By Jenika Newsum
Georgetown University Women in Leadership recently started a new feature where members of the Executive Board interview aspiring hoyas on and around campus who have had early success. Our first spotlight focuses on Tammy Cho, an up and coming marketing whiz. She was interviewed earlier this week by Jenika Newsum – read on to learn more!
Name: Tammy Cho
Hometown: Cypress, CA
School/Year: MSB 2016
J: What is Encore? Encore is a social media analytics tool that identifies key mentions and trends from a brand’s social media and helps marketers act in time to capture results by sending real time alerts to their inbox.
T: We shoot marketers alerts about any opportunities they have to engage with their customers online directly to their inbox. For example, if a particular URL or topic is trending among their followers, we will alert the marketers to post this URL or tweet something about this topic to engage their followers in real-time.
J: Who is on the Encore team and how did you get connected with them?
T: Our current team includes James Li, who just graduated from the business school, Felipe who is our developer from Brazil and then there’s me. I knew James for a while because we went to the same high school. We first started working together when he was a freshman at Georgetown. He started another non-profit consulting company called Reaction Strategy Group. At the time, I was interested in nonprofits, so via another mutual friend, I ended up working with him on this company. From there we were inspired to create the first version of Encore…Felipe actually joined us in January, and we met through AngelList, a great website where you can connect with other entrepreneurs and investors. Over the summer we got accepted into a startup accelerator program called Acceleprise, so Felipe flew into D.C. and we got to work together all summer! Now that he is back in Brazil, we work remotely together via Skype. They’re both pretty awesome.
J: What is your role on the Encore team?
T: Specifically I work on the product design and any other design related things for Encore. I have designed our current product, our website, and any other one-pagers, and email newsletters that we have to send out to our investors and customers. But since our team is small, we definitely jump around different BizDev roles too, such as, attending customer or investor meetings.
J: How did you learn graphic design?
T: I did yearbook in high school. That was the first place that I learned about graphic design and how to use tools like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. When I joined Reaction with James, I started to experiment with redesigning websites for nonprofits. I’ve been learning on my own ever since by constantly looking up materials online, like Smashing, Generally Assembly and other design blogs.
J: What are your future plans with Encore?
T: Hopefully Encore continues to grow. As long as Encore is in existence, I plan to be committed to it. I am wholly invested in it right now and will continue to be fully invested in it after Georgetown.
J: What has been the biggest challenge working for Encore?
T: In general, there are a lot of ups and downs working with startups in terms of what’s next and what we are going to do with our business. Are we going to fail? At one point in the summer, we realized that our original business idea was not going to work and had to completely pivot our business two and a half months ago. There are all these questions running through your mind, but in the end, I know that it is all part of starting your own company and that these moments will only make your company even stronger. I think there’s a quote that one of the Sweetgreen founders mentioned during one of their talks that is something along the lines of “think of every threat as an opportunity.” Now, our new business is doing better than ever. We now have great clients like Consumer Electronics Association and Sweetgreen.
J: What has been the most rewarding part of working for Encore?
T: Definitely just working with a team to build something from scratch, and knowing that you know you will impact a lot of people with what you create. Keeping that in mind really motivates me to keep going and keep working on it.
J: As a woman working in the technology industry, do you feel like women are underrepresented in the technology field?
T: I think that there’s still fewer women in the technology field than men but at the same time women representation in the industry is growing. When I go to startup events, there are much more women attending now than before and I think that there is a growing community in support of women in the field. Still, I would definitely like to see more women represented in entrepreneurship and technology!
J: Your team is very young. Has that even been a challenge when trying to get businesses and investors to take your product seriously?
T: That was a concern for us going into this, but I think we’ve been able to get over that hurdle. I think some of the biggest fears that investors and businesses have with working with younger teams are that we may not be as committed or that we’re not experienced enough. By now, I think we’ve been able to prove that though we may be young, we’re still fully committed. James just graduated and is working on this full-time. Same with Felipe since he just quit his job at Dell to work with us. I may still be in school, but all of my extra time is also dedicated to Encore. In terms of the fear of lack of experience, we’ve been able to overcome this by showing that we’re always open to learning and are really willing to listen to our customers to create the best product possible.