The Berkeley InSITE Dinner Series was fortunate enough to have Crystal Hutter as its guest speaker in late October. Intelligent, charismatic, and down to earth, Crystal was more than insightful and gave a unique look into the journey and life of a successful entrepreneur.
Crystal joined Edmodo in 2010 as part of its founding team, and has fulfilled many roles in the organization including CEO, COO, and current Advisor to the company. A software engineer by trade, she has an impressive and diverse background that includes technical consulting at Oracle, private investments in global sectors such as mobile banking and microfinance, and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
During the dinner, she told us about her journey that led her to success. A journey made by taking chances, serendipitous opportunities, and a lot of hard work in between. She shared with us the many defining moments in her journey, along with the personal lessons she had learned. Her insights were practical, simple, and powerful.
Lessons like don’t be afraid to take chances and seize opportunities. Life is full of once in a lifetime opportunities and she encouraged us to not be afraid to seize one. Some of the defining opportunities of her story were because she had been willing to simply take a chance and seize a big moment; a moment that for her for had made all the difference. She also spoke to the value of great mentorship, and how so much of her success was derived from finding and keeping great mentors in her life. These tangible lessons resonated strongly with the many aspiring and current entrepreneurs in the room.
A great aspect of the InSITE Fellowship is its incredible network. This network provides the ability to meet truly inspiring people within entrepreneurship. Having Crystal, as our guest was one of those great opportunities. Getting a first hand glimpse into Crystal’s journey painted a picture for the Fellows in the room. A picture that revealed that a successful entrepreneur’s journey, while seemingly far distant for most of us, can begin right around the corner. A picture showing that we never really know where life will take us. And a picture exuding a simple truth; that with diligence, persistence, and boldness any one of us may be back someday to give advice of our own.
Michael Ebel is an InSITE Fellow in Berkeley and an MBA Candidate at the Berkeley Haas School of Business.