Elizabeth Murphy ’97

Even after a highly successful career at a venture capital fund, Elizabeth Murphy ’97 doesn’t necessarily consider herself a “finance person.” Instead, she identifies herself as an “impact person,” someone who directly benefits her local community through her work. 

Murphy is the vice president of community at Marin Sonoma Impact Ventures (MSIV), the North Bay’s first regional venture capital fund. In her role, she merges her team with investors and community partners to create a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in the area. She now works directly with 130 startup companies.

“The more startups we can get to thrive in this region, the more jobs we actually create,” Murphy said. “We're in a region of great wealth, but also huge economic disparity.”

Murphy and the company’s managing partner, Zachary Kushel, bonded over his previous work on the presidential campaign for Senator John McCain ’54. Kushel described how inspired he was by McCain’s tenacity, integrity and grit, which only confirmed Murphy’s commitment to the company. Accepting the MSIV position a year after being laid off from Glassdoor due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Murphy called this defining moment “humbling” and attributes it with opening her eyes to a different industry, which dramatically altered the trajectory of her career.

“I had to pick up and start over,” Murphy said. “And in doing so, I was able to prove to myself that I am strong, and I am capable.”

Originally a Mississippi native, Murphy chose EHS because it felt like home the moment she stepped foot on campus. She described her entire EHS career as “formative” and believes that the Honor Code became ingrained in her core and resonated in all her life choices long after she graduated.

Episcopal was only six years into co-education when Murphy arrived on campus, so she remembers being part of a community of young women who relied heavily on each other. “Our contact with the outside world as teenagers was pretty limited,” Murphy recalled. “We had each other. The relationships I formed at Episcopal were some of the most authentic ones of my life.”

Murphy hopes current Episcopal students understand the gift of diversity, as she was surrounded by friends from all over the world while on campus. “Never in my entire career have I regretted spending time with people that think differently, act differently, or look differently,” Murphy said. “I think there's a great opportunity to do that in so many ways, whether with teammates, who you're assigned to sit next to at dinner, or chapel. Just expand your friend network.”

Murphy credits The High School with preparing her for a high-level leadership role at MSIV. As a monitor, she was reminded to exhibit empathy, compassion, and respect. “I was able to try out leadership roles at EHS,” she remembered. “My confidence grew, and I began understanding the qualities I wanted to embody to be a good leader.” Through her impressive 20-year career, she’s held marketing positions at The Wall Street Journal, One Medical, and Glassdoor.

As the mother of a pre-kindergartener and a first grader, she hopes to inspire her daughters to fall in love with projects and work they’re passionate about. “They have to find something that they love doing,” she told us. “Ultimately, you're only going to thrive if you’re doing something that you believe in and something that you enjoy.”

Also a staunch advocate for female empowerment, Murphy is in the process of creating the North Bay Women’s Network to match women searching for jobs with startup companies in the area, further impacting her community for the better.