Yong Kim

Yong Kim

Let’s meet Lori

Lori joined Wonolo as Head of Sales in 2018.  Her team is responsible for bringing new companies and opportunities onto the Wonolo platform. Prior to Wonolo, she led various sales support teams for Polyvore and Tumblr.  

What are you grateful for today?

A life of independence and choice. I’ve worked hard but have also been very lucky. I don’t underestimate the role of either.

The fact that we are all working together at Wonolo to positively impact people’s lives is very motivating for me. I love that I’m helping create the thing for others that I’m extremely grateful for in my own life. Our mission is to make work flexible and fulfilling for everyone, and I’m excited to be able to contribute to that goal every day.

When you were in high school, what did you dream of becoming?

In high school, I wanted to be a psychologist. I enjoy listening to people and understanding what makes them tick. I started college with a major in Psychology. Along the way, I decided that more school was not in the cards for me and added a second major in Economics. I’d always planned to work for a few years then go back to school. The Economics degree made me more marketable right out of school, but the Psychology background is most valuable in my day-to-day. Understanding motivations and fears is a big part of leading people.

I no longer think about going back to school, and have channeled that energy into mentoring wherever I can find opportunities. Sometimes it’s with people on my team and other times it is someone I know outside of work. I feel a great sense of pride knowing that I may have contributed in some way when they find success in their careers.

What events in your life have led you to your current role/job today?

I’m a Bay Area native and grew up in Cupertino at a time when it was known for the apple orchards, not for Apple. I think growing up in the heart of Silicon Valley definitely influenced me as I always believed anything was possible if you worked hard enough. Years in startup-land humbled me and I realized the importance of having a great mission, team, and culture. I’m now drawn to companies that I perceive to be having an impact on the world, like Wonolo.   

I love the energy and accountability of sales. My strengths are around data and process and that has often led me into parts of the sales organization that were focused on strategy and operations, not actually “carrying a bag”. In recent years, sales has changed from being about the salesperson focused on a 1:1 relationship to being about the entire organization taking a data-driven approach to optimizing the customer journey. I love the challenge of building a team that brings together a lot of different strengths and skillsets to deliver an amazing experience to our users.

When things do not turn out the way you planned, what is the first thing you do?

Sometimes things don’t go as planned in a good way. Those are happy accidents, but probably not what the question is referring to here. In the cases when it is in a “not-so-good” way, I focus on forward momentum.  

At work, I try to quickly get input and come up with next steps even if it isn’t a full plan. I believe that getting people motivated and excited about the path forward is primary. You can always post-mortem and iterate later when you have the luxury of time.

In life, I’ll allow myself to briefly mourn the plans, but I try to pick myself up quickly and carry on. Early in my adult life, I was very much a dweller – “What if I had done this instead of that? Look at all the ways my life would be better!” One day, a friend told me that life would be much easier if I could just let things go. I took the advice to heart and with years of conscious effort, I built the muscle of letting things go. You can’t change what has happened but every minute you spend dwelling in the past is another minute wasted. Control what you can control and move on.

When you have to make a difficult decision, what do you lean on?

Growing up, I was a big fan of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. As the reader, you were the protagonist and had to navigate through a series of decisions which could lead to the story ending in one of 20 or more different ways depending on the choices made. Often, you would end up with similar outcomes no matter what you chose (though the path may be different). The really negative outcomes were frequently a result of choosing the “safe” route.

Though life is more complicated than a book, I’ve learned to be pretty comfortable with risk and ambiguity. When the data doesn’t point to a clear path, I rely heavily on my intuition and the belief that there is something to be learned from every experience – even the negative ones. That has helped me navigate the most difficult decisions in both my life and my career.

What is one life advice you can give to anyone?

Be active in your own rescue.

It is advice that was given to me years ago which has since become a guiding principle for me. Early in my career, I left a big company – a well known brand – to start a company with 3 other people. We were young, naive, and knew just enough to be dangerous but not enough to actually run a company on our own. We had an early investor who was very well established and respected in his field. Over the 18 months that we tried to get the company off the ground, we went through tons of ups-and-downs. He would often repeat the advice to us, especially at times when we brought him our problems, hoping he’d solve them for us as our managers had in the corporate world.

The experience had a significant impact on the person I am today. The idea that you have everything you need within you is powerful. There have been many times in both my personal and professional life where I’ve come up against an obstacle so great that I don’t feel I have the ability to overcome. When that has happened, I remember the advice and I dig just a little deeper to find a way.

Please finish this sentence: If you really knew me, you would know that ____

I’m an obsessive organizer. Marie Kondo has nothing on me.

I dislike being the center of attention.

My happy place is a beach in Portugal.