Alumni Spotlight: Brilliance in Action


Meet Michelle Zhu.

Michelle is one of hundreds of Inside Out alumni making a BIG impact in her world. After featuring a couple of alumni who found new ways of impacting their existing organizations, we chose Michelle because she took a different direction

What professional win are you celebrating since attending Inside Out's weekend event?

I took a leap of faith and co-founded a science-based denim company, Tinctorium (sign up for the waitlist), to bring more sustainability to the fashion industry. We were accepted into a biotech accelerator program and have received some strong recognition from the denim industry.

What recent challenge did you overcome?

While we were making a lot of progress on scientific and business milestones, we weren't getting any traction in investor conversations. I began to doubt the company's "fund-ability" and even my own potential to be a successful founder. My spiral into quicksand of self-doubt and anxiety clouded my vision and detracted from other conversations.

After a follow up conversation with Inside Out, I learned to acknowledge my doubt. I now appreciate that it will probably always be present, but now I know how to deliberately put it aside in order to do my best.

I realized that I needed to embrace my full reality - doubts and struggles included. No successful startup founder is free from uncertainty or rejection. I don't need to let my worries cripple me from doing my job and sharing my vision.

What is important to you now?

Keeping a balanced mindset and appreciating every step of the journey. I took on this risky endeavor to learn and push myself. It has been liberating to understand that even learning to face rejection and overcoming self-doubt can and should be considered wins.

What are your top 3 values right now?

  1. Authenticity

  2. Humility

  3. Growth

What is one piece of advice you want to give to other women?

Take time to appreciate all the wins - and that includes happiness, love, and health. No success is worth the sacrifice of your own well-being. Gratitude is key to self-love and maintenance.

Alicia Jabbar