Tell us about where you work and what you do there.
I am the CEO and founder of Passion Planner. Right out of college, I needed a tool to help me answer the question “What the heck am I doing with my life?” So I created the tool that I needed when I was feeling lost.
Passion Planner acts as your paper life coach, coaching you through step by step how to define your goals, break them down into smaller steps, incorporate them into your life, and reflect on your progress.
Since it started seven years ago, it has helped more than two million people. At Passion Planner, I design new products, work on maintaining our brand through marketing and giving, and set the vision and overall objectives for the company.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m a queer, first-generation, Filipina-American who happens to be a community-made millionaire. I see a true millionaire as someone who has helped a million people and I spend my days thinking of creative ways to solve the problems that I’m dealing with, like anxiety, perfectionism, ADHD, and depression, and how to make these solutions accessible to the world (Passion Planner being one of them).
I would love more people to be able to empower themselves and to give themselves what they crave from others through using our products. I love strategy games, basketball, spending time with people I love one-on-one, writing, and meditating.
What is your leadership style?
I definitely think of myself as an artist and a visionary leader that gets people excited for what’s to come and what is possible. My art pieces just happen to be consumer products. I thrive when I am able to be a creative innovator thinking about solutions or new ideas that we can put out.
What do you think has been your biggest professional success so far?
I think my biggest professional success so far has been being able to take care of my team by providing them with benefits that allow them to find peace of mind and balance in their lives. After already making $1 million with Passion Planner, my immigrant mother still asked me “When are you going to find a real job?” It made me realize that my success was so foreign to her and that regardless of money, she wanted me to have the security of what a big company can provide, including full health benefits.
It has always been something that I wanted to provide for my team and when we could afford it, we made it happen! Since then, we have also rolled out Passion Weeks, which is a week off where you get paid to explore one of your passions with a $1,000-$3,000 stipend once a year, quarterly mental health days off, a health stipend, and flexible schedules.
What goals do you have for 2021?
I want to get really clear on what is enough for me when it comes to success in my career. I don’t want to get distracted by the capitalistic temptation to live my life with the main priority to make money. I want to spend more time outdoors, and continue to make Passion Planner as accessible and useful to as many people as possible for free by creating an online course of the basics of goal setting by using the free Passion Planner printouts.
What do you think is the next big trend in eCommerce?
I think we are going to be focused on value-added products, whether that is workshops, online learning, or networking and building community.
Name an eCommerce brand you admire and why.
CHNGE, I think they are great marketers and activists through and through. Their products are consistent in design, sustainability, and branding and they don’t shy away from hard topics that our society is facing.
What do you geek out over?
Self-help systems, product design, Starcraft, board games, escape rooms, and basketball.