Bikes, the Bayou, and Decolonizing Wealth - meet our new ops manager Caroline
Our “Meet the Fam” profile series introduces new(ish) members of the Camelback Ventures team, profiling both whimsical and serious reflections.
The Camelback team has had a busy year. We ran our 2019 Fellowship, launched a new application system with new program tracks for our Fellowship, hosted a Camelback Family Reunion (more on that soon), and began developing a few new exciting ideas. During this busy time, we hired a new Operations Manager, Caroline Lutkewitte, who has been an instrumental part of keeping things running smoothly and helping us take our work to new levels. We know Caroline through the Venture for America* network which introduces recent graduates to startups in entrepreneurial cities like Detroit, Cleveland, and of course, New Orleans.
* You may remember our former Director of Creative & Marketing, Amanda Tien, also a VFA New Orleans Fellow! Learn how you can hire a VFA Fellow here.
Caroline, second from the right, and the rest of the Camelback team and 2019 Fellows at their Showcase in Oakland
Let’s start low-key. What piece of media have you been enjoying lately?
I just finished Decolonizing Wealth and am now making my way through Winners Take All. I appreciate both perspectives on challenging norms in the philanthropic and private sectors, especially critically analyzing who holds power. Anand Giridharadas of Winners Take All uses compelling case studies of people who I can identify with. Those who are hoping to create social impact through business, all the while finding obstacles in truly confronting the systems perpetuating inequity and not just individual behaviors. As a side note, I use my bike commute to listen to audiobooks, which toootttallly counts as actually reading the book.
Share one of your favorite local food places in New Orleans.
1,000 figs is about a block away from my house in Mid-City which has proven all too convenient, both as a quick take-out option on my way home, but also as a cozy setting for dinner with friends. Their falafel is some of the best in the city, perfectly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. I recommend taking it to-go and eating alongside a bottle of wine on the Bayou during sunset!
What excited you about the idea of joining Camelback Ventures?
I'm so excited to be working at an organization that sits at the intersection between anti-racism and entrepreneurship, which are two of my guiding passions. I am amazed by the experience and wisdom of my fellow team members and am humbled to have them so invested in my growth. To absorb all of that in addition to having our headquarters in New Orleans, a city I've grown deeply connected to, is truly a dream.
Share about one of the Fellows whose work really excites you.
My first day on the job was actually during one of our Summits, where I got to immediately meet all 14 2019 Fellows and hear their pitches. I was truly blown away by the passion and brilliance they all captured. One that particularly stood out was Moses, the Executive Director of Wise Young Builders. Overall, I really admire his approach to workforce development and commitment to his craft. He gave an innovative pitch for WYB that framed their mission in the language of power, rather than problems. That was extremely compelling and I'm excited to see how this approach can spread.
Many people swear by routines. Do you have a professional routine or habit or tactic that has totally changed your life for the better?
Downloading Calm, a meditation app, and religiously practicing for just 10 minutes in the morning has transformed my ability to focus and improved my overall productivity. More importantly, it's gotten me into the habit of practicing deep gratitude- for my work, my family, my friends, and everything else I get to experience in this amazing city I reside in.
What’s something that people might be surprised to know about you?
I played saxophone for nine years and led my high school's marching band as Drum Major- but don't let that fool you into thinking that I have any rhythm.
Share the names of 3 people you would love to have dinner with, alive or dead, and why.
Audre Lorde, to soak up every bit of her revolutionary spirit and wisdom. Arlan Hamilton, to interview her on her future plans to advance untapped entrepreneurs beyond just financial investment. And Lizzo, to entertain, delight, and inspire us to radically love ourselves.