Diversity Woman Magazine

SUM 2017

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/813543

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Page 23 of 51

22 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N S u m m e r 2 0 1 7 d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m We Mean Business > We Mean Business DW: What did you learn in the process? LP: One thing I had always assumed was that if you booked a sitter—say, you wanted Stacy from UCSD but she's busy—you would want to go back to your connection with a friend and see whom she would recommend. But if you have had a good experience with Stacy, you want to book her friend, like her soccer buddy. at's been really interesting, the way we can surface the connections—the same way parents are connected through organizations, so are the sitters. DW: Growing up, were you a natural leader? LP: I grew up in San Diego, and I think I always knew I wanted to start a busi- ness. As a kid, if our house was getting shingles, I would create a firewood busi- ness. In high school, I was even a babysit- ter broker—parents would call me—and I also babysat. I liked organizing things. DW: You've spent some time working for large companies. What did you learn from them? LP: At a big company, you're always ac- quiring skills, whether you stay in that field or go into something else. I get told by investors a lot that our presentations always look professional, and you can't underestimate that. Having that thor- ough training, on basic business funda- mentals, instills confidence. At big com- panies, I liked working for really smart people—a boss who inspires. But what I didn't like was feeling like a cog in a big wheel. DW: What strengths have you gained from being involved with start-ups? LP: You have to be gritty and scrappy in a start-up. For instance, at UrbanSitter, four years ago we were looking to get a new office, and the real estate climate had gotten crazy. I knew I needed engineers, and they like to work in nice offices—and I was seeing either dingy spaces or ones outside my budget. I started looking at the tech publication TechCrunch, in the mergers and acquisitions section, to see which companies were acquiring other companies. I'd call the bigger company's leasing department and say, "You're about to get this space on your books, and if you're going to sublease it, I want to hear about it, and then you won't have to use a broker." I saw that a com- pany was being acquired by Oracle, and we got that company's space at about 60 percent of the rate at the time. en, when the Oracle team came to look at the office, they sold me all the furniture for $1. e money I saved bought us an- other engineer. DW: What was your very first job? LP: I worked at Baskin-Robbins when I was a sophomore in high school, and it was such a humbling experience: I got fired. A group of kids had come in with gift certificates for sundaes, with their parents, and I accepted 10 fake gift certif- icates. I was fired in front of the cowork- ers at a meeting—it was humiliating. DW: Were you bitter? What did you take away from it? LP: I was pretty upset, but it was a learn- ing experience. Later on, I had a boss who was kind of intimidating. But then I thought, the worst thing that could happen is he'll fire me. And I'll go on. So I guess it taught me resilience. e funniest part was, at the time, I didn't even eat ice cream, so I saved them so much more than what they lost on those gift certificates. DW: What do you look for when you interview? LP: I look for grit and scrappiness, and I like people who are curious. At a start- up, you're constantly testing whether something is working or not. I have a quote on the wall, from an interview I did with an investor, and I always get asked about it. It says, "As You Develop Trust, You Develop Brand Equity." People al- ways ask about it. For people who are in- terviewing, what we're doing is building trust on both sides. I want people who work here to trust the company as much as child care is based on trust. DW: What piece of business lingo annoys you? LP: One that drives me crazy is pivot— it's used all the time. In one way, it can mean something wasn't working and you had to change directions. at can be great, and it's important to course cor- rect, but pivot sometimes just sounds better than saying that you're failing. DW: What book have you read recently that inspired you? LP: I read Turn the Ship Around! by L. Da- vid Marquet, who while in the navy was put in charge of a sub. He becomes an ex- pert in this one submarine and then gets assigned to a totally different one. He has to learn how both to manage a giant group and also to get them to teach him things that he needs to know. I am not a programmer, so it's good to think about how I have to manage peo- ple who have expertise that I don't have. How do you get people to follow you, and also have them rise to the occasion? DW Katrina Brown Hunt is a regular contributor to Diversity Woman. I look for grit and scrappiness, and I like people who are curious.

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