Assessing Entrepreneurial Leadership: A Crash Course in Understanding the Traits that Make a Successful Founder


On July 18, Citrine Angels hosted a happy hour and educational workshop at Hera Hub DC. Over 30 members and guests joined for an informative workshop from Dr. Louise Klein on “Assessing Entrepreneurial Leaders.”

Citrine co-founder Allyson Redpath opened the event with a brief introduction to the history of Citrine Angels. Having moved here from New York and noticed women were sidelined in venture-backable angel investing, she created Citrine to give female founders and funders a space to grow and thrive. A front-page profile in the Washington Business Journal helped the organization take off and membership quickly grew. 

Membership continues to grow at a rapid pace - the organization has gained 12 new members in the last quarter!

Dr. Klein is a business psychologist, executive coach, and facilitator with more than 20 years of experience. An expert in distinguishing leaders who multiply value faster, Dr. Klein has assessed and coached thousands of leaders in early-stage ventures and corporations deploying high-potentials to drive accelerated growth in new ventures, analyzing what she has learned to determine the traits and characteristics that make a successful partner. She is the founder of Courage Growth Partners and the author of “Make Courage Contagious,” a practical how-to leadership book focused on equipping innovation leaders to achieve disruptive breakthrough success.

She imparted valuable information during her presentation to help potential investors better assess the people they may be funding. While the potential of the company’s product is always important, the leadership itself plays a critical role as well in the company’s success. A successful leader will maximize the deployment of her capital and get the most out of their team. Investors should analyze both the value of the founder’s idea as well as the projected effectiveness of her adoption strategy; the combination should result in a profitable exit.

Dr. Klein shared helpful steps that investors can take to evaluate founders, including reviewing organizational charts and leadership bios, investigating the practices and systems in place to bring the startup to fruition, assessing the founder’s internal and external communications skills, and reflecting upon the following questions:

  1. Does this founder have the right skill set and experience to succeed in the “rough and ready” startup world?
  2. Does this founder respect your time (punctual and prepared for meetings)?
  3. Does this founder think critically about herself and her company? For example, can she articulate how she’s solved previous problems and is she open to working to fix problems?
  4. Does this founder understand the steps to becoming exit ready?

Learn more about Dr. Klein here.


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