Kristy joined Wonolo in 2017 and is the Director of Wonoloer Growth. Her team focuses on growing the Wonoloer community and ensuring the marketplace is balanced in each regional market. Prior to Wonolo, she spent four years at advertising agencies before going back to school to earn her MBA while interning at companies like ClassPass and Facebook.
What are you grateful for today?
I am grateful to have the opportunity to come into the office each morning, excited to tackle a different set of challenges each day — all to make work more accessible and flexible for communities that are typically underserved. I am also grateful to have the chance to learn from an amazing group of colleagues, old and new. I love that we come from such varied experiences and backgrounds, and are joined together by our belief in the value and mission of Wonolo.
When you were in high school, what did you dream of becoming?
Early on in high school, I had initial aspirations of becoming an aeronautical engineer. Science and math classes were my favorite, and I was fascinated (still am, actually) by space. I even spent a summer taking astronomy courses and became drawn to the idea of building and engineering equipment to explore the vast frontiers of space. Ultimately, I didn’t pursue this route – but I found myself enjoying the “building” aspect of various work and personal projects. Which leads me to the next question…
What events in your life have led you to your current role/job today?
Growing up in the sleepy suburbs of central California, I had plenty of free time on my hands. I started tinkering with and building websites in middle school, back when Geocities and Xanga ruled the blogosphere. I implemented my first CMS platform called b2 (which eventually spun off into WordPress in 2003) and continued to dabble in the digital media realm throughout my high school and college years.
After college, I landed my first job as an SEO analyst, a role which had a unique combination of marketing, website development and data analysis. After two years in SEO, I moved to the “dark side” – paid search advertising or SEM – with a focus on large, branding campaigns for household name clients. As fun and exciting as those campaigns were, I realized I still knew little about business operations as a whole, which led me to Columbia University for my MBA.
During those two years in school, my focus was on learning as much as possible – not only in the classroom, but also in the surrounding environment. Outside of the Bay Area, New York City is the next best place for tech. I knew I wanted to transition into an in-house marketing role, but needed clarity on the environment I could thrive and make the most impact in. After experiences with pre-seed stage to post-IPO companies, I found my ideal spot was with early-stage startups that had product-market fit, but plenty of challenges to tackle with great speed. Wonolo fit that bill with the bonus of a humble yet ambitious team.
When things do not turn out the way you planned, what is the first thing you do?
I pause and I think. Though I’m a planner by nature, I’ve also accepted that more often than not, life and work will throw curveballs. I try to objectively assess the situation as quickly as possible, in order to move into triage mode and arrive at a resolution (even if only temporary). I then take the time (but, not too much) with the team to understand the root cause of the issue, so that we can learn and not make the same mistake twice. I try not to dwell – it is nearly impossible to move forward if you are stuck in the past.
When you have to make a difficult decision, what do you lean on?
At work, we typically rely on data to inform and drive many of our day to day decisions. When it comes to particularly difficult decisions, I can have a tendency to overanalyze – I’ll come up with twenty potential outcomes stemming from ten different scenarios, which then results in decision paralysis. When that happens I stop myself, and take a step back to really understand the impact. Not on numbers, but on the people affected by the decision – and I think, “Will I regret this decision and its effect in the long run?” At that point, there is usually one that will stand out as the right choice.
What is one life advice you can give to anyone?
“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there” – Unknown
Don’t be afraid to take risks and feel uncomfortable. I’ve always learned the most when I felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants.
During my time in NYC, I had to hustle and network aggressively for internship opportunities. As an introvert, this was an absolutely terrifying activity for me – but it ultimately landed me roles at ClassPass (I cold-emailed the CEO and sold my experience to her) and Facebook (I joined a round table with an alumni). These experiences in extremely high performing environments really accelerated my personal and professional growth.
Please finish this sentence: If you really knew me, you would know that ______.
I’m usually even-keeled, but I can rocket from 0 to 100 on something that particularly interests me. My latest obsessions include ultralight backpacking, snowboarding, and bargain hunting.
I love making spreadsheets for personal projects – I can put together a mean spreadsheet for group trip planning, and am pretty proud of the one I made for our office’s Game of Thrones predictions pool!
Though I’m mostly a city girl, I love the outdoors, especially the mountains. My ultimate dream is to manage a hostel in Tahoe and provide a cozy, comfortable space for travelers to gather and connect.