In this intriguing and profound interview with Lauren Pufpaf, Co-Founder and COO of a renowned and esteemed platform, Feed.FM, we have Lauren sharing the journey of her life and business and unravel a great deal of helpful advice and tips that are not only related to the workplace environment but are also about life in general. From how music has shaped her life, to what success looks like to her, to an amazing set of life lessons, this interview 1. What role has music played in your life? Music has always been a refuge and an outlet. It started very early for me: at 8 years old, I would record the Sunday Top 40 radio show on my boombox. I’d stop and start the cassette to skip commercials so I could listen to my favorites on my walkman throughout the week. I learned to read and write music at about 10 years old and picked up DJ’ing in my early 20s. To this day, nothing makes me happier than a great song, a little sunshine, and some fresh air. Music and walks got me through the last year with my sanity (relatively) intact. The emotion music can convey and the visceral reaction we have to it is endlessly fascinating! 2. What has been the idea behind setting up Feed.FM? Music licensing for businesses has been a formidable challenge for a long time. Particularly for early-stage businesses, there are so many hurdles in terms of time and money. We saw this as a huge gaping hole in the industry and have been trying to find ways to bridge the gap ever since. We believe artists and rights holders should be paid and we also believe that it shouldn’t be so hard for businesses to do the right thing when it comes to licensing music. Our goal is to help drive innovation in a space to make it a win/win scenario for all the key players. 3. What is more difficult – being an employee or an employer? I’m not sure I can say one is harder or easier, but they pose different challenges. As an employer, you are taking on the responsibility of another person’s paycheck, their career growth, and creating a safe and healthy work environment for them. I care deeply about my team and (similar to being a mom) make different decisions for the future than I would if I was only worried about my role within a company. 4. What according to you was the biggest obstacle in your workplace and how did you manage to tackle it? Finding talent is one of the hardest things in any company. Hiring is incredibly competitive in the Bay Area, particularly for engineers, but that’s true for all roles. We’ve also been very deliberate in choosing folks who are a good cultural fit, so it makes the hiring process even tougher. One of the reasons we’ve been able to hire incredible people is that we all truly have a connection with music. It’s not a requirement for hiring by any means, but that passion for music has attracted smart people who care about the product. 5. As a leader and mentor, what are your suggestions on coherent and supportive teamwork? I’ll start with things that don’t work in my experience: hierarchy and too many layers, managing by fear, and low accountability. Things that do work to drive high-performing teams: focusing on resilience, communication, and thanking each other; don’t be afraid to be appreciative. 6. From being at the turntable to heading the boardroom, how has your journey been? I’ve learned so much about myself over the years and I’m thankful for all the twists and turns along the way. The journey has been rewarding and a ton of fun – but it’s not over yet. Some skills translate from turntables to conference tables: – You have to be able to read a room and respond to what your audience wants. – Preparation gives you room to freestyle. If you know all the records in your bag front to back, you can choose what works best on the fly. Similarly, if you know your talking points and your stats, you can field any question in a pitch 7. With Chief, you are creating a platform for women leaders – how vital do you think the presence of female leadership in the workspace is? Women have traditionally lacked the peer group they need to forge ahead and get parity in business. When you have 10 white men around the table that all played golf together last weekend, the 1 woman at the table doesn’t have the same inside jokes or the same bonds. Chief is all about camaraderie, support, and creating connections for women. A peer group with shared challenges and shared understandings can make all the difference in your career. 8. How has your work shaped your perspective regarding the world in general? I believe strongly in creating win/win scenarios. It’s a lot of what drives us at Feed Media. How do we help raise the tide so it lifts all boats? I feel that this philosophy applies to life and relationships in general. Particularly with all the divisions in the world right now, it feels incredibly important to look for ways to connect, help others succeed, and build trust. 9. Being involved in various projects and having worked in so many different areas, what was your best work experience like? I’m living it now! I feel so fortunate to work with great people to find ways to help our customers. Our mission is to help businesses connect to their customers through music. When we accomplish that, their businesses grow AND people get healthier. You can’t beat that. 10. What is the one factor that fuels the most motivation in you? I believe my purpose in life is to continue to learn and grow to be the best human/mother/wife/boss/employee I can be. Learning, evolving, and leveling up is my life’s work. 11. What message would you like to convey to our readers/viewers at The Voice of Woman? Our thoughts shape our reality and we have the power to build the lives that we want. Surround yourself with positive people, seek empowering partnerships, and have faith that we can all get through this and not just survive, but truly thrive.