Zara McDonald: Presence, Calm, Competence, and Confidence Are the Traits I Bring, in Addition Energy and Discipline

Zara McDonald

Zara McDonald of Felidae Conservation Fund.

Tell us about yourself?

I am a lifelong visionary, pushing the boundaries of my existence since I was a young child. I have been a multi-sport athlete, yoga practitioner, meditator, and leader for decades, motivated from within toward the extreme limits of our physical, mental and emotional states.

My work in startups has spanned technology, health, ecosystems, wildlife, and longevity. I am a trained private pilot and enjoy riding my Ducati motorcycle, both of which offer additional perspectives on self awareness.

What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?

That startup founders have the answers and a clear plan. This is rarely the case, if ever. Leadership and the quality of a startup team is essential to a successful and balanced growth trajectory.

If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?

Do not ever hesitate asking for the amount of money you need. Fundraising is difficult for many entrepreneurs and it needs to be separated out from emotions.

If you don’t have a good marketing personality to effectively communicate the mission and raise funds, then find one.

What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?

Presence, calm, competence, and confidence are the traits I bring, in addition energy and discipline.

What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?

Time management is essential, and planning priorities each day and week are critical, in addition to being efficient in your approach to solving problems and tackling challenges that are simply a part of starting anything new.

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Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

This 501c3 was launched after I determined that wildlife in urban regions globally, especially apex predators, were in peril, and yet important to biodiversity and human health.

Where do you see your business in five years?

Programs that have brought our messages and awareness to all households, integrating interactive apps and machine learning to provide unprecedented insights into each of our own wild backyards.

Tolerance and appreciation for the role wildlife play in our ecosystems, and thus increasing conservation of species worldwide.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?

Collaborations and changing hearts and minds make this work especially challenging for lasting change.

Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?

We have lowered conflict tin the San Francisco Bay Area tremendously through our programs over the last 10 years, and our reach is expanding.

We have redefined human connection to wildlife in this region.

How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?

Inspirational and trustworthy. I am a low key salesperson. I believe in sharing evidence-based findings and presenting solutions via our programs.

What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?

Resilience is key, rejection is a given when you start something new, and moving past ego can open up many new doors and offer better suited opportunities and be the difference between success and failure.

And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?

Helping to preserve keystone wildlife species, while building a strong global community is important to me, as well as working on my futuristic start up projects in human longevity and health.

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The healthier we are individually, the healthier our responses to all challenges we encounter as we move through life. I value having opportunities to conduct passion projects that can impact a great many people and the state of our planet.

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