Snejina Zacharia was determined to start a company, but as a woman, she faced many challenges that made launching the company, Insurify take at least a year. Venture capitalists would ask her the age of her kids, and they would conclude the children were too young for their mother to think about starting a company. Being a female CEO, she still gets looked down upon; some people only address her co-founder because he is male. Still, she has overcome it all to have the virtual insurance agent generate policies worth $170 million. Here is more about the Insurify CEO.
1. She Rarely Has Time for Lunch
Zacharia rarely takes time off work to have lunch, sometimes preferring utilizing that lunch break to meet with other entrepreneurs or mentors to brainstorm ideas. When she has time to spare for a quick bite, she will eat with her small team; they have become so close that they discuss personal and professional issues. The habit can be detrimental to her health, and the company's bottom line as CNBC enlightens us. Using up lunch breaks to work may increase productivity in the short term but hinder morale in the long term.
2. She Exercises at Least Thrice a Week
Working out in the morning has been hailed as having multiple benefits, including increased alertness, supporting weight loss and more overall energy. Perhaps it is this knowledge that motivates the CEO to make time for exercise in the morning. She disclosed that she tries to maintain a routine, working out at home twice or thrice a week.
3. Her Inspiration to Venture into Insurance
According to Boston Globe, the CEO was doing a year-long MBA program at Sloan School of Management, MIT, when she got into a highway incident that left her car scratched. She already had an insurance plan but wanted to change it, so she looked for different providers' options. Unfortunately, it was hectic and inefficient. She wanted to make the process easier; thus, Insurify was born to keep up with the trend of message-based search. Since she preferred a smooth process, she brought in artificial intelligence such that a person can chat with virtual assistants without being tied down to a computer screen or phone.
4. She Makes Time for Her Family
It is rare for a busy business executive to have enough time to prepare her children and take them to school, but no matter how tight the schedule, Zacharia has never stopped making time for such duties. She ensures the family stays close; therefore, breakfast time is for the entire family. Taking the child to school is a family activity, so she and her husband drive together whenever they can and drop off the children. The couple takes advantage of the time together to discuss whatever challenges they face at work and family issues. Even when she's driving alone, the CEO remembers to call her parents back in Bulgaria.
5. She Has Had the Itch to be an Entrepreneur Since Her College Days
Zacharia told Medium that she wanted to start her own company since she was in college but living in Bulgaria made it hard. She explained that post-communist Bulgaria was in hyperinflation, making it difficult to start anything from scratch. So instead of establishing her own company, she began working for US firms while in college to make enough money for her upkeep.
6. She Never Stops Thinking About Improving Her Company
Being at the helm of a company is a massive task because everyone looks up to you to give direction. Zacharia acknowledges, and she is up to the task. Even if she is not actively working at her desk reviewing the projections and key performance indexes, she spends a lot of time thinking about how Insurify can be better. She confesses that her obsession with continuous improvement did not start with Insurify. Even when she was an employee of other companies, the CEO wondered what they could do better.
7. She Believes CEOs Owe Investors a Duty of Care
Zacharia opines that one of the biggest misconceptions about being a CEO is that you are not accountable to anyone. She said that most people think that being at the helm of a company means no one should ask any questions because it is your company. However, she begs to differ, reasoning that once a hopeful entrepreneur gets investors to put their money in the company, then that person owes the investors fiduciary responsibility.
8. Her Daughter Aspires to be a Businesswoman
In an interview with Benzinga, Zacharia gave a detailed account of how she spends her day. She disclosed that 7 pm is diner family time, and everyone contributes to the conversation. It is during such open forums that she learned her daughter wants to be an entrepreneur. The little girl said she would love to publish math books and prefers to use the proceeds from the sale of her books to expand her business instead of seeking funds from venture capitalists.
9. She Doesn't Entertain Meetings Unless Necessary
Some CEOs believe in holding as many meetings as possible with their direct reports. For instance, Mark Zuckerberg revealed he holds two one-on-one meetings every week with his COO, Sheryl Sandberg and has maintained that frequency for over ten years. However, every CEO is different and will do whatever works for them. Zacharia comes from a different school of thought; she said that at Insurify, they have a no-nonsense-meetings rule, meaning unless the issue being discussed is critical to the company's development, then there is no need to meet. Instead, they use Slack to discuss the issues or ask questions.
10. Her Favorite Pastime Activity
The CEO prioritizes spending time with her kids and said that there is nothing better than watching them grow. They, therefore, go hiking during summers and ski together as a family. Her favorite part of the day is reading bedtime stories because her daughter loves Harry Potter, so she reads it in Bulgarian.
Written by Allen Lee
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