This month, we were thrilled to welcome Alejandra Fernandez to our team as our new director of marketing. As part of our team, she’ll spearhead Hyde Park Venture Partners marketing while also working with our portfolio companies to help them with their marketing and public relations initiatives.
Alejandra’s a Chicago-native with experience working in Chicago’s startup ecosystem. She studied journalism at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and then joined the marketing team at MATTER, where she worked closely with healthcare startups at all stages of growth.
We sat down with Alejandra to discuss her background, why she loves working with startups and what makes her most excited about her new role with us.
Why did you decide to study journalism?
Alejandra: Like a lot of college freshmen, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life when I went to college. All I knew was that I loved to read and write, so I decided to follow the obvious path and study english literature. However, while I enjoyed my english classes, I realized I wasn’t challenging myself as a person. Holing up in the library reading felt very safe to me — I was still in my comfort zone and that’s not what I wanted from my college experience. I decided to transfer to journalism because I could still improve my writing and storytelling skills, but in a very different way than I pictured before. Going to protests, asking people tough questions, and really everything that reporting requires challenged me as a person and forced me to grow in ways I don’t think I would have otherwise.
What drew you to MATTER and working with startups?
Alejandra: While I decided not to be a reporter, my journalism experience made me eager to continue working in a fast-paced environment. I didn’t want a job that felt a lot slower than what I experienced in college and reporting. So after some freelancing, I decided to look at working at a startup. When I had the opportunity to work at a startup incubator, and actually have insight to hundreds of startups all at different stages of growth, I really jumped on that opportunity. I love working with and learning from people who aren’t following a traditional path because I don’t want my career to follow a traditional one.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Alejandra: This last year has given me a new appreciation for nature and the outdoors, which I know a lot of people have experienced as well. It’s ironic because I’m a midwest native, but I love the mountains and long mountain hikes. In the last year I went on a lot of road trips to different national parks, which wasn’t something I’d done much of before or thought of as my ideal vacation — I used to think of myself as just a city person. I’m really glad I discovered that part of myself.”
How has your background influenced your motivations and career?
Alejandra: I grew up in Pilsen, a primarily hispanic neighborhood in the southwest side of Chicago. Since going to Northwestern and then working in the Chicago startup ecosystem, I feel like I’ve experienced two very different versions of the city. The hispanic, working class version I grew up in and the much more privileged version I became a part of in college and the entrepreneurial community. I love working in the tech and startup ecosystem in Chicago, but I hope it becomes more reflective of the diversity that I think is a defining characteristic of this city. I hope that in my role at HPVP and future roles in the startup world, I can have some small impact on merging the two versions of Chicago that I’m a part of, and helping people from different backgrounds, whether it’s racial or socioeconomic, feel more comfortable in this world.”
What makes you most excited about your role at Hyde Park Venture Partners?
Alejandra: One of my big focuses will be working closely with our portfolio companies to help them with their marketing, and that’s the part I’m most excited about. There are so many different types of companies in HPVP’s portfolio — from ones in the food delivery industry to crypto startups. There’s so much I can learn from them, and the idea that I can help support a startup that might one day have a huge impact is really exciting. I’ll be reaching out to a lot of our companies as I get settled, but I would encourage any startups in our portfolio to see me as a marketing resource and contact me anytime.”
We’re excited to have Alejandra at Hyde Park Venture Partners and hope you’ll just us in wishing her a warm welcome! Our firm is continuing to grow and find new investment opportunities in the mid-continent, and we’re looking for two more members to join our investment team to support that growth. Learn more about those roles here.