I'm Back: What I Learned From The Failure of My Company

It's been just over two years since I posted to this blog. I've been focused. After my work with Burning Man and launching The Von Lila Framework, I moved to New York City. Starting in 2016, I was doing what any normal person would do after working for Burning Man: I started building a private equity firm.

For the past two years of my life, I was calling this chapter "From Burning Man to Wall Street." When people would incredulously say, "Rosie, it usually goes the other way... people go to Burning Man and then quit their corporate jobs... Why are you doing what you're doing?" I would reply, "Because we need leaders like me on Wall Street. Because we need more women working in finance. Because we need more women leading companies like Lumera."

If I had the wisdom then that I do now, I do not know if I would have had the same fearlessness. If courage is acting even when you are scared, then wisdom brings with it the need for courage

Building Lumera was an incredible experience. We built a company culture that was powerful and empowering. Fun and sophisticated. Innovative and genuine. Through Lumera I found a calling where I was able to apply my unique skillset to an industry in which I never thought I would work: high powered finance. Being a co-founder, Lumera was an expression of my soul. And it opened the halls of power. Turns out, being able to relate to people, to connect with them authentically, and to share a compelling story are highly valuable skills in business. It also helps if you are resilient (Thanks, Burning Man!) and have no fear of people saying NO and rejecting you.  

We joined the Bay Area Council as a member company, and I was voted onto the Board of Directors. We joined New America Alliance, and I was voted onto the Board of Directors. 

We treated our team members with dignity and respect. I am proud of what we created. I wrote three principles for Lumera:

1) Treat everyone with dignity.

2) Be world-class in what you do.

3) Repeat One and Two. Always. 

It ended up not working out, and I experienced my first big business failure. As I was going through that painful period, I remember telling myself, "Now I know how every entrepreneur who has ever lost a business has felt." At first I was sad. Then I was embarrassed. The phone calls that I was going to have to make... I was dreading those. 

With each call and each sharing, I found a lot of support and understanding. I was given encouragement and words of confidence. What I ultimately learned is this: 

1. When you fail, you're not alone. Many people failed before you and many will fail after you.   

2. Failure is part of life. And it is valuable. It builds character. It gives us empathy for others' failures. It bestows upon us wisdom that we can share when others fall down. 

3. And lastly, failure has taught me this: Mend your wounds, pick yourself up, and Go Again.


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