Invest in your company’s culture: Employees tend to enjoy working in places where their needs and values are consistent with what they believe. Plus it helps to have a clear culture when hiring so you can filter who will be a good fit in your team and who will not.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Daniela Corrente CEO and Co-founder of Reel. Daniela has always been passionate about understanding human behavior. Entrepreneurship was not her first life calling, she started her career as an industrial designer and later transitioned to marketing. While working in NYC for some of the major consumer brands in the U.S, she started a side project focusing in understanding people’s relationship with money. The idea came about after discovering that 63% of millennials don’t have credit cards. That was the beginning of Joinreel.com, a company with a mission to make aspirations accessible to all. Reel’s success is the result of Daniela’s passion to empower people to be financially independent.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Glad to be chatting with you. Curiosity drove me down this path of becoming a founder. I’ve always been intrigued by human behavior, why we make the decisions we make, and how decisions impact our wellbeing. A couple of years ago I discovered that 63% of millennials don’t have credit cards, it’s a very credit adverse generation. At that point I was fascinated by understanding why Americans live with so much financial anxiety. So, I sent a nationwide survey for fun, because I was curious to understand how millennials spend their money. Fast forward 3 years and I’m the CEO and Co-founder of a company that is focused on empowering people to get the things they want while avoiding debt and ditching their credit cards.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
My first investor pitch was a phenomenal disaster. I didn’t even know he was an investor, and he didn’t know that I had an idea and no physical product to show. We were both so confused by the whole situation, but it was all a great learning experience. From the type of questions he asked like what was relevant from an investment standpoint, and how to always be in selling mode. Knowing how to sell your vision is key, and it takes so much practice, I’m constantly evolving my pitch. Estee Lauder used to say “I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.”
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our true passion to empower people to get the things they want, while avoiding debt, makes our company stand out. We stand by making aspirations accessible to all, and we are big believers that our users are learning to see the potential of their own finances by using Reel. In fact, a couple of months ago I was talking to an user and she said “I had been wanting these boots for two years, and I never thought I would be able to afford them. Now I have them and I’m so proud of myself because I paid for them with my own money.” She since then has saved for three items. For us at Reel, it’s not about the boots, it’s about the fact that she realized that she was able to get them with her own cash without having to swipe her credit card.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now?
Yes, I’m always looking at what’s next for us, how can we be most helpful in propelling financial empowerment. We are currently expanding our offerings to other categories, like furniture and electronics. We plan to be more present through all of our users needs so that they can Reel anything they want. That to me it’s extremely exciting.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
My advice is for all leaders to know that we are all learning as we go. Running a company is a marathon not a sprint, and it will take time, patience, and tons of effort to see your vision materialized. Also, don’t let anyone define your capabilities because of your gender, define yourself by your capability to achieve your goals. At the end of the day, you are running the show and the stage is yours.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Develop your leadership skills. It’s instrumental to work on personal development in order to be able to build a team that has a similar passion for your vision. You need to understand how to build culture, set clear objectives, and most importantly, how to manage your time. Setting structure is key. There are so many things that need to get done, learning how to prioritize those things makes an enormous difference.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
So many people have helped along the way. The most important thing is to remember that as a founder there are a lot of new responsibilities, from finances to hiring, you want to surround yourself with experts on each field so you can constantly ask questions. My co-founder Alejandro Quilici has been an incredible source of help and inspiration, my coach Robyn Ward is also a rock star that has given me the necessary tools to develop my leadership skills, and the list goes on and on. Honestly, and this might sound silly, I’m most grateful to myself, I’m my biggest cheerleader, and I gave myself the opportunity to follow my vision.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- It takes time to have time: When starting a company you will have the biggest to-do list you can imagine. You need to take the time to build a schedule and prioritize tasks in order to be effective.
- Set clear objectives: Your staff is like a sports team, it is important that everyone knows the goal line so that we can all score.If you don’t set clear objectives everyone will be always running after the next shining thing.
- Self preservation is key: In order to be a great leader you need to show stability and a positive mindset. Sometimes it’s hard to keep it together so you have to develop mechanisms to always bring your mojo back. Meditate, run, sleep, and do whatever it is to help you reset.
- Invest in your company’s culture: Employees tend to enjoy working in places where their needs and values are consistent with what they believe. Plus it helps to have a clear culture when hiring so you can filter who will be a good fit in your team and who will not.
- Hire slow: You should take time to find the right candidates, in small teams, a hire can really disrupt or highly enhance your team’s dynamic.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would inspire people to communicate better. I believe in open dialogue. No one can read your mind, so if something makes you happy or uncomfortable you need to share it aloud. Oftentimes, anger, frustration and the largest problems can be solved from just having better communication skills.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
It’s a poem by Erin Hanson “There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask, “What if I fall?” Oh, but my darling, What if you fly?” I absolutely love that poem, we will never know if we can fly if we don’t jump. Reel is not the first idea for a company that I’ve had, but it came in a moment in my life when I was ready to jump and see what happens. I apply that poem to everything, if you don’t ask for what you want you will never receive it. The worst thing that can happen is that you will fail, and at that point there is nothing left to do but learn and apply.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Of course @danielacb and @joinreel
Thank you so much for these inspiring insights!