28 Jul IU Angel Network Member Spotlight – Ashley Nichols
Ashley Nichols is a Senior Manager and Technology Consulting Executive at Accenture, a global professional technology services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud, and security. Nichols graduated from Indiana University (IU) in 2011 with a degree in journalism and a minor in Spanish. She received her Masters of Higher Education from Vanderbilt University. Over the course of her consulting career, Nichols has worked with organizations such as the Department of State, the World Bank, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. In her extra time (which there isn’t much of) she works on her debut book, “Tech to Save the World,” being published in August 2021.
Nichols is an educational member of the IU Angel Network. We sat down with her to discuss her career and her membership in the network.
What did IU teach you?
One of the things I learned in the Ernie Pyle School of Journalism is the “inverted pyramid.” When writing, journalists often lead an article with a big bang and then narrow down the topic from there, getting more and more specific. We talked about how people’s attention fizzles out over a certain amount of time and if they are not hooked or interested, they won’t engage at all.
I find that advice to be relevant in writing articles for social media engagement and business presentations. In the business world, many people like to start with the background and lead up to the “big idea.” I always take a different approach. I start with the answer. Then, if you want to know how we got there, I outline the path we took and the supporting information for the reader.
I also learned lots of storytelling techniques. Professors would often tell stories of different experiences, expeditions, or other scientific efforts in class. It was the way they would relay this information in a story format that made it interesting and engaging. I use storytelling techniques to make technology consulting more engaging and interesting.
What drew you to IU Ventures and the IU Angel Network?
I never thought of myself as an investor. But the more I learned about IU Ventures and some of the educational programming they offer, it seemed approachable and made me realize I didn’t need to be an expert to get involved.
I love sitting in on the educational sessions and listening to the different new venture pitches. I appreciate engaging with other IU-connected folks and hearing questions from the more experienced investors. This participation helps me sharpen my own understanding of the domain sector, the business model, marketing approach, etc.
What do you do as an educational member of the IU Angel Network?
As an education member, I participate in all the educational presentations, listen to the company pitches, and attend the networking events. The only difference is I am not an investor. Being an educational member is a great opportunity to learn more about the world of venture capital in an approachable and welcoming environment.
What is it like being a woman in venture capital?
Whenever I look up a class or do reading in the venture investing space there typically are not a lot of women, people of color, or other minorities represented. However, IU Ventures has done a great job of involving women—both as founders and as members of the Angel Network. They highlight many women guest speakers that are leaders of other venture funds and there is a concerted effort to create a very welcoming, open, learning-focused space where all are welcomed.
What do you suggest for someone interested in the IU Angel Network?
The IU Ventures team does a great job sharing information on social media. Follow IU Ventures on Twitter or LinkedIn. After that, reach out to them to learn more. It’s that easy.
Follow IU Ventures on Linked and Twitter @IU Ventures. To learn more about the IU Angel Network visit iuventures.com.