Women of WeChat: Kim Leitzes

By Virginia Werner, August 24, 2016

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In our Women of WeChat series, we take a look at some of the women whose lives and careers have been shaped by WeChat. They are all successfully pursuing careers in the tech industry; not an easy feat by any means. Find them at CHat Shanghai, a two-day conference designed to educate and inspire use of the WeChat ecosystem on September 1 and 2 at The Place near Xintiandi.

Kim Leitzes, known to some as “KOL Kim”, is the CEO and founder of ParkLU, an influencer marketing platform that connects consumer brands with key opinion leaders (“KOLs”) in China. Her short-form social handle would read something like this: Fearless female founder. Former luxury executive, ex-banker and consumer retail investor turned tech entrepreneur. Fashion + data geek. Mother of two: Zoe and ParkLU.

Tell us about your company and the services it provides.
ParkLU is a marketplace that makes it easy for brands and influencers/KOLs to collaborate. Brands can simply launch campaigns in days, not weeks, by using our platform. With our technology, marketers save hours of research and networking by having detailed social profiles compiled in one place and we close the loop by connecting them directly with KOLs through the ParkLU app.

What aspects of WeChat appeal to you the most and have inspired you to make it such an instrumental part of your career?
ParkLU builds its technology to adapt wherever KOLs go, so WeChat is a very important part of our KOL community and one of our many sources for data. [WeChat is] completely game-changing, and it’s even scary how much data is being gathered via WeChat – which devices are tied to who, how much that person spends, where they spend it and how often. For brand marketers, the ever-burning question of “did my marketing strategy work?” is moving closer to answers with all this data. That’s the unique challenge and opportunity of WeChat.

How has WeChat affected your career?
I love how frictionless it is to make introductions and meet new people through WeChat. I’ve met new customers, candidates and friends through seamless three-person group chats. There’s no business card dance or flaky email follow-ups.

WeChat, along with a host of other tools, has made it a lot easier to build and scale a B2B software business like ParkLU. Unlike agencies, our headcount doesn’t grow with each successive new customer, so whenever a product like WeChat makes our cycle time faster – especially for getting user and customer feedback – it has a huge impact on our development.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a woman in an industry typically dominated by males?
Learning to ask questions, which may even make you sound stupid, is one of the hardest things. I’m not sure this is a gender-specific issue, but when you’re only one of a few women in the room – and without a technical background – asking questions to make sure you really understand something is not easy. I remember my first internship at a software startup and the CTO decided I needed to understand how computers work… he started at the very beginning with binary, literally 1’s and 0’s! I definitely didn’t ask enough questions back then.

Is it important for you to be a role model to other females looking to enter the tech industry?
I am extremely supportive of women in business and technology. It is not an easy balance when you have a family, so I can only hope to be an inspiration to other women. Can you have it all? No, but you can choose what you want. I met my lead investor five weeks after having my daughter, so in many ways I feel like the last 2 years have been nurturing and exponentially growing two babies – my daughter Zoe and ParkLU.

Read more interviews in our Women of WeChat series here.

Sept 1-2, 2pm-late, RMB388 (early bird price valid until August 25), RMB588 (standard price). The Place, see event listing.

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