Meet Lily Youn, our new Head of Growth. Lily started at Gradient Works last week, and is here to develop our new business organization. To help you get to know her a little better, we sat down to talk to her about her new role and learn more about her adorable dog.
GW: What are you responsible for at Gradient Works?
Lily: As the Head of Growth, I’m responsible for building the new business sales organization, and within that creating the best practices for inbound and outbound outreach, revenue generation, and growing sales professionals who are passionate about helping others with technology. Through all of this I feel my biggest responsibility is introducing revenue operations leaders to an automated solution for the current, manual process of lead and account assignments.
GW: Tell us about your background, including how you got into sales.
Lily: My background consists of doing full cycle sales at a corporate company, before joining my first startup sales role as a Sales Development Representative. Some feel that going from closing deals to a demo setting role is a step back in their career, however I saw it as an opportunity to get into the tech world and a chance to grow with a company and help other people grow. As a top performer I wanted to share my knowledge with others and became a Team Lead (player/coach model), then SDR Manager, and then the Director of Sales Development leading a team of 45 SDRs. From there I went to a Series A startup as the first sales hire building the sales organization and managing both the SDR and Account Executives.
The saying “mom’s always right” was true in this case of how I got into sales. Just a little bit about how badass my mom is - she immigrated to the U.S. from South Korea, and quickly realized that she needed to work for her family to survive. She built her own business plan and opened up one of her first businesses which was called “Lily’s Karaoke” (and yes, the karaoke shop was named after me, not the other way around). Over the years and with a lot of hard work she was able to build her business even more to provide a comfortable life for our family, and growing up seeing her do sales, I thought to myself I would never want to go into the profession. However, after graduating from UT Austin I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I lived with my parents after teaching English in Japan for a year doing odd jobs and studying for the GMAT thinking the MBA route was the way. Later, I realized that I was looking for a solution to not knowing what I wanted to do when I should have viewed the GMAT as a means for me to get to my goal - which I didn’t have. It was during that year my mom was telling me how I would be good at sales and getting me to consider giving it a chance. Being the amazing sales woman that she is, she convinced me and that is how I got into my first corporate sales role. I can’t thank my mom enough on how much support, patience, and belief she had in me at that time.
GW: We’ve found that everyone is passionate about something related to their chosen career. What’s yours?
Lily: This is in large part due to both my parents that I’m passionate about supporting women and different ethnicities to consider the world of tech sales. They had always told me that regardless of my gender and ethnicity, I can achieve anything that I set my mind to with hard work and humility. One of the challenges I’ve seen at startups is diversity. I’ve asked several Asian friends their thoughts on joining a sales team at startups and their response is typically “it seems like a bro-club” or “predominately white males.” Now this is obviously their perception or experience, but perception is reality and changing that is a challenge that all leaders should work towards. Not only do teams that have more diversity see increased output but also personal growth. If you’d like to chat about tech sales and what it’s really like, I’m happy to meet and provide my experience and the insights many of my mentors have passed on to me. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GW: What are you most excited about at Gradient Works?
I’m very excited to meet with Revenue Operations and Sales leaders and learn about their current process and consult and see how we can help with any of their current pains, and how we can help increase sales velocity by automating lead and account assignments. In each of my previous roles, lead and account assignments were a necessity in making sure the right reps were getting the right accounts and increasing overall revenue for the company. Also, in each of my previous roles, it was a very manual and time-consuming process that was bottlenecked. My goal is to help those who are experiencing what I went through an easier solution. When I first heard of Gradient Works and saw what the platform could do, oh how I wished we had this platform sooner.
GW: We’ve all learned a lot over the past year and a half. What’s something you’ve learned about yourself?
Lily: I’ve learned over the past year and half that I can work remotely but I prefer to work in an office with co-workers. I miss having small talk with people.
GW: What do you do for fun?
Lily: On the weekends I enjoy going to wineries and breweries (IPA fan) that are dog friendly so I can take my dog, Albus Dumbledog with me to hang out as I work. I’m pretty competitive and a fan of board games.
GW: Tell us more about Albus, please.
Lily: I have a 2 year old Golden Retriever named Albus Dumbledog. The Hogwarts series is my favorite book, and we named Albus after the Headmaster himself. Here he is.