Yilan is currently CEO of Simply Independent inc.
Her mission is to improve lives of people with disabilities and chronic illnesses through technology.
However science and tech isn't all Yilan does. She continues to define all odds and participate in beauty pageants, proving that a petite can do it too. She is now Ms. California Petite 2020 and using her reign to help amplify her company's message. Yilan is inspiring so many, using her experiences and knowledge to help others live a healthy & strong life.
Let’s get to know our Petitegrl, Yilan!
Q: What has been the biggest challenge you had come across as CEO during the mist of the pandemic?
A: Getting customers and organic traffic has been difficult during the pandemic. This is because many businesses, nonprofits and senior centers that were prospective partners and clients are either short-staffed or completely shut down, thereby limiting our customer acquisition channels. However, my cofounder and I got really creative with Facebook ads, guerilla marketing tactics like cold emailing and finding customers from open Facebook groups and our own friends and family network.
Q: Let's talk about Startups & Sushi, what brought you to creating content about all things business?
A: Content creating through media has always been a fun outlet I wanted to explore. I get so impatient with writing blogs, so I thought making short videos was a quicker and more accessible way to communicate my journey of becoming a startup founder. The name originated from my love of 2 things: tech startups and making sushi J The videos center around building product, challenges of being a minority female in tech, and finding the right cofounder. Honestly it’s mostly a fun place where I can share my thoughts authentically and flex my creative muscles.
Q: What do you hope to inspire our next generation of leaders & creators?
A: I hope to inspire all women – petite, of color, minority, immigrant, LGBTQ - to start businesses. There are tons of tools and communities that offer you both operational and emotional support. Now is the best time to start a business, whether that be the traditional tech startup, or a small business you grew from a hobby. Starting is business is the best way to become an equity owner instead of wage earner. You work for yourself and build your own dreams instead of someone else’s.
Q: What personal challenges have you faced as a petite woman?
A: Not being taken seriously in leadership positions. As a minority female and also a petite woman, we get a “double-whammy” in terms of the ceilings. We face both the glass ceiling and the bamboo ceiling. So in my early career and post-college years, I definitely had tons of insecurities when it came to asking for what I wanted (and was qualified for) in terms of career advancement. However, after a lot of mistakes, I’ve learned to just let my work, diligence, and ethics show through and not make such a big deal out of being a petite minority female in a leadership position. In a way, when being a petite woman stopped bothering myself, other people began to notice Yilan first, and my “petite-ness” last.
Q: What do you think the petite community struggles with the most?
A: Confidence. We sell ourselves short (pun intended!) on so many opportunities because we grew up automatically thinking “modeling is for tall girls,” “CEO’s are for tall men” …etc. These self-defeating thoughts are not our fault, but the way media portrays women, leaders, and feminine beauty in the media. Even history channels portray Cleopatra and ancient queens as statuesque and model-like in their renditions! So this pervasive media image of tall women (and men) making history and occupying the most coveted positions in our society has definitely subconsciously chipped away at my confidence. I hope that my journey can empower other petite women overcome their own doubts.
Q: What advice can you give a Petitegrl who may be struggling with her body and height?
A: I think staying fit is important regardless of your height and frame. I would give the advice to focus on comparing yourself only to who you were yesterday. It’s not about comparing yourself to a victoria’s secret model, which is also a company and brand that is severely out of touch with reality. I find it much more inspirational and motivating to know that I am more fit, feel better in my clothes, or am a more effective CEO today than I was yesterday. That’s empowering.