As a huge fan of sci-fi fantasy novels, Chelsea Maclin has always been fascinated by artificial intelligence. And today, she’s the Chief Marketing Officer at Lunchclub, an AI-powered social networking platform for professionals that engineers incredible connections and conversations to help you build your network around the world. If you’ve been listening to Career Memos for awhile, you know how much I value the art of networking and why it’s so important.
Chelsea’s career journey is fascinating. She worked her way up to leading the publisher development team at influencer platform rewardStyle before joining Bumble as a Director of Marketing when they were just a team of 6 or 7. We talked about the rewarding phases of early stage startups, her day in the life as a CMO, how she’s built her team, and why Twitter is an amazing place to start building your network.
Chelsea’s takeaways of joining high-promise startups in the early stages
I’m so fascinated by Chelsea’s career and the gems of wisdom that she shared throughout this conversation. She joined the rewardStyle team during the infancy of influencer marketing, and later joined Bumble when they were just a team of 6 or 7 working out of an apartment, way before their IPO. It became the foundation for the rest of her story and being a part of these small teams in the early stages was such a fun stage of growth.
Joining a startup in the early days requires flexibility. You have to be comfortable with change, evolution, and get excited about being able to make a quick impact. Even the smallest changes make a difference. It’s as equally exciting as it is rewarding. One day you might be in the weeds with copywriting, while another day you’re building the company budget for the next year. There are always problems to solve and important challenges to tackle.
It’s an amazing experience and you will learn so quickly.
Aligning your values with the companies you dream of working for
If you’ve spent time on LinkedIn lately, you’ve likely noticed there is an influx of job opportunities right now and so many incredible candidates. So how does Chelsea narrow it down as she’s building her team at Lunchclub?
Startups move so fast and Chelsea acknowledges that she seeks out candidates who are comfortable speaking up and voicing their ideas, who want to be autonomous leaders, and are comfortable with change and company evolution. They also align with the company’s mission and values. So many of these qualities stack on top of each other, too. If you aren’t a good communicator and can’t express the strategy, then you can’t help the company build and grow.
If you dream of having a highly accomplished career, it always comes back to networking. Networking can feel intimidating, but it’s the most fundamentally important thing you can do. Most of the leaders you admire surround themselves with people they can bounce ideas off of and share advice with. You have to invest in your network and have a circle of people you can truly trust – the ones who will give you the advice you need to hear, rather than what you want to hear.
Why you should follow VCs on Twitter
If you’re curious about tapping into the world of startups, Chelsea suggests signing up for Lunchclub, meeting new people, and spending time researching high-potential companies.
And one of her best-kept secrets is to leverage Twitter as a space to conduct market research. Follow people in the venture capital community and observe the new trends they’re discovering and uncovering.
Lunchclub’s lead investor, Nicole Quinn, says to orient yourself around listening and learning. As a woman, it’s important to speak up. Use your voice. It’s one of Chelsea’s biggest regrets in her career – the moments where she didn’t speak up about an idea or didn’t share that one piece of feedback.
“There’s always going to be obstacles. Be comfortable with change or be able to adapt. Be willing to roll up your sleeves and roll down your sleeves, and enjoy.”