I am so fortunate to live in San Francisco. It’s a spiritual place for me. It’s an ideal mix between eclectic, hopeful and grounded.
The city skyline is magical and the natural beauty is second to none.
When I am able to sneak a quiet hour alone it becomes a tough choice between Ocean Beach and the cliffs along Lands-End trail.
I can recall plenty of afternoons where I’ve stolen a walk and quiet moments looking out at the sea and reflecting back at the city skyline.

Gaining the motivation and power to allocate undivided attention has helped make me more efficient at work.

As a wife, mother and business woman, do you have some secrets on managing all these different aspects of your life?

Be present. I can’t seem to get away from an increasingly busy schedule and life; which is mostly a good thing as it relates to opportunities and interests. In an effort to tackle the many things regularly on my plate I have learned to be a skilled multi-tasker.
The downside of shared attention can easily turn into missing the details, or nuances, where often a true experience exists.
Of course, intellectually, I understood the concept of ‘presence’, but until I had my first son, I lacked the motivation to make real changes. He has this amazing energy and is so full of wonder that I just don’t want to miss an opportunity to experience him.
Every day brings something new, and he is constantly and rapidly evolving.
Yesterday is something you can never get back. He literally makes the importance of cherishing each moment tangible. Gaining the motivation and power to allocate undivided attention has helped make me more efficient at work.
This frees up valuable time and makes me more engaged in my life outside of work.

Katie von Strasser

Katie von Strasser is a former ballerina with a background in fashion and art. She is a devoted advocate for people with disabilities. Katie has a passion for travel and all things beautiful.
She resides in San Francisco with her family. (Photo by Darryl Nitke)

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