“So many try to dress and act like an ‘entrepreneur.’ There’s something missing—an actual venture. Change the world, not your wardrobe.” ~ Keiana Cavé, Founder of Mare

Summary: Keiana Cavé is an American Entrepreneur. She is also a student at the University of Michigan studying chemical engineering. She was honored in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2017 in the “Energy and Cleantech” Category. Keiana is one of the youngest changemakers to be featured on the list. She is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. Keiana began her own independent research on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill with a focus on nanotechnology at the University of New Orleans at 15. Now, she has two published scientific research papers and two patents. After placing second at Intel ISEF in the Earth and Environmental Sciences category for her project, “A Method for Identifying the Photoproducts, Mechanisms, and Toxicity of Petroleum from the Deepwater Horizon by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography and DNPHi Derivatization,” Keiana became a member of Tulane University’s Van Bael Lab where she continued her oil spill research with a focus on bacterial and fungal endophytes.

Nationality: American

Industry: Engineering

Q: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about entrepreneurship or networking through personal experience? on quora.com

A: When networking, know thy motivation. It might be hard to digest at first, but most of our influencers don’t have time to be our friends.

As the network that I had been building since the 6th grade started to grow, I realized that I had access to some pretty awesome people. Countless times, I have gotten carried away with contacting my favorite influencers for a one-on-one just because I could.

When I was 16, I was invited to speak at a Summit. Once I found out that Daymond John was keynoting the summit, my mind immediately went to work. I needed to get a one-on-one with Daymond. So, I did what I had been teaching myself to do ever since the 6th grade. I networked my way up to the CEO of the company hosting the Summit (this was no easy task), then asked him to arrange a private breakfast with Daymond. Everything was perfect. I even called my mom to tell her that doors were about to open for me.

Five minutes into the breakfast, Daymond cut me off and said “So…what’s your ask?” “Wha-” “You’re exceptionally smart for being able to network your way into this meeting, and I respect that. So, what do you need?” I froze. I had to think fast. “I..uh…would you consider being my mentor?” he saw right through this. It was pretty clear that he wouldn’t have time to mentor me. I didn’t go into the meeting with an ask, so all I left with was a selfie and Daymond’s business card.