Meet The Connect Team: Sam DeLeon

Feb 3, 2022

Get To Know Connect’s Data & Impact Manager

My name is Samuel DeLeon, but people just call me Sam – short and simple. I was born in UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles and grew up in Ventura County. Where I played basketball, surfed, practiced piano, and developed as a young boy. It was a small town that I lived in, beautiful and quiet, full of farmlands from the mountains to the horizon. Not much to do besides hangout with friends, chill at the pool, or late night runs to the donut shop. It was a nice quiet place to grow up. I spent most of my elementary and middle school years playing outside and hanging out with friends, typical childhood of a kid in the 2000s. That took a change once high school came around. I ended up going to a different school than the rest of my friends in middle school and I felt alone when everyone seemed to have a group that they could talk to. I started to distance myself from the high school crowd, not going to any big dances or events and just focusing on going to school. It was a little tough but it gave me some time to think. I began reading books that my Dad shared with me, and listening to videos of lectures that I could find on YouTube about Philosophy and Psychology. I took a lot of time to myself to learn and reflect. It allowed me to think and assess what I really wanted once high school was over. Although, all I remember deciding was that I wanted to be able to do whatever I wanted, when I wanted to. Kind of a childish dream if you ask me now, but it still set the foundation for who I am today, not taking no for an answer and forcing me to take responsibility for my own decisions and actions.

I came out of high school headed towards San Diego State University to study Business Management with an Emphasis in Entrepreneurship. College was a great experience, it taught me a lot about myself and my ideals, while giving me the opportunity to explore my curiosity and dive into many different fields. Funny thing is, entrepreneurship never really focused on one subject but broadly encompassed multiple subjects and industries. That was one thing that I really enjoyed about my major. It allowed me to learn, not just about a single subject or area but about everything that was going on around me. We learnt about trends, new technologies, and how an idea goes from ideation to full-fledged business.

Although, I felt like there were always two hats that you wore as a college student. The hat of a student, going to classes, taking tests, and learning about your major, and a more constant hat that you wore as a human being, learning about proper communication, ideals, and leadership. It’s a hat that I wore a lot during my years in college, in my free time learning about communication, the power of language, and discovering my own ideals that I carry throughout my daily life. It was a time for me to explore and question many new ideas and concepts, from religion, to philosophy, to culture, and arts, giving me the ability to identify patterns and connections in deferring topics. It was a sublime period of growth for myself, allowing me to build a foundation of the complex world we face. It’s unfathomable to comprehend the amount of development that I felt over that short period of time.

I think it mainly started freshman year being thrown onto a floor of thirty plus strangers that you are essentially living with, having to react and adapt to everyone’s living styles and finding ways to not step on each other’s toes. It was an amazing practice in learning about communication and leadership. Luckily, I took Communications my first year with Mr. Rapp, I loved that class. Each day we learned something new about communication, indirect, direct, face to face, or in a group, I would take what I learned and practice it at home in the dorms. Yet it was disappointing to see other students not be as engaged in the class, seeing it as common knowledge or something that they already knew. Even so, I took what I learned and continued to develop my communication skills throughout college, where it transitioned into learning about leadership and how to be an effective leader. I read a lot of books about these subjects, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen R. Covey and many other books, learning about the different types of leadership and developing my own unique style. Although my interests did not begin and end at leadership, I jumped at the opportunity to try anything or discover something new, sometimes walking into random classes, sitting down and listening in my free time.

Simply following my curiosity, I dove into multiple varying subjects from anthropology to language, history to religion, and various other subjects. Asking myself, what do I believe? Is this right? Is this wrong? Truly developing the foundation of my understanding of the world. The more questions I asked the more I saw a clearer picture. I began to see that everything in this world is connected. History has elements of language and communication that develop the course of time. Religion teaches us elements of psychology and leadership, and even art – holding elements of history, language, culture and change that directly influence the course of the world. Once I realized this, I began to see that everything in life is a conversation, an open conversation that everyone can partake of and leave their stamp on the history of time. There are an infinite amount of conversations that are occurring in a single point in time, funneling down from the much larger conversation of life itself to smaller conversations like; the future of Earth, to the future of a nation, to the future of a state, city, school, group, and individual. However, one idea, one new way of thinking can influence the trajectory of the future as a whole. We can see multiple different conversations that have done just that, the computer, the phone, ready made art, punk music, video games, television. The list goes on and on, ever since the beginning of time. However, each of these new ideas and ways of thinking have influenced the timeline, other industries, and the conversation of how we live our lives today. The great thing about it is the fact that the development of the conversation and sharing of new profound ideas is essentially what entrepreneurship is, developing the timeline of the future and progressing us into a new age.

That leads us to where I am today, working at Connect helping startups within San Diego find Venture Funding and studying this phenomenon as the future of the world is developed in front of our own eyes. I hope that gave you a sense of who I am, why I wake up every single morning with the desire to start the day anew, and why I learn from every single thing that comes my way.

Hope to speak to you soon, Sam.

Connect Sam DeLeon
Sam DeLeon

Sam DeLeon

Data & Impact Manager

Sam dives into the San Diego startup community, assists startups, and speaks to VC’s to boost the San Diego innovation economy.