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Matter is the kind of special community and place that compels someone to quit their first job out of college in 6 months. Of course, by someone I mean me.

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Three years ago, I was a sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill with strong opinions about what I wanted to do post-grad. I planned on going into consulting so I wanted to explore other areas, such as non-profits, start-ups, and social enterprises, during my college summers. I was and still am figuring out the kinds of work that make me come alive, but I knew inspiring leaders, a fast-paced environment, and the ability to take on many roles were important to me.

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As luck would have it, I attended the first TEDxUNC conference in February of my sophomore year. Corey spoke about the drunken walk of the entrepreneur and intentional serendipity. What resonated with me most was the idea of creating communities and experiences for yourself that can lead to adventitious learning and relationships. I decided to take my own intentionally serendipitous plunge.

I applied for Matter’s first summer internship during Matter’s first class and suddenly found myself immersed for three months in one of the most stimulating and enriching communities. I fell in love with the Bay Area and, even more importantly, entrepreneurship. As someone always anxious about failure and uncomfortable with major deviations from to-do lists, Matter’s emphasis on turning failure into an asset and the need to constantly adapt provided me with major growth. I left the summer feeling like my path had been completely altered.

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Nikita with Matter Managing Partner, Corey Ford, and fellow intern, Daniel Rue

And it was. At UNC, I helped create the university’s official mobile app (which required 3 years of patience and adaptability), I ran for Student Body President (and I lost but learned a ton), I began prototyping a venture focused on changing the way entertainers interact with feminism (and have much to learn about pitching). I chose to find ways to learn and act instead of worrying about risk.

After graduating with a major in Political Science and a minor in Business, I started working at Deloitte’s federal strategy and operations practice in Washington, DC. I had continued to be curious about consulting in college and had found a way to combine it with my interest in politics and policy. Although I know there was still much to learn from that experience, I missed the Bay Area and the start-up environment. When I was asked to be Matter’s new Chief of Staff, I couldn’t refuse the offer.

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In my new role, I am excited to create team rhythms and other systems which allow our team of six to continue taking Matter to new heights. As the gatekeeper for one of Matter’s most important assets (Corey), I hope to keep things running smoothly while ensuring that we are intentionally serendipitous about existing and new connections.

I can’t wait to empower this mission, our people, and this place. It’s great to be back at Matter.