Women Worth Watching 2015
Mindspark’s VP & GM is an Inspiration to Women in Tech
Every day, Michelle Lee maneuvers the male-dominated technology industry with grace and intelligence. She currently serves as vice president and general manager at Mindspark Interactive, a software technology company whose product portfolio spans browser applications, desktop utilities, and mobile applications. In addition to general manager responsibility, Michelle has P&L ownership across the browser products division. She manages a product portfolio of more than 90 of the company’s brands and works cross-functionally with finance, technology, developers, designers, and product managers to ensure consistent product excellence. Michelle also directs the Customer Insights & Support team, with a focus on eliciting quantitative and qualitative customer feedback to make smarter product decisions and improve product quality and customer satisfaction.
Throughout her tenure at Mindspark, Michelle has helped grow the company, mentored her staff, and earned the respect of her colleagues. She is an inspiration for women who want to develop careers in the technology industry.
“Life throws you curveballs.”
Before joining the Mindspark team, Michelle served as chief strategy officer and head of product at EdLab, at Teachers College, Columbia University; was the director of product management at Reed Elsevier in New York; and served in related roles at Sony Pictures Entertainment and Deutsche Bank. She was also a founding member of RottenTomatoes.com—a popular Internet site devoted to movie reviews and news.
“I think my biggest career leap was when I took the position at Reed Elsevier managing an international team and a large-scale, global project,” said Michelle. “It was daunting, but the multi-cultural experience helped me rapidly learn how to adapt to different environments and working styles. “
“Life throws you curveballs. You must remain flexible and recognize opportunities when they present themselves.”
Michelle earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BBA from the University of California at Berkeley. She is mother to a young daughter, an accomplished jazz musician, and a proud Korean-American.
Education: BS, Business Administration, University of California Berkeley – Haas School of Business; MBA, Harvard Business School
First Job: Interactive Music/Effects Composer at an interactive entertainment design studio
What I’m Reading: “The Innovators” by Walter Isaacson, “Console Wars” by Blake J. Harris, “Saga” by Brian K. Vaughan
The most important quality a woman leader should have is…
…perseverance and authenticity.
The career advice I’d give my former self:
There is no such thing as a five-year plan that executes smoothly and according to expectation. Life throws curveballs—you must remain flexible and recognize when opportunities present themselves to you.
Words I live by:
Define success for yourself, not by what others expect of you.
The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…
…to not take myself so seriously. Often times, you get caught up playing the comparison game only to realize that everyone grows at their own pace.
When I really need to focus on a project, I…
…ruthlessly prioritize and separate the noise from what actually is necessary to complete the work.
My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…
…when I took a position at Reed Elsevier managing an international team and a large-scale, global project. It was daunting but the multi-cultural experience helped me rapidly learn how to adapt to different environments and working styles.
Being a woman in my profession has been…
…tough, occasionally lonely but utterly fulfilling. Each day brings different challenges and rewards!
I’ve learned that failure is…
…inevitable, healthy and necessary for personal growth.
I maintain a healthy personal life by…
…prioritizing what is truly important in my life and knowing my boundaries of what I can or cannot handle.
I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when…
…I created my first Geocities web site. Consumer Tech and Internet applications have fascinated me ever since I was a kid.