HGL Advisory Board Member Cheryl Contee has built her career around politics and technology. She has started and sold multiple companies in the political space and now coaches entrepreneurs in the HGL network and beyond. She just published an Amazon bestselling book entitled Mechanical Bull: How You Can Achieve Start Up Success, based on her own work as a woman of color in this space. She is currently CEO of HGL sister company Do Big Things and Board Chair of Netroots Nation.
Growing up in DC, Cheryl has had politics running through her blood for as long as she can remember. Between watching the evening news each night with her family, a tradition that she now continues with her young son, and having a father who taught history at Howard University, Cheryl was surrounded by politics in her formative years. In addition to being a political guru, she has enjoyed incredible success in the startup world, particularly with mission-driven startups. Social entrepreneurship has kept Cheryl on the cutting edge of technology while still living her passion and making an impact.
As a political junkie and an experienced entrepreneur, Cheryl firmly believes that progressive political technology is necessary for success in 2020 and beyond. She recounts attending SXSW in 2007 and watching Twitter launch, knowing this platform would change politics forever – and she could not have been more right. “Any politician or leader who wants to reach people where they are as quickly and effectively as possible must use cutting-edge technology,” she explains.
Cheryl’s new book is about how to overcome the unique challenges that women and minorities face in the startup world. Cheryl’s startup was the first company founded by a black woman to be acquired by a NASDAQ company. To get there, she had to overcome many barriers. The book follows the lifecycle of a startup and shares learnings, tools, and resources to give those underrepresented in the startup world the confidence to turn their creative ideas into real products. The book includes anecdotes and learnings from a diverse set of founders and investors, including HGL co-founder Betsy Hoover.
Cheryl mentors and coaches aspiring entrepreneurs, and we are lucky to have her as an Advisory Board Member at HGL. She’s joined some of our accelerator intensives and has advised our founders on topics such as finding the right investors and working toward your exit strategy.