Launching a Kickass Career: A Conversation with Linda Derschang

Tuesday night, Koru hosted a talk with Linda Derschang. If you’re not a Seattle-lite, trust us. Linda is our resident bad ass. Dubbed the “Queen of Capitol Hill,” Linda has opened many of Seattle’s most iconic and beloved restaurants and bars. And like most successful people, her path has been non-linear. Linda chatted with Koru CEO Kristen Hamilton and answered questions from the audience at King’s Hardware in Ballard, one of Linda’s restaurants. Our favorite moment came when Linda was asked what her advice to her 22-year-old self would be. She had three pieces of advice.

1. Stay open.

“Don’t have a 5-year plan. I’ve never had one. I’ve never even had a 2-year plan. I’ve known what I wanted out of life, and I’ve stayed flexible. You’ll have opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise see if you stay open.”

2. Don’t be afraid to fail.

“What’s the worst that can happen? Especially when you’re young, what’s the worst that could happen?” Things only get more complicated as you get older, Linda explained. Starting a business in your 20s carries a different risk than starting one in your 40s, when you might have a mortgage and a family to provide for. Don’t be afraid. Just do it.

3. Prioritize people and relationships.

“People are opportunities, so always talk to strangers and people you wouldn’t normally talk to with different backgrounds than your own. You never know where it might lead.” All of Linda’s stories made one thing clear – it’s all about relationships, no matter where you work or what you do. Linda told the story of Shenandoah, who started off as Linda’s assistant and now is her Marketing Director. Shenandoah stood out to Linda, not because of her years of experience (she had never worked in the restaurant business), but because of her hustle. She saw the job as an opportunity. She jumped in, said yes to everything, and prioritized helping everyone any way she could. She is now an indispensable part of Linda’s business. IMG_1164-1 It was an amazing night, and we’re so grateful to Linda for hosting this event with us. If you’re interested in coming to a future Koru event, we’ve got another one coming up in Seattle on June 2nd.

Kristen Hamilton is the Co-Founder and CEO of Koru, the leader in predictive hiring. As a technology entrepreneur and executive with a passion for impact, Kristen has a successful track record driving value for customers and investors. She co-founded e-commerce pioneer Onvia and took it public in 2000. Kristen built the organization to 500 people, raised over $300 million of investment capital, and led the M&A team to acquire and integrate four private companies in two years. Kristen then shifted focus to education and talent acquisition, as head of educator strategy at Microsoft, and COO of World Learning, where she ran operations in 66 countries.

More from Kristen Hamilton