Contributor Interview Series Episode 1 : Rose Vitale

Meet Rose Vitale, the managing partner at DRA Family Office, bringing over a decade of finance expertise. Renowned for her advocacy for inclusivity and women in business, Rose spearheads initiatives like FundHer World Capital, empowering women-​led businesses. She hosts a finance podcast amplifying diverse voices and champions investment in underrepresented entrepreneurs. Get ready to delve into her insights and experiences in our exclusive interview.

Here’s the Interview between the Maybach Foundation (MF) and Rose Vitale (RV):

MF : Congratulations on being honored with the 2023 Inspirational Women Forum & Leadership Award !

MF : How does it feel to be recognized for your work in advancing opportunities for women entrepreneurs and leaders ?

RV : I feel very honored and grateful for the recognition. This work is not as easy as some people think it is. As I have learned, investing in female entrepreneurs is not a transactional process. It’s a people driven process, and you have to take the time to get know the founders. As the old saying goes, businesses don’t succeed — People do.

MF : Can you share more about the initiatives you’ve spearheaded in the past two years, such as FundHer World Capital and your podcast focused on women in finance ?

RV : As a private investor, I have often discovered that female founders need more than capital. So many times, I meet an amazing founder with a great idea… but they need a certain amount of guidance to get from where they are to where they need to be. They need resources and tools, such as help with accounting and operations management. In some cases, capital is the least of the value we provide to a portfolio venture. Regarding the podcast, it’s been a great opportunity to get to know some fascinating female founders on a personal level — and from there, discuss some of the important nuts and bolts aspects of financing and investment vehicles, things like equity versus debt, deal structures, and so forth.

MF : As a successful investor and serial entrepreneur, yourself, what are some of the key challenges you’ve observed female entrepreneurs face in securing capital ?

RV : One word : knowledge. Female entrepreneurs tend to need knowledge about a wide variety of things, including how to go about raising capital, along with the many specific processes that go along with launching a new venture. Term sheets can be challenging, as well as the specialized lingo that you have in the world of investing, which has little to do with getting a successful business of the ground. The risk is that a founder becomes a professional capital raiser and then misses learning about the things they really need to know to succeed, like generating revenue and managing operations.

MF : Can you share a bit about your journey in the investment world and how it led you to support female founders ?

RV : My journey has been along two paths. One is as an investor. I see great untapped potential, with no one going after it. With 2% of capital allocated to female founders, there’s a lot of amazing businesses being neglected by investors. My other path in the investment world involves being a woman, which means becoming able to see massive opportunities.

MF : What role do you believe mentorship plays in the success of entrepreneurs, and have you personally benefited from mentorship throughout your career ?

RV : Mentorship is critical. For my whole life, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. My parents were not entrepreneurs, so I had no idea what was really involved. When I was 17, I met a gentleman who had built a successful painting company. He went door to door painting homes in the DC area. He taught me everything about sales and how he went about it. I learned from him, about things like building trust with customers. He was one of my first and most important mentors. Then, when I was in my twenties, I worked for Alan Turner at Papa Johns Pizza. He taught me about management. In business it’s management, management, management, a la real estate. In my case, my partner was the good manager. I was more of the visionary. But, I’m still glad I was mentored in management.

MF : Maybach has a deep history inspiring automobile and also racing. What are your interests in this field and how are you involved ?

RV : Well, I will say that at one point, I was looking at buying the W Series all-​women Formula 1 team. So, you can see how much I love cars. I’m a big Formula 1 fan, that’s for sure. If there are opportunities where business and passion meet, I’m there. And, being from Detroit, cars are in my blood. I come from a Ford family. My grandfather worked on the line. My father worked at Ford, too. I even worked at a Ford assembly plant when I was 19, but I got fired. I love foreign cars, driving a Z3 BMW when I was 17.

MF : We’re thrilled to have you as part of the Maybach Foundation community, and we are very grateful for your last two years of support. Can you share a memorable experience from your involvement with Maybach Foundation that has left a lasting impression on you ?

RV : One of most significant impressions I formed when I became involved with the Maybach Foundation had to do with Uli, and every time he has a panel, he always invites women. He’s very supportive of women. I took note of that. One of the reasons I am a supporter of the foundation is that it feels like family to me. Every time I go back there, everyone seems to know you. I like that family feeling.

MF : What are your personal hopes for the future of mentoring and what is your advice and key message for young entrepreneurs especially young women ?

RV : My personal hope is that I will have success in building out the Female Founders Institute where I can mentor women and provide opportunities for them in some capacity. My message is this : As an entrepreneur, you can have your best day and your worst day on the same day – be ready for that.

MF : Is there anything else you would like to share with our community giving hope and inspiration ?

RV : It’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur in the US right now. I don’t care what anyone says about the economy or this or that… if you have an idea and you’re willing to do the work, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

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