Rose Zhong wanted to work on real-world problems with diverse teams. Today, as VP of finance at the startup Fundbox, she's doing just that. "Don’t be afraid to do something new even if it means lower pay or more work in the short term," our Fairygodboss of the Week says. "You’ll build a diverse set of skills that will eventually make you more well rounded and better suited for leadership opportunities in the future."
Fairygodboss of Week: Rose Zhong
Vice President of Finance, Fundbox
San Francisco, California
Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
Currently, I serve as the Vice President of Finance at fintech credit and payments startup Fundbox, in San Francisco. In this role, my team and I work closely with all internal teams to oversee everything related to how we earn, raise, and spend money. This is particularly interesting at Fundbox since our core business involves financial products and transactions.
I began my career thinking that I wanted to pursue a graduate degree in economics but quickly pivoted more operational work. The change came about because I wanted more hands-on work, on real-world problems, with diverse teams. I decided to pursue an MBA and got some great strategy and analytics experience with major consumer brands: Fiji water and iTunes. In 2013, I had the opportunity to join Uber, and my career really took off from there. At Uber, I managed a wide spectrum of responsibilities and teams in product and finance, which then led me to the role I have today at Fundbox. I wouldn't be where I am today without the support and mentorship from amazing women (and men!) along the way.
What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
I’m most proud of building incredibly talented teams with people I maintain strong relationships with, even after moving on from the specific role or company. Building valuable, lasting connections means the world to me.
What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
I was born in China, and even after coming to the US, my parents and I still spoke Chinese at home. I learned English from five different public school districts in four different states, so needless to say, I didn’t have the most consistent language education. I overcame this challenge by immersing myself in social situations where I learned various communication skills, and eventually, my English vocabulary caught up. Because of this obstacle, I’ve had a unique opportunity to develop stronger non-verbal communication and empathy skills that are useful in leadership settings today.
Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? and Why?
For boss-lady inspiration, I’d choose Sallie Krawcheck. Sallie has not only had a fantastic career in investment banking, one of the toughest career paths for men and women, she’s gone on to start a very successful company. In addition, she is philanthropic with both her time and money, always giving back to help others succeed.
What do you do when you're not working?
I enjoy maintaining an active lifestyle, so you can often find me at Ritual Hot Yoga in SF, doing pushups and working out in general. I also enjoy spending time with friends and my amazing husband, Rob.
If you could have dinner with one famous person—dead or alive—who would it be?
Mindy Kaling. She has had a super successful and amazing career so far. Her content is amazing, and I can’t wait to see what else she has up her sleeves!
What is your karaoke song?
Journey – "Don't Stop Believin’"
What is your favorite movie?
Love Actually <3
What book would you bring with you on a desert island?
The Power Broker by Robert Caro. This Pulitzer-winning biography of Robert Moses is incredible...and super long!
What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
Fantastic experiences. Dinner at Alinea while staying at the Four Seasons.
What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
Don’t be afraid to do something new even if it means lower pay or more work in the short term. You’ll build a diverse set of skills that will eventually make you more well rounded and better suited for leadership opportunities in the future.
Why do you love where you work?
Fundbox is an amazing place to work for many reasons, but mainly because of my team, teammates, and our mission: helping small business owners gain new financial power. You spend so much of your life at work, so it’s crucial to surround yourself with important people and missions you believe in.
If you’re not working with amazing people on an important mission, then you should consider other places that could use your talents!
Fairygodboss is all about women helping other women - so each week, we celebrate a woman who made a difference in another woman’s career. Is there a woman who has made a difference in your career? Celebrate her and thank her by nominating her here.