After growing up alongside “several lawyers in the family,” it’s probably destiny that Aubrey Minix’s first full-time job after college is at Ontra. Here, she currently serves as a Business Development Associate and a member of OntRainbow, Ontra’s LGBTQIA+ affinity group.
In celebration of Pride Month in June, Aubrey sat down to discuss her journey to join Ontra, what Pride Month means to her, and what she hopes to accomplish as one of the members of the OntRainbow LGBTQIA+ affinity group.
I see Ontra is your first full-time position after college; How did you choose this organization to start your career?
After growing up near Austin, my original plan after college was to go into the stock market. I was at TD Ameritrade for a while. I did an internship with them, and they invited me back for a second year at the company. My goal was to become a trader, so I was studying to take my Series 7 and Series 63 exams.
I was at home reading all of these trading textbooks and realized I didn’t have any passion for it. I also disliked the environment — while being in the room when the market opened, watching others become super excited, I kept thinking, “Wow, I just don’t like this.”
So, the very week after I told TD Ameritrade I didn’t want to take their full-time offer, Ontra found me on LinkedIn and reached out about possible employment. Everyone there seemed happy. A year later, it’s been amazing. The company culture is so cool. That’s what got me from the very first interview — the idea behind Ontra.
I have several lawyers in my family; my aunt is high up at a firm, my cousin works with her, and some of my friends that I knew in college are also becoming lawyers. I got to know them really well. What always stood out to me was they’re surrounded by filing cabinets and constantly shifting papers. It’s incredibly slow and inefficient. Making the legal industry more modern seemed revolutionary.
What’s your day-to-day work like? What are you most proud of since you’ve been here?
On a day-to-day basis, I’m mostly prospecting. I’m the first face that private equity, venture capital, and hedge fund clients speak with when learning about Ontra. So, I spend most of the day researching firms, prospecting for clients, and figuring out the best person to approach. It’s a lot more research-based than just cold calling, and it’s all about persistence and what’s best for their firm. You have to go back and go back again, repeatedly, to the same person; I’ve had people say “No!” pretty adamantly and then come back six months later to sign an agreement.
It’s a very team-focused job. There’s a lot of collaboration between the business development associates, and our bond is very strong. It’s too bad we’re spread out all across the United States because we’re so close; a lot of it is sharing experiences and talking about best practices. It’s a very judgment-free zone with continuous improvement. What do you think is wrong? What could we do differently? It’s highly collaborative.
For the thing I’m most proud of here, I would have to say as a 23-year-old, five-foot-four woman, successfully engaging with powerful CEOs and CFOs at conferences has been highly gratifying. Before attending these conferences, I was terrified; even though I’m super peppy and love talking to people and building relationships, I was scared of how it would translate to in-person events. That older male – younger female power dynamic is always there, and as a woman, you have to fight ten times as hard in this industry for people to trust your intelligence.
So, I was nervous about going to that first conference, but I killed it there and had so much fun. They kept sending me to conferences and gave me unending support from the sales team. I’m more confident as a businesswoman and much more confident in the workforce.
Can you tell us about OntRainbow, Ontra’s LGBTQIA+ affinity group?
I was actually the first woman in OntRainbow when it started! OntRainbow is a support group for LGBTQIA+ people within Ontra. We realized there wasn’t any kind of group at Ontra for LGBTQIA+ people to connect with others who share their same experiences. A lot of them come from the same backgrounds. I’ve been lucky enough to work for pretty liberal, open companies all my life, but many people at Ontra come from corporate law — traditionally, a heteronormative, extremely white, and extremely straight environment. That’s just the market.
Ontra is the first place they’ve worked where they feel entirely comfortable being themselves. So, our group wants to be proud and lead initiatives. I’m the leader of the non-pride month initiatives. Every month, I work with a colleague to plan a related event for a socializing moment to let people know they’re not alone. They’re spaces where people can talk about heavy things occurring — things in the South right now, for example — and realize they’re not alone while connecting with people with the same background.
What sort of events have you planned with OntRainbow? What are you planning for the future?
So far, we’ve done a trivia night and hosted a social hour. For Pride Month, we’re partnering with AVVA to help host a Drag Queen Bingo event hosted by Charlie Hides, an LGBTQIA+ icon and the oldest RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant ever. Our goal is to host an event at least once a month.
I think it’s essential to have these social groups to really personify the company values. Some people may spend more time at work than with their families, so you want to display the type of culture that you can get involved in. It’s part of being a well-rounded individual. Many people at Ontra bring their “full self” to work, which is very exciting. They want to become friends with their coworkers and get involved in things that interest them. It’s participating for your happiness, which is very nice.
Finally — what do you like to do for fun? And as an Austin resident, what do you love about the city?
I’m one of those people that dabbles in 25 million hobbies! I’m learning to knit and crochet right now. I want to learn to sew my own clothes and be more sustainable. I started painting and making sculptures recently, trying to regain all that creativity I lost when I was 10!
Austin is a fantastic food city, and it’s great for concerts. I go to live music all the time. I live five minutes from Lake Travis and often go there with my friends. I’m super close to the queer scene in Austin and go to a lot of clubs in the area. My grandmother is visiting for a whole week in July, and I’m taking her to five drag shows that week. I think I’m becoming a grandma myself; I love to cook, crochet, paint, drink wine, and read!