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Elisheva Marcus

Elisheva Marcus

Elisheva Marcus, VP Communications at Earlybird Venture Capital

  • Location: Berlin, Germany 

  • Title: VP Communications 

  • Company: Earlybird Venture Capital 

  • Sector: VC 

  • Degree: Master of Science in Biomedical Communications, University of Toronto

How does your usual day look like?

I’m up at 6:30, in synch with our daughter’s school departure timing. After breakfast, I take a train into our Mitte office. With a coffee in hand from our aptly-named Rocket machine, I ensure our social media goes out across our channels – conveying portfolio and team wins, insights, and events. I then tackle content editing, strategy, pitching stories to journalists, brand & communications work. I may have meetings with investment teammates, agencies, portfolio companies, or ecosystem contacts and keep aligned with a small comms team in service of big initiatives. Lunch is a simple sandwich, but Mondays we have a team lunch and on Fridays I aim to discover a neighbourhood spot. Thursdays I work from home for more focus time. If no events, I head home circa 6 for family dinner. After reading in English with our daughter, I catch up on tasks – reading or chilling before turning in circa 11 pm to start it all again!

What are the things you like the most about your job?

Diversity of tasks and topics that are both creative and intellectual. Getting to know the pan-European portfolio companies and guiding them with their press releases and comms challenges is rewarding. It is satisfying to help teammates refine their writing and ideas or align speaking or press opportunities. I’m especially passionate about our Vision Lab for entrepreneurs of migrant origins. I genuinely enjoy having an impact on the VC and start-up ecosystem.

What are some of the skills you utilise the most in your day-to-day?

Writing concise & empathetic copy and positioning complex topics quickly into core messages. This applies to both short-form and long-form content. Visualizing events & campaign outcomes is also key. Listening well and managing stakeholders with diplomacy, drive, and curiosity are all essential aspects. Being able to convey how your work supports the company overall is a great skill to hone.

What was one of your happiest days in your career and why?

After building a relationship with a TechCrunch journalist based on topic interest, I secured an exciting sequence of articles for a portfolio company. Another highlight: a surprise flower delivery from a founder after a successful project. Seeing our portfolio founders learn from each other at a Demo or Portfolio Day is also inspiring. Early career highlights include having my illustrations published in a Bay Area newspaper or working on prominent science museum exhibits.

What was the toughest career decision you ever made?

Making the leap from the Bay Area to Berlin! I had no professional network here so had to build it and prove the value of transferring my creative communication skill set to the start-up and VC realm.

What is something you had to learn to become better at your job?

How to research journalists, their beats, and how to cultivate relationships with them where you stay humble, patient, and of good service. Also, how to navigate big team dynamics to accomplish things.

How did you get to become a VP Communications?

I’ve always relied on communication in different formats: visual, scientific, marketing. After working inside a publisher, start-up, and company builder, I joined Earlybird as Marketing & PR Manager. I since developed into VP Communications – driving reputational results, uplifting the brand, and positioning the firm and portfolio in our ecosystem. Communications is a part of every successful organization, and you can use it to bring alignment and pursue the company’s mission and purpose.

What's the one piece of career advice you have for anyone interested in following your foodsteps?

As Alexis Ohanian wisely said, find and learn from someone who is 2 steps ahead of you (not miles ahead), in your career path. If you keep taking those small steps, it advances you forward.

What's your number one productivity hack / when or how are you most effective?

I separate writing from editing. You need to free-flow first to output your ideas, but then edit mercilessly! Always put the reader, user, or customer first. I need to ‘sleep on’ good writing, which means I must hop tasks and allow enough lead time so I can return and refine material.

What makes you gracefullyBOLD?

Growing up, my mom had a demanding career as a design consultant and then at the World Bank. I would offer a compliment her as she went out the door: ‘You look casual, yet elegant.’ That’s the energy I want to bring to my work and life. I am setting an example for the next generation, too.

How do you spend your weekends or downtimes?

Weekends I try to move more: ride a bike, do yoga, run in the park. For downtime, I draw with my 8-year-old, nap, or watch a movie, funny Netflix series or stand-up comedy. Laughter is healing.

How do you deal with stress and build resilience?

PR and Communications is by nature ‘always-on’, deadline-driven, and therefore stressful. To cope, I must remember to breathe, take micro-breaks, and get into nature. It helps to be in touch with other comms people who understand this intense juggle. I also push myself to take on public-speaking or mentoring roles in order to get out of my comfort zone; this helps build resilience and perspective.

What would have been your alternative career path or alternative University degree?

I studied science and Latin American Studies – even lived in Argentina. I might have stayed there, or in Canada, or the US and pursued other career options. But I’m confident it would have been a curved path no matter what, and one that only makes sense when you turn around and look back.

What's one of the last things you learnt?

I learn much from the Acquired FM and the Social Radars podcasts. They offer a wealth of knowledge spanning companies and time. Trying to produce a podcast myself, I learned they are challenging to do properly. You need community engagement, a deep and wide content plan, and commitment to project execution. It is essential to have a small team on board to help achieve that, as well as key sponsors.

If you could time-travel and meet any leader, who/where would that be?

Ancient Egypt to chat with Cleopatra! She countered societal norms and had an early understanding of the power of brand.

One word answers & quick fire round. Let's go!

  • Your superpower: Editing.

  • Favourite restaurant: Café Frieda.

  • Favourite fashion brand: Esther Perbandt.

  • Favourite beauty product: Benefit ‘Hoola’ Powder.

  • Favourite perfume: Kate Spade ‘Live Colorfully’.

  • Book recommendation: “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating” by Elisabeth Tova.

  • Next holiday destination: Prague.

  • Your hobby: Drawing.

  • Who inspires you: Kara Swisher.

Thank you Elisheva for sharing your journey & wisdom with us!

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