Name: Carolynn Duncan
Location: Portland, OR
Occupation: CEO, Investment Professional, Budding Philanthrocapitalist
When growing up in San Diego, Carolynn Duncan thought that she’d grow up to be an author, or maybe a garbage woman. She certainly didn’t see herself being at the helm of a butt-kicking mentoring program for small companies, or being a representative for young philanthrocapitalists and investment professionals everywhere.
As the CEO of Portland Ten, Carolynn makes it her job to foster the lives of early stage businesses with the hopes of growing ten million dollar companies in Portland. “Hence the name Portland Ten,” she explains. But this corporate success was a bit of an accident, as starting out in her academic life she didn’t know that business leadership was her path.
“I was taking an entrepreneurship class at Brigham Young University and I failed the class when I got too distracted to complete homework because I’d started a mall kiosk to test out the things I’d been learning in my class,” she says.
It was during that eye-opening year at Brigham Young that she worked at a seed fund, on a bootstrapping tech start-up team, and as part of the launch team for an Entrepreneur Center. After that, she had an apprenticeship with a venture capital fund, and trained junior analysts at another venture fund. The foundation was being laid for a career motivating others to make their businesses run.