Hoya Highlight: Giana Korth (B’10)

Giana Korth

Founder, Tampon Tribe
Winner of 2018 Second Annual Alumni Pitch Competition, John Carroll Seattle

Career Reflections

What is the best career advice you have ever received?

Set your bar high, and strive to exceed it. I’m a huge believer in going after what you want, even if the cards seem stacked against you. All it takes is making a game plan, committing to it, and giving it your all regardless of how many times you may need to adjust the course.

Especially as women, don’t let the corporate ladder or stereotypes tell you you can’t do anything you put your mind to. One of my mentors once told me, “Don’t waste your energy on telling people how smart or capable you are, show them.” There are always times when you will need to stand up for yourself or others, but try to fly under the radar and never let them see you coming.

Another piece of advice that always sticks out to me came from my Dad. He would always tell me, “Nobody does it alone; and take pride in everything you do.” To this day, I never seek success at the expense of anyone else. Success is a joint effort that should bring out the best in everyone involved—your team, your company, your customers, your partners, etc. I also value my name and my reputation over everything else. I often ask myself, “what would ___ say if they were to talk about me or Tampon Tribe to anyone else? And as long as I’m happy with the answer, I’m good to go!

What has been the most rewarding moment of your career?

During my time at Meltwater, I was among our top ten global sellers. As a reward, our CEO took all ten of us to Ghana to visit our nonprofit, MEST (Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology), for the students’ graduation and final business pitches. The students had spent over a year coming up with their very own businesses, creating and implementing a business plan, market testing, creating the technology… the whole bit. Seeing the amazing dedication they poured into their businesses, and how excited and nervous they were to pitch to a panel of very veteran entrepreneurs and VC investors, was humbling, inspiring, and exhilarating! Three of the seven teams received funding and a place to incubate their new businesses, and two are still very successful four years later (one even acquired by Samsung!).

Seeing this resonated with me in a profound way, and very much sparked my own entrepreneurial interests that led to Tampon Tribe just a few years later. Especially entrepreneurial endeavors having a social impact component—that was really where my passion for social impact entrepreneurship started.

What is the hardest thing you have ever done professionally?

There’s no doubt in my mind, learning how to be a successful young saleswoman right out of college was by far the most challenging part of my early career. I had to view myself differently and build my own confidence, so that I could get over the fact that I was a totally inexperienced 22-year-old college grad selling a SaaS solution to a 50-year-old CMO who had more experience than I did years on this earth. Through much trial and error, I learned that ultimately sales is all about how you portray yourself and your brand, and you have 100% control over that. Ultimately, it is really empowering and one of the most improtant skills to have in many facets of life.

In the second half of my career, the most challenging moments were hiring and letting go people on my team. Letting someone go is hard emotionally, but it’s more like ripping off a Band-Aid. Hiring, on the other hand, has a profound impact on your company culture, success, efficiency, etc., so something to be taken with great consideration. At the end of the day, I always go with my gut; thankfully it’s worked out pretty well for the most part.

Your Time on the Hilltop

Favorite professor or class at Georgetown?

The “Women and Gender Studies in the Media” class was one of my all-time favorites. That class gave me major insight into the genderization of women’s roles, and helped me think about entrepreneurial endeavors that could benefit women. That class also gave me insight into how important a tool the media (social and otherwise) is as a change agent. We talked about branding, portraying ideas through imagery, and how to convey a message.

Of course, I also greatly benefited from the entrepreneurship class I took in the MSB. That class had lots of guest speakers: the Sweetgreen guys, Ted Leonsis, etc. Hearing from these successful entrepreneurs firsthand was very inspiring, and made me feel that there was no reason I couldn’t follow in their footsteps towards the same success with my own endeavour.

What is your favorite Georgetown memory?

I have two:

Camping out for the Final Four my freshman year was huge! My friends and I all took turns holding our spot in line—even swapping out with each other so we could go to class or work on homework or give a presentaion. We even had a tent and a whole snack set up; it was quite impressive when I look back! After scoring the tickets, we all roadtripped to Atlanta for the games and had the time of our lives. Come on P. Ewing!!!

My senior year, during the senior auction weekend, D.C. had a massive snowstorm that resulted in school being canceled fro two weeks straight. Think Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon, etc. Since they’d been in town for the auction, all of my friends’ parents were snowed in with us! We had the best time taking the parents out around Georgetown, especially to Rhino bar where we all broke it down on the dancefloor.

How has Georgetown shaped you?

Instrumentally! I came into Georgetown with confidence in myself and my abilities—it takes that kind of confidence to even make it into Georgetown. But, Georgetown gave me a whole new meaning of the importance of friends and those you chose to surround yourself with; and also for what our country and the world needs. Georgetown helped me feel that I could make as much of an impact and influence as I wanted. It was exhilerating being surrounded by people who also wanted to make an impact, and to have friends who were just as passionate as I was about being their best selves. The people who are at Georgetown truly want to do good and want to make a positive impact in the world. Plus, having incredible student-run organizations like GUASFCU and the Corp showed me that the entrepreneurial spirit was strong at Georgetown. Knowing how hard it is to be an entrepreneur now, it’s amazing that we as students got those epxeriences on campus.

Equally as important is the focus on cura personalis and our beloved Jesuit values. Having my university put as much emphasis on my course curriculum as they did on our extracurriculars, club sports, volunteer work, socializing, etc., was extremely valuable and something I continue to strive for in the balance of my daily life.

A Day in the Life

What is on your desk right now?

A paper planner that I love—as much as I rely on my phone and laptop, it really helps me to write everything down! And to do that, I use one of those old-school four color click pens, so that I can color code everything. I always have two kinds of hot sauce at my desk, too. Right now, they are Tapatío and one I’m digging from my recent trip to Nashville. I also have a plethora of tampons in our various packaging, of course ;)

What’s one part of your daily routine you couldn’t live without?

Something active! Using my body and being active keeps me sane. I live in Venice Beach, which is a big surf town, so I try to do a surf session in the morning at least once a week as my meditation. Otherwise I’m doing HIIT classes, training for a triathlon, bike riding, roller blading, you name it! Also, I talk to my mom every single day. At the age of 30, I find those daily calls to be very grounding, and they remind me of my priorites, blessings, and goals.

Who or what is a source of inspiration in your life?

My parents. They are the two most influential people in my life. They’ve taught me everything I know about work ethic, passion, and drive. They do nothing for themselves, and go above and beyond to do everything for everyone around them. I grew up seeing quite a matriarchy of incredibly strong women on my mother’s side of our family—making decisions and calling the shots—so I never had a complex about women being different from men or inferior. Looking back, that was an incredible blessing that shaped how I view myself and women in the workplace, especially when working with or interacting with men.

Who is your favorite author?

I’m on a kick right now of reading and re-reading all of Tim Ferriss’ books—4-Hour Workweek, 4-Hour Body, Tools of Titans, Tribe of Mentors—and I also love his podcast!

Words to live by?

I’ll never forget learning the Golden Rule back in 2nd grade at my parochial school, Holy Family. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself, and treat others as you want to be treated.” To this day I believe it remains the most powerful lesson that we should all be striving to embody on a daily basis. You don’t necessarily have to love your neighbor, but you should respect them and treat them with dignity. You never know what they are going through, or what they can bring to your life. Everyone has something to offer us if we open our eyes, hearts, and especially our ears. Just think of the difference we can make in the world if we all have a little bit more compassion and empathy?!

With that I’ll leave you with one of my biggest role models’ husband’s quote ;) ... “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” —Barack Obama

Oh, and of course—The Future is Female! ☺