There's (unfortunately) not many women in Silicon Valley who sit toe to toe with the CEO in the boardroom and control the company checkbooks. Kim Jabal is a trailblazer for female CFOs in tech with a background at Google, Path and now as CFO for website and eCommerce platform, Weebly. Did we mention she's also a single mother of two boys? Here's 10 tips from Kim Jabal, who appears to be juggling it all.
1. When considering new career opportunities, she looks not just at the company and the role, but at the boss
My two best mentors over my career were also my bosses. When you are choosing a job you are often also choosing a mentor. Seek opportunities in a company where you have the opportunity to work for someone who is experienced, a great manager, and willing to teach and mentor. Spend enough time with that person while interviewing to feel confident that you can develop a great working relationship
2. She has young children and a busy life outside of work.
There have been many times during my career where work became all-encompassing for brief periods of time. But in general, I’ve always made time for friends, family, and fun. And sometimes this has meant that I deliberately chose companies where I knew this “balance” would be encouraged and not uncommon. I love working with people who are well-rounded and have many interests outside of work.
3. She lets herself off the hook
The key to work-life balance is to let yourself off the hook on at least some things. For example, I prioritize family dinner with the kids. I am almost always there unless there is a legitimate need to stay in the office. And I prioritize time with the kids on the weekends. However, I absolutely never volunteer for field trips or the carpool lane and I don't usually make it to routine doctor appointments (having help at home is key to making all of this work). My kids often eat cereal for breakfast and that's ok. I rarely throw parties. On the flip side, at work, I have finally realized that I will never get to the bottom of my email inbox so I've started to let myself off the hook just a little bit. I've “trained” my colleagues to call/text if anything is time sensitive as I'm not checking my email inbox all week-end. I have refined (although not perfected) the art of focusing on the most important/impactful activities versus the most urgent, and of being more proactive vs reactive.
4. She was the lone female software engineer at her first job
My first job out of college as a software engineer gave me valuable technical and managerial skills...and taught me how to be successful as a woman in a male dominated field. In my mid twenties I had to manage a group of all white, older men at a copper mining company. They were not thrilled with my presence so it was a very intimidating and challenging experience. But in the end, I won their trust and our efforts were a success and it really built up my confidence as a manager. A few years later I had a similar experience while working at an oil and gas company in Argentina - same challenges, but with a language barrier as well. Successfully making my way through a workplace with virtually no gender diversity built up my confidence and inspired me to pursue business school and to transition into a career in finance.
5. She’s not afraid to date
Just because you have a demanding job and kids that you love, you don't have to put your personal life on the shelf. It's important to me to make time to hang out with friends, date, meet people, and talk about something other than my job or my kids. You can and should make the time - in the stories jar of rocks, pebbles, and sand, it's at least one of the pebbles if not a rock!
6. She loves traveling for work
I love traveling and exploring new places, experiencing new cultures. I particularly love to travel for work because you have the opportunity to interact with people in a way that you wouldn’t be able to as a tourist. You get to know people in the office and you learn a little bit about how they live their lives. When I’m traveling solo, I will always find a restaurant for dinner on Yelp and eat at the bar. It’s a great way to meet people and learn more about the place I am visiting. And determine if the city has good food or not!
7. She loves food and wine but prioritizes healthy eating
Eating and drinking are two of my favorite pastimes without a doubt. But I try to eat sensibly and drink in moderation whenever I can. Michael Pollan says, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.". This is pretty much my rule of thumb. I eat the same thing for lunch every day at work - a huge arugula/kale salad with black beans, avocado, carrots, cucumbers, and nuts. I try not to eat many sweets because I find them so addictive! I don’t keep any junk food in the house (to the dismay of my children) and I generally try to eat 3 good meals plus an afternoon snack but nothing after dinner except maybe a glass of wine.
8. She bikes to and from work every day
Finding time to hit the gym or a SoulCycle class is usually hard to fit into my schedule. But, fitness is very important to me. So I’ve incorporated exercise into my daily routine. I bike to and from the train every day during the week and on weekends I walk the SF hills or hike the Santa Cruz mountains. I also love boogie boarding and mountain biking and skiing with my kids. In general, I am pretty disciplined and make sure that I get 30-45 minutes of movement every day. My rule of thumb is “low bar but high frequency”.
9. She’s on the board of FedEx and Change 2 Mind
Serving on outside boards has been an amazing experience for me. I find that I learn things on the boards that I can bring back to my core job and vise-versa. I love the contrast between my exciting young tech company and a world class public company like FedEx. Meanwhile, Bring Change 2 Mind is focused on reducing the stigma of mental illness. I lost my brother to suicide so this cause is important to me and the board gives me the opportunity to make a small contribution to the effort.
10. Her favorite female leader is Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin (Veuve Cliquot)
One of my favorite female leaders is Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin, otherwise known as Veuve Cliquot. This is a woman who, born in 1777, eagerly took the reins of a sizeable business conglomerate after losing her husband at age 27. She focused the business on champagne production, invented the riddling process which is still used today, and created one of the best known champagne brands at a time when marketing and branding barely even existed as a concept in the industry.
I am just amazed by people who lead and achieve great things against all odds.
Courtesy of Pursuitist.com
Photo Credit: afewgoodclicks.com
In 2016, Renee Wang sold her home in Bejing for $500,000 to fund her company, CastBox. Two months later, she landed her first investment. Just a half hour after hearing her pitch, she was offered one million dollars. By mid-2017, CastBox raised a total of $16 million in funding. CastBox's user numbers at that point? Seven million. Fast forward to today. Renee Wang of CastBox announces a $13.5 million Series B round of financing, bringing her funding total to a tidy $29 million. CastBox is now serving more than 15 million users.