Kirsten Moorefield bristles with ambition. Start a conversation with her on team building or why motherhood makes women better leaders, and she’ll draw you in as the passion steadily builds in her voice and behind her eyes.
And yet, you could walk away from the conversation not realizing Kirsten Moorefield is an entrepreneur. Not because she lacks ambition, passion, or purpose (she crackles with all three). Rather, because she talks about entrepreneurship in a way that many of us aren’t used to.
Entrepreneurship through fellowship
Entrepreneurship, after all, is still often viewed as an individual journey—and a lonely one at that. But Moorefield, whose company Cloverleaf cross-maps employees’ personalities and skills so businesses can build their most productive teams, tends to frame entrepreneurship more as an adventure filled with colorful characters.
She’s eager, for instance, to call out the accomplishments of those around her, from members of her team to colleagues she leans on. Give her room to continue, and she’ll dive into why their personalities made them succeed. Teamwork, it seems, is part of Moorefield’s DNA.
So how can other entrepreneurs find the people they need on their journey? Here are three lessons from Moorefield’s experience co-founding Cincinnati-based tech startup Cloverleaf.
Leverage your self-awareness
Moorefield’s background, like those of many entrepreneurs, is a jigsaw puzzle. She’s promoted dog-sledding excursions in Alaska, managed creative teams as a media producer, and often acted as account manager by owning client relationships.
Those pieces showed Moorefield how teamwork impacts productivity, how people feel about their jobs, and how trust is built within companies. She applied those realizations to Cloverleaf. “We knew we needed to prioritize diversity of all types,” she says. “Not just because it is the ‘good’ thing to do, but because it would determine who our product would resonate with and the market share we would be able to gain.”
Hence, Moorefield launched with a team of co-founders, including Cloverleaf CEO Darrin Murriner. “I get so much out of working with a co-founder because we see the world very differently,” she says.
Find your inner circle
Cincinnati is a fantastic model for how to build a tech community, and a big reason why is collaboration. Rallying around the movement #StartupCincy, companies from seed-stage startups to Fortune 500 corporations embrace working together, sharing resources, and celebrating each other’s victories.
“My favorite thing about the Cincinnati tech community is that it’s genuinely a deep community,” Moorefield says. “The most authentic relationships I’ve formed as an adult are in the Cincinnati tech community.”
It’s creating those authentic relationships that ground Moorefield, rather than trying to connect with the tech community en masse. “I have a group of female founders that I meet with. There are six of us, we meet every other Thursday morning,” she says. “We celebrate each other, we literally cry together.”
Maintain a beginner’s mindset
Moorefield obsesses over customer needs and how to meet them with Cloverleaf. “I don’t want us to create anything in our product for one user,” she says. “I want us to create things in our product that are really going to massively impact and create great value for the wide base.”
And yet, for all of her resolve and passion leading Cloverleaf’s product roadmap, she strives to be the first to challenge her own perspective, always eager to hear what other founders have tried.
“The more of those stories I hear, the more pitfalls I can avoid,” she says. “We’re learning, and we learn a lot better from other founders’ stories.”
Hear more of Kirsten Moorefield’s and Cloverleaf’s story in this video.