Discovering The Strengths That Make You Special

LyAnn Chhay

with LyAnn Chhay

Senior Vice President of Community at Poshmark

Discovering The Strengths That Make You Special

Discovering The Strengths That Make You Special 800 1200 33Voices

LyAnn Chhay and Jenna kick off discussing her early drive achieving her goal of earning her college degree and creating the future she envisioned for herself.

We chat about how she found her unique strengths, the surprising conversation she had with her boss that revealed the value they add to others’ lives and reaffirmed that when you pursue your passions you’ll be rewarded.

Focusing on LyAnn’s journey at Poshmark, we rewind back to the early days when she joined as the company’s first team member and her efforts building the community to include over five million seller stylists and 40 million users.

We also discuss why our multiple roles make us stronger, how to navigate dark days, and LyAnn’s belief that when you’re with someone it should feel like you’re the only two people in the room.

Highlights from the Transcript

  • On presence: “Life is always happening. If you don’t live in the moment, the moment passes you by. You can never have it again.”
  • On achieving your dreams: “It didn’t feel like sacrifices I had to make. It was my only option…Pushing myself when no one else did is something I am really proud of today.”
  • On knowing your value: “The conversation I had with my first CEO, when I decided to pursue another role, was one that I’ll remember forever. I thought he would just move on and find someone else but he took the news really terribly. It was very shocking to me. I knew we had a good relationship but when I told him I decided to leave he explained how much value I had added to his life by simplifying it and to the company as well. He proposed to double my salary. I will remember that moment in my life forever because it made me realize two things: First, if you find what you are really passionate about and you do it well it’s going to show and you’ll be rewarded. Secondly, you are so much more valuable than you think.”
  • On elevating others: “The conversation with my boss opened my eyes to my superpower: The ability to service people in a way that makes them effective but also makes them feel special, heard and important. Those softer skills are harder to learn but they’re what I live by. That encompasses my thought process when I build relationships, teams, and how I live my life in general.”
  • On passion and money: “I’ve always been a believer that if you follow your heart and do what you believe in the money will come.  Money has always been a secondary thought and never a decision maker for me. I’m more interested in the opportunity, taking into consideration: How will this challenge me to be better? How will this continue to grow me? Those factors have always been more influential for me. What I realized is that, by thinking that way everything falls into place as it should. If you are passionate about what you are doing the outcome will lead to happiness.”
  • On finding your superpower: “People are always so hard on themselves and looking to conform to what they think society wants them to be, whether it’s at home or at work. Especially with social media, people are more likely to compare themselves to others and feel like they aren’t enough. What we fail to realize are all of the things that do make us enough. That’s what I try to bring to light to people: Realizing their superpower, helping them embrace it and use it to guide them in their life.”
  • On gaining strength from our multiple roles: “I can totally relate to Rebecca Minkoff’s I Am Many campaign. It’s so true. I am not one person. You are not one person. We are Many. I think my acceptance of that notion has really allowed me to be where I am today. If I thought my sole purpose in life was to be a mom, I would have never agreed to come on board with Poshmark. I would have felt the guilt of being away from my kids, at the time my son Austin was 2 years old. I would have let the mom title define who I am as a person. But, because I embrace the fact that I am so much more, I can sit here as SVP of Community and still be a good mom, wife, sister, and all of the roles that are so important to me.”
  • On rising from growth challenges: “Navigating my personal growth has not been easy. There have been many bumps along the way. One thing I have learned is that staying true to who you are is at the core of who I am. As you grow personally and professionally, it’s so easy to get pulled in different directions, lose track of who you are, and why you are here. There have been many days on this journey where I questioned whether I made the right decision. I call those my dark days and there have been many. We all have them at some point. For me, what pulled me out of those hard times was looking around and continuing to be excited about what we were creating. The super smart, creative team I was working with. The unique community that we were building that you really can’t find anywhere else. I would think about all of that and at the end of the day. It would really help me get out of those dark days.”
  • On her biggest lesson: “The biggest challenge that I have faced on this journey is trying to balance my work and my family life. When I joined Poshmark, Austin was 2 years old and I struggled with not being able to be home for dinner sometimes or to be able to tuck him into bed when I had to work long hours. At the end of the day, I knew what I was doing was right and that it was benefitting my family as a whole. Going back to the notion of I Am Many, I didn’t want to let being a mom define who I am. I knew that if I was able to pursue my career and was happy doing it, I would be a better mom to my kids and a better wife to my husband.”
  • On balance: “I often get asked: ‘How do you do it all?’ The truth of the matter is, I don’t. When I was in my 20s I always tried to do it all. As I’ve grown, now I’m in my 30s, I’ve grown to learn that you can’t do it all and that’s okay. I prioritize everything that is important to me and I do those things…It’s important to realize that you aren’t alone. When you are going through those moments of disappointment, or whatever it may be, it’s about understanding that you are not the only person in the world going through this. There are other moms out there who are feeling the same way, that might be having it harder than you are. It’s important to have this perspective that you are not alone. Trying to do so much is unfeasible. Doing what matters to you is most important.”
  • On making others feel seen and heard: “I learned from a young age that every moment that you have is a fleeting one. Life does not stop for anyone. At the core of who I am, I live by that belief and it really dictates how I interact with people every day; Whether it’s having a conversation with one of my managers, at home talking to my husband, or one of our community members, I really give it my 110% attention because it’s what feels right. When you are with someone, it should feel like it’s just the two of you in the room. That’s how it should be. That’s the true meaning of being present.”