When a challenge arises — at work, home or in the community — Reda Hicks never sits on the sidelines
Reda Hicks is an attorney, policy consultant, military families advocate, Army wife, mom of three, and Houston’s biggest fan. Now, she’s stepped into a new role as entrepreneur with her new startup, GotSpot. If that weren’t enough, Reda wears a number of other hats, including Board Chair of Leadership Houston, VP of Civic Engagement for League of Women Voters Houston, Board of Sketch City (Houston Hackathon), Board of Texas Lyceum, Board of the National Military Family Advisory Network, and Board of Texas Veteran Spouse Network.
How did you decide to start your own company?
I started GotSpot because I saw two pain-points in my own networks that could address each other if the right connections were made. And that’s what I do — I’m a connector! So, why not me? My work with military spouses, a huge number of whom are unconventional entrepreneurs, made me keenly aware of the dearth of space available for “one-off” small business needs. And especially post-Harvey, the critical importance of patronage in keeping local Houston spots open for business became very clear. I’d been thinking around the idea of GotSpot for a long time, and Harvey made me decide I needed to go for it! With GotSpot, we are using technology to match organizations in need of short-term space for events, meetings or other purposes to building owners who can earn revenue by renting out unused space.
What a great idea! What is the biggest roadblock you have experienced in building GotSpot?
My biggest roadblock is the platform itself. Tech is the only thing about GotSpot outside of my wheelhouse, and it’s terrifying! I wouldn’t say I’ve navigated around it…yet. Rather, I’m at the foothills assessing how far I can get along the path before I call in reinforcements. Meanwhile, I’m always on the lookout for the right climbing partner.
Have you pulled the plug from your day job yet?
I haven’t! I think this is a reality for many early stage startups: you can’t always pull the plug. I’m a wife and mom of three with a mortgage and law school debt. The stability of my day job for my family is necessary to empower me to pursue something like GotSpot. If it grows the way I want, the leap will come later. For now, chasing my dreams means wearing multiple hats.
Outside of work, what best defines you?
This is a funny question because everything outside of work defines me. I joke that I’m the “Chandler” in my circles of friends because a lot of people don’t even know my day job! I think that probably what best defines me is that I love to work across segments of my community (local and global) to get things done. Cross-pollination, and the ability to speak other people’s professional and civic languages is key, and I love it!
Who is inspiring you right now and why?
Women are inspiring me right now. Women like my friends Denise Hamiltonand Carolyn Rodz (Alice’s CEO & founder) who are lifting other women up and demanding inclusion. Women like Laurie Felker Jones, who couldn’t find her tribe in Austin, so she built her own thriving female founders network. Women like my GotSpot Advisory Board, who are all kicking butt, yet still carving out time to invest in me. It just feels like now is the groundswell — the future is women because women are invested in improving what’s around them and helping others achieve.
Those are some great women indeed! Speaking of Carolyn, what has Alice helped you with the most?
Alice’s Circular Summit has been an invaluable resource to me for learning and connection. I also love the curated resource that pop into my Dashboard when I log in. In particular, I love that the platform understands where and who I am. So I’m getting local resources for things like coworking spaces and accelerators, but also a global perspective on some of the things that I’m working on, like pitching and funding!
When someone says your name, what do you want to be the description that follows?
When someone says my name, I hope they think of a connector and creative problem-solver, who’s willing and available to help. I hope they think of someone who elevates the community around her.
If people want to connect with you, how should they go about doing that?
I’m very reachable. Social, email, text, phone, and on Alice. And I’m always open to helping people making impact in their own spheres. Right now, I’m looking for three things: I’m embarking on a seed round funding; I’m looking for a CTO to help me with the tech build-out beyond my MVP; and I’m looking for SpotHolders (the space owners) to serve on my advisory board, so I can ensure that side of my marketplace has a voice in how GotSpot develops.