Sometimes in life, you feel that the stars align and you are exactly in the right place and time and that the universe has sent you a sign. My luck came the night that my friend, Jessica Staheli, invited me to be a guest at her firm’s table at the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards dinner. Walking into the Marriot for this black tie affair, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but if there is one thing that I know how to do after years of attending networking events is how to work a room.

After circling with a drink in hand for a few minutes, I noticed a guy with a name badge that said, Shark Branding. Could this be a possible connection to the show; Shark Tank, my favorite show? As an avid fan, I had to approach and find out.

Walking up to this group of guys, I smiled and said, “Any connection to Shark Tank?” They answered in a chorus of, “Yes, we are Daymond’s guys!” I loved that answer! Daymond is my favorite shark on the show…he invests in the kind of companies that I like to work with and always has great insights and advice for the people who pitch on the show.

“I LOVE that show” I replied! “I can’t believe I am meeting you guys …Kismet! I tell everyone I know to watch that show! My two kids, Max (20) and Liana (17) love it too. Max loves to invent things and identifies with the entrepreneurs and Liana loves the competition between the sharks when they compete to invest in a company that they love. So, why are all of you here? “I asked.

“Daymond is winning the Master of Excellence award!” answered Joe Lear, a guy with the biggest, broadest smile, (who I later found out is Daymond’s right hand man) “So, Daymond is here?” I answered. “Right at our table” answered Joe, who proceeded to escort me to their table.

Seeing my name badge, Rachel Hersh, Prestige Capital, Joe asked, “are you an investment banker?” “No, I work with early stage and fast growth companies to provide cash flow and liquidity to help them grow their businesses fast.” “You’re a factor?” Joe asked, with a shocked and surprised tone.

“Yup!” “But you don’t seem like a factor, you have such great energy and a smile that lights up this place. Most factors we have met are boring and dry…” Joe said. “Well, that’s because I don’t come to my career from a finance background. But rather from a sales/business development background. I love meeting new people, meeting Entrepreneurs who are passionate about their business, who I can assist in growing their businesses to a brand recognizable name.”

“I sense that you have a creative side to you,” Joe said. “I also am a writer and watercolor painter” I replied. With that answer, Joe took me by the hand and said, “Come, let me introduce you to Daymond!”

This awards dinner was shaping up to be one of the most exciting nights in my career.

Joe introduced me to Daymond as the “cool factor”, and Daymond and I hit it off! I asked him about companies that he had invested in on the show, the choices he made, how the companies that he invested in were doing and told him that this was going to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

When Daymond won the award, he thanked his Shark Branding family, and by choosing that word to discuss his team, I knew that this was the kind of person that I would love to work with.

Since then, we have worked on financing early stage companies who are often unfamiliar with using receivables financing to grow a business.

I am glad to count Daymond and Shark Branding as my friends.

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