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About

This page is an expression of who I am, where I come from, and what I believe. It's a work in process, just like me.
Updated: November 2022

The TLDR

Hi, I'm Steve Schlafman. Just about everyone calls me Schlaf.

I'm an ICF-certified executive coach, writer, teacher, recovering VC, and former tech operator. I'm also a devoted husband and father.

I'm the founder of Schlaf & Co., a boutique coaching firm that specializes in working with founders, VCs, and leaders in transition. I also publish a bi-weekly newsletter called Lightwaves and occasionally publish longer form essays. When I'm not coaching and writing, I love to tinker on side projects such as The Founder Library, Tapestry, and The Ultimate Annual Review.

Outside of work, I love spending time with my wife and two daughters, meditating, reading, riding my bike, cooking, watching the Patriots, listening to music, and enjoying time in nature.

I split time between Manhattan and the Catskills.

My Time Line For Context

  • 1979: Born in Boston just 9 minutes after my identical twin Dave
  • 1986: Parents bought us a Nintendo, fell in love with video games
  • 1992: Became a newspaper delivery boy for the Lynn Item
  • 1994: Awarded “Most Improved Camper” at Camp Bauercrest
  • 1998: Played in the Massachusetts Super Bowl
  • 2000: Started at Northeastern University in Boston
  • 2003: Began career at Microsoft in Seattle
  • 2005: Stood on the summit of Mt. Rainer
  • 2006: Moved to New York City for a startup job and fell in love
  • 2007: Landed my dream job in Boston with The Kraft Group
  • 2010: Returned to New York City to join Stickybits / Turntable.fm
  • 2011: Broke into VC at Lerer Ventures
  • 2012: My girlfriend, Eliza, founded The Sill in our apartment
  • 2013: Married Eliza at Mass MoCA
  • 2014: Read The Power of Now and began meditating
  • 2016: Got sober because I wanted a better, healthier life
  • 2017: Quit my job at RRE Ventures and began coaching
  • 2018: Became a dad
  • 2019: Launched my coaching practice and raised a $5M "angel fund"
  • 2020: Quarantined in the Catskills
  • 2021: Walked away from my VC fund to focus exclusively on coaching

Experience

I’m an ICF-Certified Professional Coach that has coached, advised, and invested in more than 75 founders in just about every sector and stage. I’ve received certifications in Conscious Leadership, Coaching for Transformation, Mental Health First Aid, and Tiny Habits. I'm also trained in Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Men's Emotional Leadership (MELT), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Enneagram.

Prior to becoming a coach, I was a Partner and Principal at top Venture Capital funds in New York City, including Primary Venture Partners, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and RRE Ventures. Before investing, I held a variety of operating roles at Microsoft, The New England Patriots, Stickybits / Turntable, and Massive Inc. I left this world because I wanted to serve entrepreneurs in a more impactful way––by helping them increase their consciousness and fulfill their potential as leaders and humans.

I Am

Husband. Father. Girl dad. Son. Brother. Coach. Writer. Jew. Buddhist. Student of Life. Former VC. Angel Investor. Lifelong Learner. Recovered Addict. Patriots Fan. Teacher. Facilitator. Speaker. Advisor. Voracious Reader. Outdoorsman. New Yorker. Swampscotian. Bostonian. Northeastern Husky. Lover. Meditator. Creator. Solopreneur. Founder. Leader. Cyclist. Swimmer. Cook. Baker. Traveler. Adventurer. Walker. Introverted extrovert. Aspiring Vegetarian. CEOs husband. Beginner. Democrat. Independent. American. Human. Animal. Nothing. Everything.

Teachers & Mentors

  • Jim Dethmer and Dianna Chapman, The Conscious Leadership Group
  • Steve March, Aletheia
  • Sharon Brown, Leadership that Works
  • Rachel Jepsen, writer and editor
  • Jerry Colonna, Reboot

Sources of Inspiration

  • Julia Cameron
  • Doug Sillsbee
  • Alan Watts
  • Marshall Goldsmith
  • Viktor Frankl
  • Dr. Richard Schwartz
  • Sharon Salzberg
  • Rick Rubin
  • Joseph Goldstein
  • Bill Belichick
  • Yvon Chouinard
  • Pema Chodron
  • Seth Godin
  • Sir. John Whitmore
  • Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Jenifer Garvey Berger
  • Cal Newport
  • Danny Meyer
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Parker J. Palmer
  • Eckhart Tolle
  • John Wooden