MOLLY DEMAREST

“My job at American Underground evolved from developing buildings to developing people.”

“American Underground started literally underground, in a basement on Durham’s American Tobacco Campus. It was the least desirable space on campus, but it was affordable, there was great creative energy, and entrepreneurs began moving in.”

“Today American Underground is the leading startup hub in the South, with five locations in the Triangle providing space, community and resources to 300-plus companies. We are one of eleven Google for Entrepreneurs partners in North America.”

“In 2013, I was the second person hired. I had a degree in accounting, had worked with entrepreneurs, and I had a passion for Durham because it’s my hometown.”

“When he hired me, our chief strategist, Adam Klein said, ‘’We don’t know what this is going to be, but are you in?’ And I said yes. I was responsible for running the business side of American Underground. As we expanded I had to figure out how to design and operate space to meet the needs of growing companies.”

“These companies are at the extreme cutting edge, and to be successful we need to be constantly thinking one or two steps ahead of them. ‘What do you need?’ and ‘How can I help you?’ are the questions I ask most often.”

“As Senior Director of Operations & Talent, my focus now is less on developing space and more on connecting growing companies with the talented people they need. That also means connecting local people and jobs.”


“I’ve spent a lot of time learning who I am, and how I’m wired a little ‘differently’.”


“Durham is my home. I was raised here and went to public schools here. When I was in high school I kept getting in trouble for getting distracted in class. Even though I was strong in math and critical thinking, I had anxiety about English class and writing papers. Testing showed I have ADHD and a learning disability.”

“Thankfully I had access to resources and used them to learn who I am and how I’m wired a little differently. I think ADHD actually helps me be a more creative person.”

“I believe that building relationships is the way we succeed at anything. As someone with a learning disability, I realize I got where I am only because I had a network of people supporting me. And I also realize not everyone has that network.”

“A big part of what I do at American Underground is help people develop their own relationships and networks. Not just inside our walls, but outside in the larger community.”

“If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when our communities are thriving, our businesses thrive, too. It's that simple.”


Molly in front of the Lucky Strike water tower in Durham NC

Learn more at AmericanUnderground.com or on Twitter @AmerUnderground.

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