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adVenturesAcademy Jalama Trip

Alissa Sears

Standing at the top of the ridge-line looking across the Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary at the beginning of this year, we felt the magic of the Jalama Valley that the Chumash consider to be the “Western Gateway to Beyond.” As Chipper shared the heritage of this rugged coastline and rolling hills, I knew this was meant for adVenturesAcademy.

The months that followed were filled with identifying this incredible group of entrepreneurs, investors and our adVenturesAcademy advisors who would comprise this remarkable team of adVenturers. Thorough analysis by our review committee chaired by Andrew Reynolds including Gillian Christie (Christie & Co), Eric Schiller (Hummingbird Brands), Zach DeAngelo (Rodeo Ventures), Dave Haynes (Greenmont), Scott Mitchell (Norwest Venture Partners) and Dave Berger (Red Dog Investments). Detailed process mapping and program development with Luis, Mark, Chipper and Johnny. Menu planning by Katie and the teams at Organic Valley and Good Eggs…and many long days put in together with the amazing team at Surfclass preparing the ranch, clearing the land and working through every aspect of the program. Every step of the way, the magic of this valley wove through it all – transforming challenges into opportunities and bringing together an incredibly special group of pioneers, game changers, visionaries and adVenturers.

That vision was realized throughout our four days together. We laughed. We cried. We adventured. We shared our visions – and our greatest challenges and deepest fears. We helped each other. We learned from one another. Teachers became students – leading a program one minute and then learning the next. “Investors,” “Entrepreneurs” and “Advisors” became friends. We shared dreams. We shared meals. We surfed together. We worked together. We got our hands dirty building fences. We made music together. We hiked. We told our stories. We learned open water rescue and saved each other. We connected deeply, and remembered to play.

I have a painting by Jeremy Collins that hangs above my desk called “Comfort Zone.” In the painting, beyond the comfort zone lies perceived boundaries, the unknown, the known and another comfort zone before the road leading to more perceived boundaries, the unknown, and another comfort zone. I’ve always looked at that painting as emblematic of the adventure of entrepreneurship – and the manifestation of all we continue to build together through adVenturesAcademy. And it truly felt like it throughout the program – from Mati Waiya opening the program with a blessing that resounded so deeply within each of us reminding us why we are all here to surfing one of the most beautiful (and challenging) breaks in California, learning from wild horses as we helped rebuild the fence line at Return to Freedom to exploring the power of balance with Joel Heath, sharing the stories of growth and challenges for our businesses and/or portfolios in the deep dive in the barn with Andrew, Zach, Bentley and Mike to learning to tell our own stories with Georgina. From connecting deeply – beyond fears and vulnerabilities – with the guidance of Blessing and Praveen to learning critical lessons of mission and scale from Anne sharing Organic Valley’s incredible story and Chipper sharing Patagonia’s journey, and so many moments in between as we connected, shared, pushed our comfort zones and continued to build resilience for the journey of growing companies that matter and leave things better than we found them – as entrepreneurs, investors and advisors. We are so deeply grateful to each of you who made this all possible and we are honored to share some of the stories.

As Mati Waiya explained, “Everything around us comes from dreams and imagination.” May we all continue to dream big and go beyond to make those dreams reality…and may we always go beyond. For that is where the magic lies.

To the adVentures ahead!

adVenturesAcademy

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