There are some combinations that simply belong as power duos — chocolate and peanut butter, a good book and cozy blanket, a movie and popcorn (to name a few). The same goes for Heather Personne and Amy Malloy, co-founders and managing principals of Evolve Ventures. When the two met at a ULI Trends Day, they were astonished their paths hadn’t crossed earlier. After all, both women were well known in the Valley commercial real estate market and shared several industry colleagues.
“We joke because at first, we thought we duplicated each other’s strengths too much,” Personne says. “And we were a little worried about that, but then once we started working on things we’re like, ‘no, we complement each other really well.’”
In addition to being complementary in personality attributes, Personne and Malloy quickly realized how simpatico they were professionally as well. And thus, Evolve Ventures was born.
“Even now as we advance a little bit,” Malloy explains, “when it comes to making strategic decisions about our business or when it comes to taking on new business lines or thinking about what we want to do next, we’re always on the same page without having a pre-conference first.”
One of the more significant ways in which Personne and Malloy unearthed even more of their like-mindedness was in their approach to creative business application. As self-proclaimed multi-taskers, Personne and Malloy see the value in not simply getting as much done in as little time as possible but accomplishing what can be done in an effective and meaningful way — especially as it relates to working women and moms in their community.
Personne’s love of the outdoors and hiking helped the Evolve Ventures duo decide how to marry multi-tasking with business and community-building.
“I think of hiking as this opportunity [to multitask and connect]. Often something like golf is the traditional networking activity,” Personne says, “but hiking is significantly less expensive and generally way less time consuming, more exercise and equally as effective.”
It didn’t take the two women long to realize that they weren’t the only ones who saw the benefits of taking business and collaboration to the trail.
“The idea of bringing a group of women together — colleagues in our industry — who had to overcome obstacles, who’ve had to multitask and wear a bunch of hats, who felt maybe that they weren’t able to get access to the clubs all the time was attractive — the only thing needed was a pair of hiking boots and a mountain,” Malloy says.
Hiking has since become a routine practice for Personne and Malloy and a method of collaborating, relationship building and even deal-making.
In addition to building their business in the great outdoors, the Evolve Ventures cofounders host a quarterly “Frappy Hour.” This networking opportunity, much like group hiking sessions, invites fellow multi-taskers to drop in at a convenient time throughout the day for coffee and discussion.
“It’s just nice to have something that’s accommodating,” Malloy explains. “It’s not an early morning breakfast, it’s not an after-work happy hour.”
Adds Personne, “We’ve had speakers and people running for office, or just someone we want to be able to have more exposure. Being able to bring people together and kind of start your day with that positivity, I think makes a huge difference.”