Johnny Football, LeBron James and…. Charlie Mohn? Charlie, a 2013 graduate of Georgetown’s business school, also moved to Cleveland within the last year and a half to help the city’s comeback. Working with Venture for America, a nonprofit that sends recent graduates to startups in emerging cities, Charlie moved to Cleveland, found a job at DecisionDesk and is – hopefully – helping the city’s revival.
Originally envisioning a job in finance or consulting, Charlie was turned off from this path after internships in both fields. Though he sees the value of working in a larger corporate culture, and does not rule it out in the future, Charlie liked the idea of “being able to make a difference” by working in a smaller team. This led him to VFA, which was brought to his attention by a fellow member of Sig Ep at Georgetown.
Charlie has appreciated the team atmosphere of DecisionDesk, a company that makes software used to help colleges review admission applications. The team of 14 wants to see everyone succeed, he told me. “Plus,” he said, “It’s good to know that when shit hits the fan we’ll all be here ‘til midnight together.” He also said that he enjoys working for a company that produces a tangible product.
While the CEO is out selling their software, Charlie is in the office handling finances, accounting, legal work, HR and marketing. The chance to wear so many hats keeps Charlie excited to come into work, and has taught him valuable skills that can’t be learned in school. “I learned a ton in the business school, but it’s tough to replicate the real world,” he said, “There [are] a couple of moments in those first months that it’s like, ‘Holy crap, this is how the real world operates.’” Some of those moments came as DecisionDesk was restructuring and had to consider laying people off.
Overall, though, Charlie seemed very happy about his role at DecisionDesk and his part in the “social mission” of VFA. As the interview wound down we talked about Homecoming, what I was studying and his feelings towards the Cavs. Sitting in his office in a polo shirt, Charlie was confident and friendly, saying that he liked the idea of being a “big fish in a small pond” in Cleveland. Although DecisionDesk may not have the same economic impact on Cleveland as LeBron, Venture for America hopes its startups, like DecisionDesk, will create jobs and help cities across the country rebound. Plus, if you check Charlie’s Facebook, you can see a picture of him courtside next to LeBron, which, whether you love or hate the man, would be a pretty cool part of living in Cleveland.