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Ep. 102: Startup CEO Parinaz Vahabzadeh Takes A Risk

“Take a risk sooner. I think if I had been exposed to seeing people take risk and having that work out successfully -- or probably even more importantly not work out, and they were resilient, and they bounced back, and they found their footing and did something even more successful.”

In this episode of the Women Killing It! podcast, host Sally Hubbard introduces us to Parinaz Vahabzadeh, formerly the VP of Strategy and Data Labs at Tapestry, which is the parent company of Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman. Parinaz is currently founding a start-up in the tech enterprise space around analytics, with a focus on retail companies.

Parinaz talks about her tough decision to step out of her steady job into becoming an entrepreneur.

“It wasn’t easy. It was a decision I struggled with for over a year, and it finally came down to just having the courage to take a risk.”​

Parinaz shares her experiences with the gender imbalance at several data conferences, where she was one of the few women participating in the conference, versus at the companies she has worked for, where the majority of leadership consisted of women.

She also talks about her remarkable conversation with the CEO of Coach many years ago, when he asked why the sales were unusually down. Working at her new job in a junior position for only three months, the CEO was impressed with Parinaz’s drive and curiosity to find the answer before he even called. Parinaz learned the importance of asking questions and being curious.

Parinaz talks about her experience with the term “fail fast” when she worked for Nike. The company rewarded its employees for taking risks, regardless of whether those risks led to success or failure.

“If there’s anything we as a generation can do for the next generation is actually inspire them to take that risk at a younger age.”​

Follow Parinaz Vahabzadeh’s Twitter for updates on her company here.

Written by Amita Khurana.