The truth is always best – and the news is…

Jan 1 2023

I’ve had some health challenges which I decided to keep private. But this has been creating stress for me and those around me for too long. So here’s the simple truth:

I had a brain tumor. 
If you’re interested to know what happened, it turned into a Happy Story
I am incredibly lucky and eternally grateful to so many people for so much.

In my enthusiasm to get back to life, and against the recommendation of many professionals, I came back to work too soon, ramped up too fast and took on too much. And even as my first set backs occurred exacerbated by Covid I powered through, fooling myself it was just a matter of time to recover.

But that didn’t turn out to be the case and despite the many rehab programs I engaged in enthusiastically, the complications compounded and eventually just burned me out. Following some concerning signals, doctors told me it is vital for me to reset my recovery and start by taking a long enough time out to have the best chance of regaining my health.

After a lot of struggling to find alternatives, frustration, denial, and other strong emotions, I’m finally accepting this reality and stepping back. I not only want my full health back but I really miss my resilience and want to return to a life without the current experience I have of things unexpectedly derailing or exhausting me.

This is particularly hard for me as so much of my life has been wrapped up in the work I love in innovation and entrepreneurship, and latterly in mentorship and learning to teach. Right now however, I need to take myself off the playing field, at a minimum to give everyone else a chance to play at their best, unhindered by me.

Underscore.VC is in great hands, never better actually. It’s a joy to have already seen a natural leadership transition play out the way we planned for it when starting the firm as a multigenerational partnership. Externally it’s also true as we invest in great founders that themselves become independently successful.

I’ll look forward to seeing you all in the future, when I’m on top of my health. Until then please expect nothing because then I can’t disappoint anyone. Being a type A personality that has been a lot of my challenge since my tumor as I didn’t want to let anyone down so I rushed back to work, only to feel like I let everyone down by having to take this reset. I’ve learned that lesson. Now I’m putting my own oxygen mask on first, so to speak.

Thanks to anyone who has read this for even caring. I’m indebted to you all for all I have. I am beyond lucky and grateful for all the people in my life, and that’s what I really care about. So I look forward to being there for you when you need it sometime in a healthier happier moment in my life, something I envisage with optimism, as I haven’t lost my spirit in any of this.

In the meantime, in the immortal words of the Beatles “There will be an answer, let it be.”

Update April 2024

Well I’m happy to share that the Beatles were right. If you let it be there is an answer. And I am very excited to share that for my work, it was to formally complete the leadership transition. Now that has happened and the next generation is large and in charge at Underscore VC. They SO deserve this and I’m just delighted for them. You can read more about it in the articles written about this below:

Meet Boston’s new power venture capitalist

Because this is behind a paywall, I’ll pull out a few key points and quotes:

  • A changing of the guard is underway at Boston-based venture capital firm Underscore VC.
  • Lily Lyman, a stalwart supporter of enterprise startups, has been identified as the next leader.

“Her expertise and sterling reputation among founders she invests in give her the potential to raise the firm’s profile to new heights.”

“Lyman is modest but not meek. She said being a middle child made her fiercely competitive as a young gymnast and a college athlete. Her partner Skok recalled her gusto…”

“I didn’t have to tell everybody, ‘I think we should appoint Lily,'” said Skok. “Leaders are not appointed, they’re acknowledged. And Lily is the acknowledged leader.”

“She just seems like a person who’s really comfortable being herself and not trying to be anybody else,” said Ritter, a cofounder of Emergence Capital who serves on the board of Hi Marley with Lyman. “The firm will be rebuilt in her image and that’s just what it should be.”

BY Melia Russell

FORTUNE Exclusive: Underscore VC closes its $58 million third fund as the firm completes a generational transfer

The link is not behind a firewall so feel free to read more. Allie did a great job interviewing us about the reason why the generational transition that often eludes VC firms was made easy by our team and our planning for it from day 1.


The Next Generation of Underscore VC

Written by our team, this is the inside story.

For me the photograph tells it all – these are authentic people, smiling together ready to take on the future and eclipse the past 🥳. If you choose the to read the article, you’ll see some other really important news of how one of our principals rose to being a partner, linked here:

It’s official!

Meanwhile two of our team were promoted and yet another great hire was made during all this turmoil. A tale of great human triumph that inspires me to say once again – it’s all about people. Health allowing 🤞, I’m really looking forward to supporting this team behind the scenes.

To be continued!
If you want to stay up to date on, what I’ve personally learned from all this, and how I plan to live and give healthier, happier and smarter as a result, subscribe here. because I’m not retiring from life, merely relearning how to live it, giving whatever I have left, before life leaves me 😉

Be well and enjoy the sun every day it comes up!