Isabel Chirase

VP of Finance

When the right opportunity comes, you know.

En route to Notre Dame. The first of many cross-country moves to start new adventures.
En route to Notre Dame. The first of many cross-country moves to start new adventures.

As 2020 unfolded, it did not feel like it was meant to be a year of radical personal change. If anything, I wanted to hunker down in the familiar and wait out the tumult. But as the story goes, fate had other plans. I now say to those who ask why I moved my whole life from Austin to Columbus seemingly at the drop of a hat, that the opportunity to join Drive Capital came at precisely the right moment in my life.

In the few years leading up to joining Drive, I completed my MBA at Texas A&M University and deepened my knowledge across a broad range of industries and problem statements as a Finance Strategy consultant. I also started to understand and prioritize my “work-life” balance and well-being needs. On a macro scale, national and global movements caused me to think introspectively about whether I was using my unique abilities to make the world a better place.

At precisely that moment, I was introduced to the Drive team. I instantly felt the energy that radiates from a group of people doing exciting and impactful work -- and having fun along the way.

As a Black woman, the prospect of working for a company that is actively nurturing new ideas and seeking out entrepreneurs from all walks of life felt meaningful and inclusive. The challenge of scaling Drive’s Finance function to enable more investments and to support our portfolio companies was one I wanted to tackle. I was finally being offered the chance to not only design and augment processes, but to have a seat at the table to make decisions.

Despite always joking that my senior year at Notre Dame would be my last Midwest winter, I was quickly drawn to Columbus. There is something remarkable happening in cities previously overlooked for the coasts. I saw it firsthand in Denver and Austin, and now, Columbus. When you appreciate all the talent that is here, the economic mobility, and the resulting sanity from more physical space - it all makes sense! Drive put its finger on that pulse several years ago, and I’m thrilled to be here in time to help it unfold.