Who: Ann Wang and Jessica Willison
Wang and Willison are co-founders of Enrou, an online marketplace that showcases ethical brands from around the world, helping the artisans who produce the goods find meaningful work. The two first became friends in junior high school, then stayed close through college at UCLA. Wang pursued global activism and social justice while Willison focused on communications, fashion, and retail; in 2014, while still in college, their different passions meshed as Enrou. They won a $400,000 prize at Forbes’ 2014 Under 30 Summit, and now have grown to represent 35 impact brands helping more than 9,000 people in the communities they serve.
As co-founders, how do you split roles and responsibilities?
Willison: We have our own different strengths, passions, and interests. It’s a conversation between the two of us. It is an understanding about what we each are really passionate and excited about working on, and then supporting the other when they need help.
Wang: That’s something that we believe in across every person on the team: that you play to your strengths. Yes, you spend a little bit of time building out the things you want to do better, but we hire based upon strengths. The interviews are about, “What are you passionate about? What do you spend all your time doing?” When you discover and dig at that passion, that’s when you find your best capacity.
Watch the full interview and other inspiring stories from our Sum and Substance event series at sumandsub.com.