Leah Scanlan, a Partner at Oak HC/FT, joined the firm in 2019 and works closely with our portfolio companies on their talent strategy, executive recruiting, team building, and management initiatives.
As an Operating Partner at Khosla Ventures, Leah has worked with entrepreneurs advising them on executive search strategy, leadership and talent development. Prior to Khosla Ventures, Leah was a partner at Daversa Partners, a leading executive search firm for high-growth technology companies and worked with the firm’s consumer Internet, healthcare and enterprise software practices. Earlier in her career, she ran marketing and e-commerce for a children’s publishing company.
Leah received a Bachelor of Science degree from Boston University and a master’s degree in business administration from Fairfield University.
I've been a communicator from day one - literally. I was 2 when I mastered using a landline, surprising my mom when I called my grandmother long-distance.
My knack for communication might seem like a natural fit for a career in talent, but breaking into tech and VC without a traditional background wasn’t easy. At age 23, I sent dozens of cold emails to venture capital and private equity firms asking to explore opportunities. One partner's unintentional response ("She better be great looking because I see no other qualifications for us") was a stark reminder of the industry's challenges. Instead of dwelling on it, I sent a powerful response, vowing not to let anyone define my capabilities.
This determination propelled me to become a partner at one of tech's premier executive recruiting firms and now one of the world's top VC firms. My drive draws inspiration from my mother's incredible resilience. She was adopted as an infant and faced the loss of both her parents before turning 20, but she defied the odds and built multiple successful businesses. Passion fuels the other part of my drive – I genuinely love what I do. I take immense pride in my team's ability to make a difference for our portfolio companies, which are undeniably changing the world.
I've worked with hundreds of high-growth companies. Here's what sets the best CEOs apart.
Stay swift and decisive. Do not wait to hire or fire in key roles.
Big companies can always outspend you for established talent. Be a magnet for undiscovered talent.
Meet new people regularly. You never know what new doors will open.
Treat everyone as a potential brand ambassador. Leave them with a crisp story about your company that they would feel excited to share with others.
Make people operations a business partner. Your team defines your company.
Don't cling to work you're good at just because you like doing it. Delegate aggressively so you can focus on running the company.
Anyone can hear, but not everyone can listen. Make people feel seen.