Spotlight on Michael Hsun / by Haley Smith

Meet Michael Hsun – Next Gen’s newest team member and VP of Business Development.

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Tell us about how you joined Next Gen Summit.

I joined Next Gen Summit through Venture for America, a fellowship for recent graduates to work at a high-performing startup in an emerging US city. VFA provides the mentorship, network, and ongoing support to spark job growth, grow businesses, and become a successful entrepreneur. I was sold from the very from the very first day I heard about Next Gen, and every day since has validated my decision to pivot from industry to the world of entrepreneurship. I couldn’t recommend VFA enough for anyone who will be graduating college next year or is a recent graduate.

What is your role?

My role as VP of Business Development is centered around partnerships. On any given day, I could be pulling together research and building case studies for a prospective partner, updating current partners on our latest initiatives or gearing up for the next Next Gen event.

Community engagement is also a crucial component of my role. I’ll be holding member meetups or calls every week, regardless of wherever I am. My goal is to connect the Next Gen community with the best partners who are committed to the success of every Next Gen-er and continually seek out ways to improve the way we interact, engage, and deliver value to our stakeholders.

To our partners, what makes Next Gen different from other communities?

We are visionaries – bold and unafraid of failure. At the end of the day, we are a family, and we will always go to bat for our tribe. Our online community and forthcoming Chapter Manager program are a testament to that mentality. No other community is as talented, influential, and committed to the success of others before themselves as Next Gen. Our partners are no exception.


How do you create work-life balance?

A VFA alumnus gave a talk at Training Camp over the summer about behaving at work during the first six weeks on the job. In the talk, he explained that we ought to strive for work-life harmony, rather than work-life balance. I couldn't agree more. "Balance" carries the connotation that in order to live life, we must take away our time and passion from work, as if work and life were two opposing, mutually exclusive forces. Harmony, by contrast, speaks to work that we live for -- work that gets us out of bed in the morning.

So how do I create work-life harmony? By making myself present in every opportunity, without expecting anything in return. This give-first, pay-it-forward mentality is what makes our community so special. I’m fortunate that I am able to work from anywhere in the world (with an Internet connection, of course) at any time. I live for our community, our entrepreneurs and our partners who mentor and support us every step of the way.


Any parting thoughts?

I think I speak for the entire Next Gen team when I say that we all love what we do. There is no greater feeling than knowing that you are able to help a young entrepreneur get one step closer to their next goal simply by the power of community. And to be able to do just that with Next Gen is truly special.

Dream job when you were 5: Pilot*

Favorite comic: Calvin and Hobbes (and Dilbert, a close second)

Craziest country you've been to: Turkmenistan

* Still partly true