JESSICA MITSCH // Founder of Momentum Learning
I think my favorite part of this interview feature is Jessica Mitsch’s response in her biggest challenge being the faith she had in herself and her voice. How powerful is that share and I feel something many FEMS can connect with when also stepping forward in business. I hope you find inspiration in her founding story… Thank you Jessica for sharing - Violette
Her Founding Story
What was your aha moment that directed you on the path to launch Momentum Learning?
My path to Momentum was less of one aha moment and instead a long-term and broad intention to have an impact in training and education. When I graduated from College an advisor asked me what I wanted to contribute to this world and my answer was - “I want to start a school that will have a positive impact on the way we see education for the future”. At the time, I thought that would be a retirement dream or something I’d do on the side of a different career. I had no idea that intention would manifest into the career I’ve had working with an education model that is very future focused.
Did you ever dream that you would be where you are today in your business?
Not at all! I’ve always hoped that I would do work that would fulfill me and lead me to be surrounded by inspiring people. I never set out to find a specific title nor was I clear about what specific career milestones and goals would be for me - I just intended to do soul-filling work and here I am!
What were your biggest struggles and how did you surpass them?
There have been a lot of tactful challenges along the way in my career but the biggest struggle for me has been finding faith in myself and my voice.
You are currently going through your second round of funding? What has that been like and what advice would you share with other FEMS going through the same?
I do not like conflict and I do not like displeasing people. There are so many moments in raising money that feel like conflict and I definitely feel like I can’t please everyone - there’s always a compromise. That makes me greatly uncomfortable! I think my discomfort may come from the “FEM” part of me. It’s natural for women to want to care for people and make sure everyone’s happy and in business there will always be compromises.
My first piece of advice is don’t be afraid to have the conversation. You’re not going to know everything that goes into formerly raising money - you’re going to learn as you go - so just, “go” and ask good questions along the way.
What is the best advice you received that you still refer back to today?
Be in service not in servitude! For me this is a reminder to always stay in service to others - whether it’s your customers, the people you manage, or superiors and to know where the line is between being in service without overworking yourself.
What would you say to the FEM that is reading this and scared to scale up in her business?
It’s okay to be scared! It’s scary! And - it’s worth it. It’s what we don’t do in life that we regret - not what we try. You’ve got to try!
What has worked with me that I’d recommend is to get as many advisors as possible. Find people with differing opinions and don’t be afraid to ask people who are ahead of you for help, advice, and for their opinions. You aren’t the first person to start a business and you won’t be the last. Find people who have done it and pay it forward to those coming up behind you.
How can FEMS connect with you to follow your journey?
You can follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter!
Follow Momentum at @MomentumRDU on Instagram.
Jessica launched Momentum Learning in 2017 and currently serves as its CEO. Momentum serves the vibrant tech and business communities of the Raleigh-Durham Research Triangle by offering tech-based coursework and training, transforming careers and driving a modern workforce.
Throughout her career, Jessica has held integral leadership roles in tech education. Prior to founding Momentum, Jessica was a founding member of code school The Iron Yard, then serving as its Executive Director, Growth & Strategic Partnerships.
She began her career at Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source software solutions, serving in several roles for the company’s “People” team. There, she gained a deep appreciation for how tech talent training and economic development initiatives intersect.
A recognized leader and spokesperson on tech education, Jessica is a frequent guest on local and national TV outlets, has spoken at SXSW and other high-profile conferences and events, and contributed to White House initiatives to expand access to tech education. She has recently been recognized as in Durham Magazine’s “The Influencer” issue and in the Triangle Business Journal’s 40under40.
Jessica holds a BA in Religious Studies and Dance from the College of Charleston.