The Pleasure is Ours: Meet Helena Wong of Peatix USA

Everyone, say hi to Helena.

Helena Wong snorkeling!

She says hi back. Helena here is a rare breed: after an astounding 10 years mastering sales in a large financial software corporation (Helena is an adrenaline junkie), she shifted gears radically, spun out, was hurled off a cliff, and when she emerged from the wreckage found herself in a magical land of enchanting new technologies and business methodologies. Helena had become a startup person.

We caught up with Helena to find out what this transition was like, and to explore the side of her that puts the “person” in “salesperson”.

Q: Having now lived in the majority of the boroughs of New York City, which is the best?
Queens…period.  First, I grew up there. Second, it’s the largest borough. Third, it has the most ethnic enclaves, with Asians dominating in Flushing, Africans in Jamaica, Greeks in Astoria, Jewish in Forest Hills, Mexicans in Corona, Indians in Jackson Heights, Polish in Ridgewood, Italians in Ozone Park, etc.  Head to any of these neighborhoods and you’ll find the most authentic restaurants in each category.

Q: What are some of the events in NYC you enjoy most?

Non-profit and youth focused events.  It’s the best to join organizers in supporting important causes dear to their hearts, and in particular when I can help an event that will have life-changing impacts on youth in need.

Q: What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve ever seen on the NYC subway?

A creepy man with a trench coat.  Let’s just leave it at that.

Creepy trench coat man
Above: the trench coated creepy man Helena once saw on a subway

Q. Before coming to Peatix, you were working in a very different environment. What were you doing, and what was it like making the switch?
I worked for a financial software company called FactSet and focused on selling a wide range of tech solutions to the investment community in PA, DE and FL.  There was a steep learning curve in understanding high tech products and solidifying a wide range of fundamental skill sets such as customer support, training, mentoring, product development, conducting meetings and presentations with very smart individuals and selling and exceeding targeted goals in a challenging financial environment.

Making the switch from corporate to startup was challenging.  I no longer have someone dictating what my goals are or what I’m supposed to work on day to day.  Now, I have the opportunity to focus more on strategy and creative thinking, while working directly under visionaries to help build their product at an early stage of growth in the US.  The biggest challenge is to be self-disciplined.  No one is telling you what to do: when you choose a role to grow a business in a new region, you now have the reigns to test ideas.  Sometimes you exceed, sometimes you fail.  But it’s important to learn quickly from your mistakes and move on.  Being open to change is important if something is not working or you’re not seeing any results.

Q: What is the single most important trait that makes for an effective salesperson?

Credibility.

Helena Wong, Head of Sales at Peatix, USA

Q: As someone who has now worked in both corporate and startup environments, what do you think are the tech’s scenes virtues? Its shortcomings?

As our CEO Taku Harada says, in order to be a successful startup, you have to be ahead of the curve in building innovative solutions.  If you chase after enhancements your competitors already have, you will fail as a startup.  Shortcomings? I wish we had a printer and fax in the office—it would make my life so much easier!

Q: What is it like working at the world’s most beloved ticketing company? Feel free to use metaphors.

The Chicken or The Egg?

Q: What do you enjoy most about working with event organizers?

Their ability to transform ideas into live, fun and inspiring events.

Q: What’s the best song ever?

Nothing is more gangster than California Love (Tupac).  Every time the song comes up while I’m driving, you just have to shake it shake it baby!