Hi- I’m Mandeep, the head of business development here at Wonolo based out of the San Francisco office. Business development is finding new ways to drive revenue for the company, whether that’s through channel partnerships, integrations, or by monetizing our software platform.
What events in your life have brought you to your current role today?
I feel like my journey to Wonolo started over a decade ago by accident. I was burnt out, working as a consultant for Ernst and Young in New York City. I was sick of living in airports and hotel rooms, so I went to meet a recruiter named Mark Allen, who’s still a dear friend. I told him a little bit about what I was looking to do, what my strengths were, and what my interests were. He paused and asked, “Hey, have you considered recruiting? I think you’d do well.” I looked at him sideways with a blank stare. I knew nothing about recruiting. In my head, I thought to myself, “Recruiter, what would my parents think?” I felt like he read my mind because he smirked and said, “I know you probably don’t know much about the industry, but here’s the size. Here’s what we do. And by the way, you’d probably make 3 to 4 times the salary you’re making right now.”
He had my interest and I decided to take a shot in recruiting. I did well and enjoyed it. After my stint in working with Mark, I left the company and went overseas to grad school. I met a founder of a consulting and executive search company focused on the hospitality industry and opened the Las Vegas office for them when I came back to the States. From there, I started my own executive search firm and recruiting agency. I consulted for various HR tech companies and recruiting tech companies. Then I tried my hand in building my own software company alongside my co-founder, Aaron, who’s a brilliant engineer. He saw what I saw, which was the recruiting and staffing industry was just so antiquated. There’s not a lot of innovation. There are a lot of gaps for improvement. We put together this product, served a couple of hundred customers and it was a great journey. I eventually realized how hard it was to run this technology startup and met with Wonolo. When I did that, it was amazing because I saw that Wonolo identified a similar opportunity to disrupt the traditional staffing industry and empower the workforce of the future. Wonolo’s passion for helping people find opportunities and get jobs was shared. We agreed on so much of the philosophy and that passion permeated the walls at Wonolo. Now my most current role in business development is the culmination of all of the skills that I acquired over the past couple of years and my interests. I’m super excited and grateful just to have the opportunity here to apply them.
When you have to make a difficult decision, what do you lean on?
When I have a tough decision to make, depending on the timeline, I like to sleep on the decision, and let things process and synthesize in my head. I also like to speak to one or two trusted contacts that have been in similar situations so they can give me an outside objective perspective. Even if it’s not advice that I’m going to follow, I think that the process of saying the problem out loud and hearing myself talk things through helps me get to what I think or hope is the right decision. I then balance that information with my gut and experience and make the decision. I do have to remind myself during the process that I’ve never been in a position yet where a decision I’m about to make is going to be the end of the world. Ultimately, if it is the wrong decision, we have just learned from it and can apply that learning for the next time. So take time, speak to people, and balance it with experience.
What is one piece of life advice you’d give to anyone?
I think this advice could be applied to any part of your life, but I’ll focus on career. I think one of the things that’s really important is to play for the long game and focus on the job that’s at hand. Focus on what you’re doing now. It’s very easy to think about your title, what you’d like it to be, how big your team is, what your peers are doing, how much they’re earning, etc. That ends up being a distraction. What I found is, if you apply yourself in the job that you’re doing now, do it well, but keep your eye open for opportunity. You’ll be the right person for the job because you have a track record and you’ve built a foundation.
If you skip any of those steps, you may be missing pieces that could really help you be an inspirational leader. I think it’s really important that you focus on the current task at hand. My manager at Wonolo, Lori, has been exceptional at inculcating that into me. If you do well, you look for opportunities, you will get the job. The other piece of advice I have is to try to have as much fun and be passionate. Ultimately, when you get that job and reflect, you know, as they say, the journey is the reward.
Please finish this sentence: If you really knew me, you would know that ______.
If you knew me, you would know that I value my relationships with people above all. When I reconnect with an old friend or colleague or build a new relationship that I’m excited about, that feeds my soul and brightens my day in a way that almost nothing else does.