Erica Mackey is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder and CEO of MyVillage, an in-home childcare startup based in Bozeman.
Co-Founder and CEO
- Entrepreneur/Business Owner
- Public Speaking
Erica Mackey is a serial entrepreneur who recently co-founded MyVillage. As CEO, Erica is building a high-quality, community-driven solution to the national childcare shortage by empowering home-based childcare and preschool providers with the tools they need to grow a successful business that puts kids and families first. MyVillage’s model mixes the best parts of franchising (quality, connection, support) with the best parts of a do-it-yourself startup business (freedom, control, independence).
Previously, Erica co-founded and was COO of Zola Electric (previously Off Grid Electric), the world’s first massively scalable off-grid electric company, connecting over 1 million Africans to affordable solar energy. Her ventures have raised more than $250 million from world-class investors including Tesla, Paul Allen, and others. She was a fellow at the Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and she has been recognized among Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs (2012). She was a delegate for the Academy of Achievement (2014) and was awarded the Zayed Future Energy Prize (2015).
How I Want to Participate in PowerHouse
What motivates and inspires you?
My daughters, Izzy and Roxanne. Without question I am primarily driven by the desire to create the best future for my kids.
I’m also motivated to help create successful new business owners through MyVillage. Every day, I’m inspired by the fact that I get to work with mostly brand new women entrepreneurs who have a passion for making their neighborhood and community a better place for children.
Who are your personal ‘Sheroes’/Female Role-Models?
The three women on MyVillage’s executive team: Elke Govertsen, Lisa Walthers, and MyVillage’s co-founder, Beth Szymanski.
I met Elke through HATCH and admired her right away for her vision and creativity at Mamalode. Lucky for me, I was able to hire her as Chief Community Officer at MyVillage and now get to work with her every day. I appreciate her authentic leadership style, her tenacity, and her emotional brilliance.
Lisa heads up sales and marketing. Her children go to school with one of MyVillage’s investors, and initially, she came on as a consultant. I couldn’t imagine building this business without her because she’s incredibly values driven. She also loves to win, but only when the win is earned. She’s a dog with a bone when it comes to solving problems. She calls it as she sees it, which inspires me to do the same.
Beth and I met in business school. She built a plastic recycling company in Tanzania, where I had co-founded a solar energy company. I worked with her husband and she worked with mine. Ever since I met Beth, I’ve found myself seeking out her professional advice on everything I do. She is measured, strategic in all she does, and ‘mind-blowingly’ hardworking. No one plays the long game like Beth. I learn something from her daily.
What technology/literature/art/seminars/ideas do you love, and recommend to others?
“How I Built This” podcast from NPR
The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
Peloton – Whether it’s Peloton or any other on demand exercise app where you can do 15 minutes between kids and your busy life, it’s amazing to have a motivating outlet.
How do you reboot?
Getting outside. Exercise. As a CEO, you are engaged with people all day. I am an extrovert, but I also need time to think. This mostly happens when I’m exercising or while having a quiet moment in nature. Oddly, this can also happen for me in airports, or on planes. I have found plane time to be the one moment that I can fully check out. It is even better when the power on my devices die and I get to watch cheesy RomComs.
What is your biggest accomplishment, so far?
Intentional design of my life. That includes being able to live in Montana and do meaningful work here.
When I see something broken that matters to me, I figure out a way to fix it. Childcare was an acute problem for me, and I’m proud that I fixed it for myself and am now on a mission to solve the same problem for as many young families as I can.
What is the biggest career risk you’ve ever taken?
Starting a business in Tanzania. I was driven to live in Tanzania because I felt passionately about delivering clean energy to rural Africans. It’s not where my roots were and it wasn’t a place that was easiest to start a business. I picked it because of the pain point I wanted to solve, and I figured out a way to make life a bit better for those who call it home.
What is the ‘lasting legacy’ you hope to leave?
Confidence, particularly among the young female professionals I work with and my own young daughters. I want them to feel like they have what it takes to go out and create something out of whatever inspires them or lights them up inside. I want to instill in them the confidence to make it happen.
Words of wisdom you want to share with Montana women?
Don’t let your head get in the way of your intuition.