Women in Business Q&A: Jacqueline Ros, CEO and Founder, Revolar

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Jacqueline Ros

Jacqueline Ros is the CEO & founder of Revolar, which makes a discreet wearable whose only job is to help keep you and your loved ones safe.

Jacqueline grew up all over the world: Florida, Mexico, Boulder, and Switzerland to name a few countries. Through the Teach For America program, she found herself in Colorado where she fell in love with the community. After Teach For America, Jacqueline stayed in Colorado and started Revolar with her co-founder, Andrea Perdomo.

Jacqueline loves talking about technology, diversity, data, rock climbing, whale watching, startup life, and bad jokes.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
All the travel and change that took place during my childhood helped me learn how to adjust to new cultures and interact with a wide range of people. In a lot of ways, I'm still using these same skills in business, to communicate with people who have different backgrounds, skill sets, and ideas.

The reality is that a huge part of leading is working to create an environment that encourages people to share diverse perspectives. Those perspectives aren't always easy to hear, but being open-minded and engaged enough to really listen is essential for building a strong business, making better decisions, and keeping one's team agile.

It wasn't always easy moving so much as a kid, but I'm grateful for the mental flexibility and openness it gave me.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at Revolar?
Teach For America was the best thing I could have done for myself, personally and professionally. Teaching helped me see that even the coolest kid in class is still just a kid that can feel vulnerable, self-conscious, and like they aren't being heard.

I don't think that changes much with adults, and my experience teaching made me more conscious that all people feel these things. Keeping that in mind makes it easier to be conscientious and to focus on really getting to know my team and what motivates them.

And sometimes, I think people forget that investors are human, too. By going into a meeting with the mentality of what can I give and how can I help, we make way more progress than thinking, "What can I get from this?" Teaching taught me that the only right way to win is a win-win. That's real partnership and it takes real dedication.

Teaching also taught me that humor gets your point across much more effectively than anger. People are going to mess up, I'm going to mess up. It's not about being perfect, but about being there for each other and staying focused on the bigger vision.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Revolar?
Building a company is like putting together a puzzle -- if the pieces continuously multiplied while changing shape and size. The challenge is maintaining clear lines of communication and efficient systems while the variables keep changing. The highlight is that when we succeed, we create something truly special and meaningful, and we've done it together.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?
Be confident, but respectful. There is a right way to be heard and a wrong way. Keep politely advocating. Sheer persistence is a thing, but it's only effective if you do it with respect and a sense of humor.

Also, don't be afraid to admit when you're wrong. So few people are good at doing that but it's critical for building trust and showing people that failure is a necessary part of innovation and learning. I fail all the time, it's the recovery that counts.

What is the most important lesson you've learned in your career to date?
Gratitude and a sense of humor go a long way.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
First, Revolar's mission means everything to me, so I'm intrinsically motivated to get to work every day. I also try to give myself the mental space to try, fail, and try again -- without judgement. And if I need time, I take it. And if I think someone else needs time, I give it.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Women face workplace barriers that are unfair, but don't let that stop you from thinking "it's possible." My dad once told me, "You need to know the rules of the game and then play them better than anyone else." Leverage your strengths to win, find people that balance your weaknesses, and empower others to do great things whenever possible. Your success depends on being as good of a partner as you are a contributor.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I don't know if I will ever be able to give back enough to match all the kindness my mentors have shown me and the lessons they've taught me. I'm lucky enough to have mentors for all aspects of my life, but to be honest a mentor is just a friend whose advice you actually take.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I really admire Jenny Lawton. We're very lucky to have her on our board. I admire her because she's honest about what's hard and isn't afraid to be herself. It's easy to get distracted or feel pulled in directions that don't feel authentic. She helps me stay balanced by being herself and helping me realize daily that I've got this.

What do you want Revolar to accomplish in the next year?
Our mission at Revolar is to help you live the life you want, safely. It's hard to pursue happiness if you don't feel safe and comfortable. Our goal for next year is to continue developing technology that empowers you to adventure confidently, try new things, and meet new people.