Learn about Jess' journey to founding Allovue, the typical day of a CEO, and her role models.
First things, first- tell us. What led you to found Allovue?
As a middle school teacher, it was a constant challenge to acquire the resources I needed to provide a great learning experience for my students. Those resources included everything from basics like books, paper, and supplies to supplemental resources like classroom decorations, technology or field trips. Like so many other teachers, I ended up buying a lot of things out-of-pocket. I became really curious about how budgeting and purchasing decisions are made and evaluated in districts and schools. As a teacher, I used so many education technology tools and it seemed like schools and districts would also benefit from similar finance tools for administrators - so I set out to create them!
With your company now in motion, what has been most rewarding?
It’s so cool to see ideas come to life. I still have all my old notebooks with the first sketches of Allovue and it’s unreal to see those become real-world tools thanks to our amazing team. Most of all, it is so rewarding to see principals and administrators empowered to make resource decisions that are right for their school and students. I love to hear stories from our partners about how students were able to access new or better resources this year because of decisions and discoveries that happened while using Allovue.
What's a typical day in the life of a CEO?
Oh boy - there is no such thing as an average day! On any given day, I might be traveling to meet with district administrators, supporting the leaders on our team with making big decisions, compiling reports for our Board, or brainstorming ideas for new products or customer success tools. Sometimes all of those things happen in the same day! Balance is one of my own core values. Each day, I try to carve out time to do things that make my body and mind feel good, which might be going to the gym, reading a good book, or having dinner with a friend.
So besides making time for self-care, what has been the most meaningful piece of advice you’ve received?
“Go to yoga.” In the early stages of a company, there is SO much happening and I have workaholic tendencies, so it’s really important for me to take breaks and take care of myself. If I feel myself getting frustrated or tired, I go to yoga or take a long walk. I also think it’s really important for leaders to model healthy behavior for other employees. I always want my team to feel like they have time to take good care of themselves and their families.
Are there any other leaders that you model your behavior after? What other CEOs do you look up to?
Ursula Burns, the first African American woman to lead a Fortune 500 company when she became CEO of Xerox; she is a role-model for persistence and beating the odds.
Aaron Levie, CEO and Founder of Box, demonstrates a lot of humor and humility through his Twitter feed; he doesn’t take himself too seriously.
Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and Founder of Ellevest. As a former Wall Street executive, I love how she has taken her area of expertise and democratized it through the Ellevest platform. She is empowering women to make smart investments and take control of their financial goals.
With that inspiration in mind, how do you imagine Allovue evolving in the next five years?
As we grow, we’re listening to our partners about how we can make it even easier for them to better serve students and improve their processes. Increasingly, we’re hearing requests for tools to make operational workflow more efficient with interoperable data. Our partners can look forward to more tools to address other challenging workflow processes in the near future.
Before you go- we know that one of your favorite ways to unwind is spending time with your cat, Darwin. Any recent "Darwinisms" you'd like to share?
This is my cat, Darwin, sitting on the stairs looking extremely judgmental when I come home late. I call this his, “And where have you been?” look.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Allovue works with districts and state departments of education across the country to allocate, budget, and manage spending. Allovue's software suite integrates seamlessly with existing accounting systems to make sure every dollar works for every student. Allovue also provides additional services such as chart of accounts and funding formula revisions.