Lakshmi Shenoy is a recent transplant to Florida and the Tampa Bay region and is the CEO of Embarc Collective. Before moving to Tampa Bay, Lakshmi was in Chicago and served as the Vice President of Strategy & Business Development at 1871, the #1 university-affiliated business incubator in the world. Prior to 1871, Lakshmi focused on growth strategies for a variety of businesses through her work at Prophet Brand Strategy, Time Inc., Procter & Gamble and Leo Burnett. She has a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from the University of Chicago and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Lakshmi was recognized as one of 20 Rising Brand Stars by AdAge in 2017.
"What I really like about the Tampa Bay region is that there is diversity amongst its people. This allows residents to have a never-ending flow of different activities, cultures, and cuisines."-Lakshmi Shenoy
Q. How would you summarize the overall workplace culture of the Tampa area? Is there something that sets Tampa Bay apart?
A. I appreciate that the people I work with in Tampa Bay acknowledge and are accepting of the multiple dimensions we all juggle in life – whether it’s taking care of our kids, helping our parents or just having a life outside of work generally. Rather than trying to live up to the (unrealistic) notion of work-life balance, I feel like many company cultures locally subscribe to “Work-Life Integration,” a phrase that I learned only when I moved down to Tampa.
Q. To what do you attribute your success?
A. Our team is just getting started, so it may be premature to deem our careers or accomplishments as already successful. That being said, I think that we’ve been able to gain traction quickly because of the support from this community. It’s rare to be able to come in as the newbie to an established region and be welcomed in a very genuine way by the existing community. That openness is what sets Tampa apart for me.
Q. What advice would you give to young people who just moved to Tampa and are looking for ways to familiarize themselves with the business and social scenes here?
A. Put yourself out there and meet as many people as you can. Florida is filled with transplants, so we’ve all been the new person at one point or another. What I really like about the Tampa Bay region is that there is diversity amongst its people. This allows residents to have a never-ending flow of different activities, cultures, and cuisines. I’m a former food blogger, so good cuisine is very important to me – reach out if you need any food recommendations at @lshenoy on Twitter. You can also signup for Embarc Collective’s The Weekly Collective, a weekly newsletter that features startup founder resources, startup news, and entrepreneur-focused events happening in Tampa Bay.