JESS LEE - POLYVORE
I’m sure you have heard the saying, “you have to work your way to the top”. No one just gets hired and becomes a CEO right out of college. It takes a lot of hard work and patience to get to the top. That is exactly what Jess Lee did at Polyvore.
After studying software engineering at Stanford, Jess began her career as a product manager at Froogle, the shopping engine of Google. Here she strategized how to carry out a product’s vision and make it successful. These skills would be incredibly useful later in Lee’s career.
While she was working at Google, Jess started using a website called Polyvore. Through this website, users could create full outfits by dragging and dropping images of clothing. The outfits could be shared with other users to gather opinions, and the items could be purchased through the website as well.
Jess became obsessed with the site, but saw there were issues with it. Jess reached out to founder Pasha Sadri and expressed her concerns, as well as her solutions.
Sadri responded to Lee by offering her the chance to come and fix them herself. Jess was torn between staying with Google, or taking on the challenge of joining the three person team at Polyvore. She ultimately chose Polyvore and states that it was “one of the best career decisions I ever made”.
Jess began her career at Polyvore by writing code for the website, but she quickly worked her way up the ladder. She handled social media, hired new employees, worked with advertisers, and scouted new office locations.
In 2010, she was named honorary co-founder because of how much she helped the company grow. This position gave way to her leading the company with Sadri. As of 2016, Lee left Polyvore to become an investing Partner at Sequoia Capital.
She is the youngest and first female partner in the firm’s 44 year history.
Although she no longer works at Polyvore, she continues to inspire girls who dream about working in the field of technology. Jess Lee is a prime example of what it means to work your way to the top.
No one questioned her age or her gender, because they saw first hand how driven she was to help her companies succeed. Her fierce focus, desire for improvement, and ability to adapt to any situation are all traits that Jess exemplifies every day.
Jess Lee will continue to influence many for years to come, because she embodies all the qualities an inspirational leader should have.
Written by Hannah Harger
The Brand Girls Client + BG Blog Intern
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