Cris Prystay

  • Marketing
“Everyone has a story that’s waiting to be told. Be curious about the people around you. You’ll be surprised at how relationships flourish when you dive just a little deeper, and listen with empathy.”

My colleague GV once wrote that you can expand your serendipity sphere by knocking on doors, being persistent and stepping out of your comfort zone. That’s pretty much the story of my life.

My dad worked for a development agency in Kenya in the late 70’s, and when we returned to Canada we settled in a rural part of British Columbia. The nearest village, where we went to school, is so small there isn’t even a single stoplight on the main road through town. It’s an incredibly beautiful place. But stories of adventures abroad told over the dinner table sparked a deep desire to explore the world.

After university, I spent a year hitchhiking around East Africa, did an MA in Journalism, worked at a small town paper for a year – then moved to Hong Kong on spec. I had a couple hundred bucks to my name and a single suit stuffed into my backpack. After shamelessly calling friends of friends in the media, I wound up at a regional business magazine. A year later, I started applying for every job that opened up at the Asian Wall Street Journal, and even sent one editor a monthly email with lists of story ideas. She eventually broke down and hired me. I spent nine years with the WSJ in different parts of Asia, writing about markets, companies and consumers. What I loved most was diving into the personal stories behind business trends.

After a stint in the world of communications, I was ready for another change – so I cold-called Sequoia Capital through LinkedIn. Much to my surprise, I got a reply back the next day. It’s an absolute thrill to help tell stories about the Indian and Southeast Asian startups that are driving innovation and change in this exciting, dynamic region.

Skiing / Diving / Beaches / My kids / The great outdoors