“Do not be ignorant of the specific skills needed to bring a product to market. Make sure that you can speak the lingo of a front-end developer versus a QA engineer.”
Years in Industry: 4
Who or what inspired your career in tech? My first job out of high school was interning at Yahoo! starting when I was 18 years old. I got to work with the marketing team on Generation Y-oriented initiatives and program content for the Yahoo! Homepage. After my first summer there, I was hooked on technology. I came back to Yahoo! for two more summers during college. I am so grateful to my manager-mentors for setting me up for success on a career path with technology at the core.
What’s been your best hack ever? Reminding myself to “Work smart, not just hard.” For many years I had believed that the key to success is working hard, so I would put in much more time, without necessarily using that time in the most effective ways. Now, I tell myself that the key is working smart — focusing on what moves the needle for the key metrics and milestones you want to hit. This quick phrase gives me a lot of clarity day-to-day.
What has been your greatest career challenge and how have you handled it? Fundraising was hard for us in the early days of Poshly because investors doubted that we could collect the data we needed to power our unique platform. Rather than accepting defeat, I bootstrapped the business for two years and developed the platform to prove that we could acquire this data. Fundraising was so much easier once we validated these proof points of the business. It takes great problem-solving skills, tenacity, and a positive attitude to get through business
What is your biggest career success to date? I am so proud of what I’ve accomplished with my amazing team over the last four years at Poshly. Taking a company from idea to product to revenue is a thrilling feat. I am really proud of providing exceptional value to our customers, successfully fundraising and growing a team.
What are the top three pieces of advice for women who are starting out in the tech industry? First, learn the language — one of the most important pieces of advice that I was given early on in my career is to make sure that you appreciate the unique contributions of each discipline on your team. Do not be ignorant of the specific skills needed to bring a product to market. Make sure that you can speak the lingo of a front-end developer versus a QA engineer. This does not mean that you need to master how to code; it just means that you should have a comfort level with how each of those team members view projects and how they think about their work. Understanding the jargon of each tech skill set will give you a huge edge in your work. Second, your perspective is valuable — remember that even if you are not a technical person, your perspective is valuable as a business or consumer user. If you see something that is broken or not ideal about a certain user experience of a product, or if you have an idea about making a process more efficient, speak up. Third, don’t give up. Walk the walk — we still have a ways to go to achieve gender balance in the technology industry. Rather than just talk about tech, walk the walk and dive in! Whether you invest in female founders to provide capital that is much-needed to build a successful business, start a company yourself or support in other ways like sharing stories about female tech leaders, get involved now.
Who are your role models? My siblings, my co-workers and my investors all inspire me in different ways. I always look to surround myself with great people who I can support and who can support me across different endeavors. It’s great to have like-minded people in your sphere who can help you get to the next level and teach you new things as you grow.
If you could go back in time, what’s one tip you’d give your teenage self? Startups take a long time to build to great success. The median time to an M&A event is 7 years, and the median time to an IPO is 10 years. I would have loved to know early on that getting into tech startups is a marathon. Expect that it will take time, so make decisions that set up long-term success.
What do you do when you’re not kicking butt at work? Hang out with my family and friends, read, take part in friendly competitions of laser tag or go bowling!
Flats, heels or kicks? Heels for meetings, flip flops in between
Best career advice book? The Black Swan by Taleb is not so much a career advice book as the best advice book about life that I have ever read. It’s not an easy read because of how dense it is with thought-provoking material. I highly recommend it. This book gives you a frame of mind about luck, success, business, decision-making and so much more. I have a signed copy, and it’s one of my most treasured possessions.
Who are the women in tech that you most admire and why? I‘m glad I don’t have to choose just one! There are so many incredible women in tech! Nanxi Liu, CEO of Enplug and a friend from college is an inspiration to me. She is absolutely rocking it in revenue growth, team building, fundraising and so much more. I admire how she lives life to the fullest and leads with conviction. Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook has been an inspiring voice for our generation of women in business and technology. I am so grateful to her for sharing her stories and advice with others. Her words and voice are needed — I admire her greatly. Fran Hauser, investor at Rothenberg Ventures, is another woman I admire. She has a knack for seeing innovation diamonds-in-the-rough. I am grateful to her for sparking a lot of success for Poshly, and so excited that she joined the VC world where more female perspectives are needed.