Jana Bayad is the CEO and co-founder of SingldOut, Inc. She founded SingldOut in January 2014. Prior to SingldOut", Jana was the Director of Strategic Products at Active network, where she managed Schwaggle" and its subsequent rebranding to Active GearUp. Prior to Active Network, Jana held the position of Director of Sales at GreatCall, leading a team of over 150 sales executives. Jana holds a Bachelor of Science in International business from San Francisco State University. When not working, Jana enjoys travelling, working out, and spending time with her family.
Elle France founded SingldOut, Inc. alongside Jana Bayad in 2014. Elle is the CMO Chief Marketing Officer of SingldOut". Elle is a high profile matchmaker in Rancho Santa Fe, CA and an expert Judge on a dating Reality show called The Romance. Elle previously worked at No Fear, Inc. in HR and Marketing for almost a decade. In her spare time Elle plays competitive tennis, walks her dogs and spends time with her family.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
J: I was asked a similar question recently by one of my friends. When he asked me, I looked at him with a smile and I told him: "I never chose to be a leader; leadership was bestowed upon me." I evolved into the leader I am today as a by-product of all the adversity and challenges I had to overcome at a very young age. Failure was not an option for me, so I had to strategize and rise above it all to become the person I am today. My conviction and utmost commitment to whatever I decide to embark on, in combination with my undying desire to continually learn and improve my worldly knowledge was a key factor into shaping my aspirations to become a visionary leader, influencer, change agent and innovator.
E: To become a leader you really have to think big, you have to dream big. I always put myself around other stimulating minds. That is the only way to grow and learn. I wasn't afraid to fail, but I also didn't want to fail. This is not a dress rehearsal for us, we have to make life how we want it, no one will do it for you.
How has your previous employment experience aided your tenures at SingldOut?
J: I am passionate about start-ups and value the element of innovation and creation. Prior to starting SingldOut, I launched and managed many start up programs. My favorite programs were sales and e-commerce oriented. With my last position at the Active Network, I was convinced I would always be engaged in a consumer centric digital platform that would allow me to create tangible solutions to help and touch the lives of millions at once. So what's better than launching SingldOut? I am now able to help singles find love and true chemistry online using the most innovative and scientific method available.
E: As a previous high end matchmaker, I am very knowledgeable on how single people think and date. I have interviewed thousands of single people throughout my career, and all of them want to experience the basic fundamental emotion we call, Love. That was my job to provide them with my expertise and help guide them to another person they have chemistry with. I love helping people with their love lives.
What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenures at SingldOut?
J: Where do I begin to tell the story of how challenging startups can be! No, it's not a love song; it's the reality of a startup. You have to be borderline crazy to convince yourself to bet all your professional and personal future on launching your own startup and make it successful!
One of the initial challenges has been to convince others of our vision and purpose. This goes to employees, partners, investors and everyone in between. But ultimately, it is one's own conviction that will convert bystanders to fans. It takes time to connect the dots and gather those who share your passion, but if you keep on looking, you will find these key people who help bring the vision to life.
What I will add here is that the challenges, as tough as they maybe, make the rewards that much sweeter. SingldOut has had many great highlights. In less than one year, I was able to forge a strong partnership with my co-founder, extensively research the industry and market, build a unique product with a revolutionary solution to online dating and finalize funding from key investors who are committed to long term partnerships with SingldOut.
E: The highlights of course are having an idea and watching it blossom into a career that is life changing. We want, not only to change the online dating industry, but be leaders in the online dating industry by showing there is a "science behind attraction." The challenge is to break into a saturated market that isn't really getting the outcome that people want. We are trying to educate people on what they really want. Think Albert Einstein, who said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results." We need to break the cycle for people, help them make informed deliberate decisions about their online dating choices, instead of just casting a wide net just to see what's out there.
What advice can you offer women who are looking to start their own business?
J: I would say be persistent, stay resilient and do not give up on your vision no matter what others say. I once asked a connected "friend" if they could help introduce me to some investors in my hometown. The answer I got verbatim: "There is no money for investment in your town, it's just dead." I laughed so hard that day!
Do your own due diligence, complete your marketing research, and hold focus groups. Be the investigator who will truly identify the problem and provide the right solution. Understand your market, your competition and have a clear vision on how you will be creating thick value in your industry. Do not leave a stone unturned, expect lots of challenges it's part of success and never ever give up.
E: As a woman who started my own matchmaking business which led to SingldOut, my advice is to never ever give up on your ideas, to see yourself where you want to be. Research how to better your idea and make it a reality. Women are passionate and intuitive. You will have a happier life starting something, and you will be more confident.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
J: You will have to make every possible effort to create a quasi-acceptable work/life balance especially in the start-up phase. It's not easy, but by being conscientious of the fact that you are more productive when you take care of yourself and your personal life, you can start to plan more towards balance. It's a continuous effort that needs to be made. However, don't be too hard on yourself either if you felt absorbed by work certain days of the month, again it's natural part of the start-up phase.
E: I think that work/life balance is a beauty of life. Work allows us to participate as productive members of society. When you are following your passion and love what you do, it is your life. As a mom, watching my grown kids venture into this world, I want them to get everything they can get out of it. Push themselves, challenge themselves. Don't underestimate what you can actually do. At the same time, stop and smell the roses, enjoy life, stay healthy, and give back.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
J: We are all aware of the issues that hinder women's progress in the professional field. In 2013, among full-time, year-round workers, women were paid 78 percent of what men were paid. Why is this still happening? And why do we still have such a low number of women in executive levels? I will tell you for a fact that it's not due to lack of ambition in women's part in the workplace. I do believe that the workplace will eventually become more equal for women as the millennials take charge.
E: The biggest issue that I've observed is balancing work and life, especially if you are a mom. Another issue is how to approach business in a "man's world". Could it be fair to suggest that the real issue we are facing is what a good leader really is? It's ridiculous to expect somebody to essentially change their gender simply to prove they are good leader in the workplace. Stay focused, stay true to yourself and your vision, surround yourself with people that believe in you and you will overcome all obstacles.
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
J: I admire female leaders who were change agents for their generation. I particularly admire those who rose from hardship, became superstars and showed everyone that you can achieve anything you set your mind to do. I admire my mom, Angela Merkel - Germany's first female Chancellor, Oprah Winfrey, Mother Theresa, Madonna, Coco Chanel and many other female leaders who have accomplished a lot for humanity and history.
E: I admire Oprah for all that she does in giving back. I admire Ellen DeGeneres because she makes me laugh and is a huge animal lover. I admire Arianna Huffington for bringing such an informative publication alive, and for keeping readers engaged. A quote I love from Arianna is, "The essence of leadership is being able to see the iceberg before it hits the Titanic." And this I truly believe!
What do you want SingldOut to accomplish in the next year?
J: I would like SingldOut to be a recognized brand, both nationally and internationally. I would like to change how single professionals manage their single life and their pursuit of love with the most evolutionary and progressive solutions being developed today. 2015 for SingldOut will be all about breaking barriers and pushing through the norms of online dating as we know it.
E: I want SingldOut to be a household name. I want online daters to really benefit from their experience and find some meaningful matches that they have actually chemistry with. We want to people to understand the power behind the science in why people are actually attracted to each other.