Barbara Carroll is that rarest of Silicon Valley denizens: a native. In fact, she is third-generation Californian. The Bay Area has changed pretty significantly since Barbara’s childhood in San Jose — more cars, electric cars, more gazillionaires and property prices that get crazier by the month — but Barbara assures us that the Valley has always been a very friendly place, and it remains so today.
She was raised to be self-sufficient. The youngest of four, and the only daughter, Barbara was never treated differently than her brothers. By the time she was 15, her brothers grown-up and out of the house, she and her father rode their bikes 986 miles, from Astoria, Oregon, to Missoula, Montana, roughing it in tents and sleeping bags all the way. No cellphones back then! At 19, Barbara rode her bike with her dad across Virginia.
Her grandmother thought her dad was out of his mind, taking his young daughter on epic bicycle voyages. Barbara is glad he was.
It is that spirit of independence and adventure seeking, perhaps, that has given Barbara a special definition of the word “no.” To her, it means “maybe.” She loves to negotiate everything and anything. Among the negotiations she’s proudest of? Filing an appeal to the University of California, San Diego, after her daughter wasn’t accepted. The university reconsidered, and in due time, Barbara’s daughter graduated with an M.S. in Biological Sciences.
Family too remains important to Barbara. Typical Sunday mornings find her and her teenage son hanging out in the house, trying to make each other collapse into hysterical laughter. She got her MBA, with dual concentrations in finance and accounting, at the Santa Clara University — the family’s alma mater, she jokes, because both of her parents and one of her brothers got their masters degrees there too.
Barbara has been working in corporate finance for a long time in the Bay Area — for both very large companies and teeny, tiny startups. You’re only as good as your team, and she feels lucky to have been part of some pretty great teams, OZY included. She loves being around the creative energy and, in fact, she sees herself as a storyteller. Except that she tells her stories using numbers instead of words.