Introduce yourself! Who are you?
I’m Sara Mauskopf, the CEO and co-founder of Winnie, the companion app for modern parents. Prior to founding Winnie I spent a decade working in tech at companies including Twitter, YouTube, and Google and before that I graduated with a Computer Science degree from MIT. I live with my 2.5 year old daughter and husband in San Francisco and we’ve got another girl on the way!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
When I was deciding whether to start Winnie, I met with a prominent investor in Silicon Valley and told him I was considering starting a company but wondered if I should wait and learn more first. He was adamant that if I wanted to start a company and had an idea I was passionate about, then there was nothing else I could learn that would help me more than just diving in and getting started. He was so right.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest, and really only, fear in life is something happening to my family and the people I care about. The health and happiness of my daughter and husband mean the world to me and it’s hard sometimes not to just live in total fear that something could happen to one of them. My husband had cancer a little over a year ago which was the scariest time in my life. I think we’re still not fully mentally recovered from that and I’m not sure we ever will be.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
Ha! I rarely have people who don’t doubt me. When you’re trying to do something that’s against the mold or really hard, people will just naturally doubt you because they don’t have anything to pattern match against. The key for me has been surrounding myself with people who support me (even when they have their doubts) and people who believe in me and my abilities.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
That babies make you more productive! I spent my whole life being scared that when I had a child my career would slow down or I wouldn't be able to work as hard but in reality it’s been the opposite. My daughter makes me super productive because when I’m at work I know I have a limited amount of time to get my work done. I prioritize everything I do and get more done than before in the same amount of time. I feel like being a mom has given me superpowers.
What do you love most about yourself?
I love my drive. When I set my mind to something there’s very little that can hold me back.
What motivates you most?
My daughter. Giving her the best life and setting the best example that I can for her are the ultimate motivators.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
When I’m at the office I try to be entirely focused on work and when I’m at home at nights and on the weekend I try to focus entirely on my family (and not work). It helps that I was able to build a culture at my company where we really value having time outside of work.
What is something on your bucket list?
I don’t like to leave things on my bucket list for very long. When I have a goal I usually try to accomplish it right then, whether it’s having a baby or starting my own company or running a marathon. But one thing I’d really like to see happen in my lifetime is for the Eagles to win the Super Bowl.
Have you ever had an extraordinary experience? Describe it!
Growing a human with my body. I can barely cook spaghetti without messing something up so it’s still crazy for me to think that I was able to grow another complete human. It’s definitely the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever experienced, so much so that I wanted to do it again!
What are your biggest passions?
I’m really passionate about making the world a better place for parents. It also happens to be my job! Shortly after having my daughter I realized that there was so much information that I needed as a parent, everything from where to find great childcare to what to do on the weekends to how to breastfeed. Some of this information was available online but a lot of it was not and it was really hard to find. Making parents’ lives easier through better access to the information they need to be successful is what gets me out of bed every morning.
More About Sara
Sara Mauskopf is the CEO and co-founder of Winnie. Whether you want to find new things to do with your kids, ask for advice, find local childcare, or just get to the nearest changing table in a hurry, Winnie can help.
Sara has a background in consumer technology and product management, having worked at Postmates, Twitter, YouTube, and Google. She graduated with a Computer Science and Engineering degree from MIT. She lives with her daughter Bryn and her husband Eric in San Francisco.