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Ann Davis | Wisconsin | Use Your Network!

Tell us about your journey!

After surviving brain cancer five years ago, I decided that I needed to cast any prior fears that I had aside and figure out how to do what I was most passionate about. I traveled to over 40 countries in five continents in my 20’s, and I found my most valuable and fulfilling travel experiences to be the instances when I stayed in one place, and worked with the local population – forming relationships and learning about their culture in the process. Prior to founding Venture with Impact, I worked for 4 years as a teacher in the New Orleans and New York school systems, initially through Teach for America. Additionally, the age of 18, I founded Swim for Success, a nonprofit dedicated providing free swimming lessons and water safety skills to New Orleans Youth.

What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?

How did the idea for your business come about?

I came up with the idea for Venture with Impact when I noticed that my friends and colleagues struggled between the desire to maintain careers that provide financial security and the desire to travel and work for the social good. Life is too short not to have it all, so I founded Venture with Impact with the dream that working professionals could share in these same experiences while still working from their jobs.

Travel and living abroad has shaped who I am as a person, and I believed that it could do the same for others. This is why the mission of Venture with Impact is to expose professionals to new cultures, people and ideas so that they may be more informed and empathetic world citizens, and in the process, provide a positive social impact.

What three pieces of advice would you give to college students (young and old) locally or internationally who want to become entrepreneurs?

Take risks, be positive and optimistic, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and use your network. Don’t be afraid to tell people about your idea and spread the word. We are so afraid of failure and what others think…but most people don’t spend time thinking about what that you failed at, but if you succeed, it’s something that they notice.

If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

Nothing! Every experience I've had in my life thus far has brought me to where I am now. Ups and downs, I've loved the journey and I feel incredibly lucky.

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Optimism (yes, it's a skill!)


Problem solver


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