Let’s Meet Rachel!
Hi- My name is Rachel Kim. I’m the Vice President of Marketing at Wonolo and I’m based here in San Francisco.
What events in your life have brought you to your current role today?
My career really has been based here in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, helping to build brands from the ground up at growth-stage startups. I actually started my career at Google and have been focusing my efforts in terms of helping brands from the very beginning, establishing their point of view and corporate narrative, and thinking about how to bring the brand to life through marketing activities. In particular, one of my big focus areas has been around helping to serve underserved populations. That’s a really key theme to what brought me to Wonolo. I think the mission to serve folks that are underemployed, to help people get a leg up, and to earn new responsibilities through hard work is why love the ethos of the company. This is something that I think helped me to gravitate towards the company from the very beginning.
Interestingly, before Wonolo, I was actually a startup entrepreneur myself. I created a cosmetics brand, and a few years ago we were selected to be part of the POPSUGAR Must Have Box, which meant that we had to increase our production very, very quickly. Because of that, I needed some help. I had to get all this done really quickly and a friend of mine at the time said, “Hey, you should check out Wonolo. I heard that they can really help people when they need extra hands on deck for various activities,” and so I actually came across Wonolo very early on. The company was still in its first year of existence and I used Wonolo to get workers to help me to fulfill my order and get those boxes out on time to meet the deadline. It’s really funny now, being here a couple of years later, and seeing how far the company has grown. But also some of those core things about the company haven’t changed. I love that about Wonolo. As much as we’ve changed, I think we’ve always been really true to our mission and our vision on who we’re serving, and that is what makes me get up every morning and be excited to be here.
When you have to make a difficult decision, what do you lean on?
When I have to make a difficult decision, I always remind myself to take a step back and to evaluate the situation objectively. Take that deep breath and think, “Is this actually as big of a deal as it seems, or is it going to be okay?” I think because I’ve spent most of my career at startups, one of the things that’s become very clear to me over many years of experience is nothing is ever as big of a deal as it seems in the moment. It’s always important to take a step back, but then have conviction about the next step. Especially in startups, you don’t have a lot of cycles to really evaluate every single option. You can’t always analyze all the data. That data may not even exist yet, so you do need to be able to have confidence in a direction, stay focused on that confidence, and move forward to see how it proceeds. However, there’s always, of course, having that balance between conviction and flexibility, and the ability to pivot as needed when things don’t go as planned. I think it’s about staying on your toes, but also knowing that no matter what, everything is going to be okay. I always find that after a good night’s sleep, that the next day I can feel refreshed. You know that it’s not as big of a deal as it is in that single moment, so I think giving yourself space for reflection and to take that step back is critical in terms of being able to make tough decisions at startups.
What is one piece of life advice you’d give to anyone?
Mine is really simple. The life advice that I give people is it’s really important to have a life outside of work. As much as it always seems like you should be working constantly, there’s always something to be done, and that is true. I do believe that having chances to step out of the workforce or step out of the office and do something else for yourself is critical. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You need to pace yourself. You need to be prepared for the next mile. The next chapter. This is just one chapter in a long book, so finding that time for me, it’s about spending time with my family. Outside of work, I’m a mom to two boys. I have two dogs. It’s important that I get to be home with them every night, to be able to put them to bed, spend time with my family. I give myself that distance, space, and the ability to unwind and be a full person. You know finding time to work out, meditate, go to yoga, or whatever it is that gets you centered, helps you become grounded. Do those things, and come back to work. You’ll feel like you’ve made a lot of progress in terms of actually getting distance. Sometimes distance gives you clarity as well. I think for me, it’s just about living your full holistic life. Don’t think about everything as compartmentalized as I’m in work mode or only in life mode, but leave time and energy for both of those areas of your life and to see how you can incorporate them so it feels authentic to you.
Please finish this sentence: If you really knew me, you would know that ______.
If you really knew me, you would know that I love to win. I don’t mean this in a way of a win at all costs, but I am a competitive person. I do want to give it my all every day. I go in headfirst, and I hope that people around me see that. It’s about bringing enthusiasm, but also thinking about the legacy you want to leave behind. I always say it’s about showing up in the places and the spaces that I want and being able to give that as much my attention as I can. I’m just not somebody that can go at 80%. That’s just not me. I’m 100%, all in, all the time. People who know me well know that you’re never going to take the competitiveness out of me. I love to win and I want to win. It’s part of the reason why I think it’s really fun to be at Wonolo because I feel like there are a lot of like-minded people that want to win and are motivated to disrupt well-entrenched players, and are willing to have those tough battles because it’s not easy. We like to win. We win together and that’s fun! When I win, it’s about winning together, not as an individual.