Women’s Work

Betsy Peters of PossibilityU is not only a CEO – she also calls herself a “curator of possibilities.”

Her goal: To help college-bound students tap into the endless amount of information at their disposal.

Peters’ Portland-based company aims to “democratize” the college admission process through the use of special curriculum and data tools that help undergrads-to-be determine and ask important questions at a critical juncture in their lives.

As she puts it, the decisions made around college are some of the most important our young people will ever make – and they deserve more attention than the average “38 minutes” they’ll likely get with a college counselor.


What were your key needs in getting started with your business?


Learning how to embrace uncertainty and how to battle the internal perfectionist. Finding a business partner who is both a mentor and a collaborator. Having a husband who is committed to our success – the success of our family and of our individual careers.


What factors from your upbringing gave you the courage to venture out on your own?


First, I had great examples. Both of my parents were entrepreneurs. I recall my dad telling me at each bump in the road, “You can do anything you put your mind to,” and at some point, believing him. Next, each time I took a leap of faith as I was growing up – by studying in Kenya, working in Alaska, or heading penniless to a ski town after college – serendipity rewarded me with the most amazing experiences.

Q What advice would you give an aspiring female entrepreneur?


At the very beginning, make sure that you have a close-knit, like-minded group of supporters who will inspire you when you are down, teach when they are ahead of you, collaborate with you, and keep your confidences. If you can’t assemble one organically, join one of the many mastermind groups out there that fit your values and goals.

Q What’s your overall outlook on life, summed up in a sentence or two?


To quote Martha Graham: “I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing, or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated, precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which come shape of achievement, the sense of one’s being, the satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God. Practice means to perform over and over again, in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire.”

Betsy Peters enjoys skiing when she’s not on the job at PossibilityU.Courtesy photo

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