“So entrepreneurs who are first of all they start with an idea, and they have to become somebody who’s focused on building a product or a service into someone who’s building a business. So that requires a lot of skills. You go to galvanize a team. The ability to pool in resources that they need to, obviously raise money.”
Alisa Cohn has been coaching startup founders to grow into world-class CEOs for nearly 20 years. She is the author of From Start-Up to Grown-Up, published by Kogan Page. Named the Top Startup Coach in the World at the Thinkers50/Marshall Goldsmith Global Coaches Awards in London, Alisa Cohn has been coaching startup founders to grow into world-class CEOs for nearly 20 years. A onetime startup CFO, strategy consultant, and current angel investor and advisor, she was named the number one “Global Guru” of startups in 2021, and has worked with startup companies such as Venmo, Etsy, DraftKings, The Wirecutter, Mack Weldon, and Tory Burch. She has also coached CEOs and C-Suite executives at enterprise clients such as Dell, Hitachi, Sony, IBM, Google, Microsoft, Bloomberg, The New York Times, and Calvin Klein. Marshall Goldsmith selected Alisa as one of his Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches – a gathering of the top coaches in the world – and Inc named Alisa one of the top 100 leadership speakers, and also been named one of the top voices of thought leadership by PeopleHum for 2021.
Alisa is a guest lecturer at Harvard and Cornell Universities, Henley Business School and the Naval War College. She is the executive coach for Runway–the incubator at Cornell NYC Tech that helps post-docs commercialize their technology and build companies. She serves on the board of the Cornell Advisory Council. She has coached public and political figures including the former Supreme Court Chief Justice of Sri Lanka and the first female minister in the transitional government of Afghanistan.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your journey so far? What brought you to Alisa Cohn and Associates?
A: I was a CPA and a strategy consultant, and I was a CFO of a start-up and the head of the strategy of another startup. So all of that made me realize two things. One is that I really wanted to make a difference, that it was really important for me to make a difference very substantially and also that I had a lot to say about the world of business, have an MBA, and on the CPI and structure, trained in the business. But I have a psychological orientation and I realized that I really cared about what made people tick in service of the greater good or in service of the company. So through all that I found coaching and started my own company. PeopleHum