Welcome back! Last week, we highlighted some of the amazing women who help keep Forager running. Inspired by Startup Grind’s #SGWomen Month, we’ve gone ahead and asked some of our teammates to share what inspires them and how they got their start within the tech and startup space:
Beck Readhimer – Director of Customer Operations
How did you get your start in logistics?
My start in logistics happened by chance. I was a desperate college graduate who was in dire need of a job during the recession. I applied everywhere at the time, having just moved to Chicago and living on my sisters couch. I was hired at a logistics company and have stayed in the industry ever since! It’s an industry where I continue to grow and learn every day, meeting passionate, hard-working people along the way.
With nearly a decade of experience, have you noticed any changes in the industry regarding the positions women hold now versus before?
I am happy to say I have certainly seen progress with women in this industry, particularly with women taking on more leadership roles. I have also had the privilege of working at companies where women were given equal opportunity for advancement to higher positions even though it is a male dominated industry to say the least. Being in this industry has certainly allotted me with a thicker skin.
What has been your proudest moment at Forager?
My proudest moment at Forager is twofold: internal and external. Internally, being able to mentor, train, and develop the reps on my team and having the privilege to see them grow in their career; while externally, helping our customers streamline their cross border operations and seeing them come back to Forager with more business!
Christina Rice – Office Administrator
Although you are new to this industry, you have a background in entrepreneurship. What advice would you offer people interested in the startup scene?
If I could relay any advice to someone who is interested in the start-up scene it would be to understand why you are joining and to always remain teachable. As a young entrepreneur who was still in the infancy of building my own business when I started at Forager, I had to really stop and ask myself why I wanted to join. The answer I found was that I truly believed in the product and wanted an opportunity to be exposed to diverse job responsibility and variety. Plenty of which you will likely experience in a start-up environment. I was indeed new to the logistics industry in total, but not new to working for companies and organizations that were building from the ground up. I believed in the solution Forager was building and wanted to surround myself with forward thinkers. I would advise that you truly understand the mission of the start-up you are interested in, and if that mission resonates with you, go for it!
On that same note, I would also advise young entrepreneurs to always remain teachable. There are so many unique opportunities for continued education in a start-up environment for young entrepreneurs especially. Do not be afraid to seek additional resources and ask for mentorship. In a start-up environment, you are likely surrounded by pretty impressive individuals. Seek to learn more about their experience and career journeys, take advantage of outside learning opportunities, and truly invest in your own development during your time there.
How do your entrepreneurship skills translate to your current position? How is working for a startup helping you continue to build your own business?
As a young entrepreneur, I learned early on the importance of being a problem solver. Thinking critically and using the resources you have are imperative to growing your own business or one of which you choose to be a part of. During college, I offered freelance public relations services to growing businesses in the city. As a full-time student I had to learn one of the most essential skills in life—how to effectively manage your time. I learned to prioritize and always keep the larger picture in the forefront of my mind. I would say sharpening that skill has aided me across the board, but especially at Forager. As the office administrator, I have a position that keeps me involved with team members in every department in some way. This is a unique opportunity to see into the development of our ecosystem and understand how the structures that will sustain and foster our growth are built and maintained. This is invaluable experience as it relates to my own interest as an entrepreneur. Building a company or organization seems exponentially more feasible when you have had the opportunity to experience being a part of one beforehand.
Paige LaNasa – Head of Marketing
How has it been joining Forager, spearheading the marketing department, and eventually becoming the Head of Marketing, all in less than a year?
Wow, it sounds pretty crazy when you lay it all out like that – probably because it kind of is! From launching SCOUT to raising an A, it’s been pedal to the metal since day one (get it? Cause we’re a logistics company?). Honestly though it’s been a team effort. I’ve had a lot of support from basically the entire company, and now I have an awesome team of my own. I’m happy to take all the credit though, if you want to cut that first bit out…
Was this your first introduction to logistics or the startup space?
It was my first introduction to both! I got started in the B2B biometrics space, so I’m familiar with tech (especially the complicated, highly regulated kind) but logistics is a whole ‘nother animal. It’s fast-paced, with very little room for error…which also describes most startups. Basically, it’s breakneck over here – see the aforementioned “pedal to the metal” thing. Luckily, I’ve done some freelance and consulting work in the past, so I’m used to quickly learning new industries and products. It also doesn’t hurt that there are so many experts available to answer questions. A huge chunk of Foragers are really well versed in cross-border freight, and they love talking shop.
What advice would you give someone who is similarly diving headfirst into a tech company?
The internet can teach you a lot about an industry, but the best way to learn the ins and outs of an individual business is to immerse yourself in it. Talk to people outside your department, go to happy hours, and ask questions when you have them. You’ll learn a lot just by shootin’ the breeze, and sometimes you even make friends. It’s all very wholesome.