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Meet Sharon Kan of Pepperlane in Cambridge

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharon Kan.

Sharon, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
From an early age, I was fascinated with entrepreneurship and understanding what I can create to make the world a better place. I got into the technology market early on in my career, moving to Boston to launch the U.S. branch of an Israeli-based company, and led sales organizations. I launched multi-million-dollar companies, had successful exits to giants like Oracle, and landed a CEO position. That kept me on the road all the time—away from my family for two weeks at a time and led me to think about what was next. I realized I couldn’t keep up with boys’ demands to be all in and not leave time for your family.

Soon after leaving that position (and having my second daughter), I launched a new company: Tikatok, which used technology from MIT to help kids create their own stories and was ultimately acquired by Barnes & Noble. While it may have seemed crazy to start a new company with a new baby, being my own boss truly allowed me to work on the schedule that fit my family’s needs. Currently, I’m the CEO of Pepperlane, a company I co-founded a year ago to rewrite the rules for how mothers work and truly bring value to the many skills they offer.

Has it been a smooth road?
I’ve learned that it’s OK to create your own rules and do things your way, but it took me some time to realize that. Early on I tried to play by the boys’ rules; when I was fundraising I would about sports, etc instead of embracing the things I was passionate about. I’ve interviewed for jobs I didn’t get, but in the process, I’ve created the jobs that work for me. I don’t always fit someone else’s mold and over time I’ve learned to be comfortable with that.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Pepperlane – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Pepperlane gives mothers the opportunities to truly work flexibly and do what they love, by giving them a platform to launch their own micro-businesses and embrace their entrepreneurial spirit. We do this by offering them a simple website they can complete with no tech or design skills, and that business is immediately launched to a supportive marketplace and community. The best way for mothers to control their own livelihood is to own their own micro-business. Today, mothers don’t have a clear path and simple solution to start their own business from ground zero, and Pepperlane is changing that.

I’m proud of the women who have been inspired to start businesses after years at home with their families, or who have taken risks to leave their full-time jobs and pursue the things they love that still give them the time they need with their families. On Pepperlane you are simply offering your valuable services and skills to people in your community who need them; you don’t have an employer judging you for your age or the gaps on a resume or not perfectly matching a job description. You can bring yourself as you are, with your passions and your identity as a mother; you can be whoever you are and that’s OK. We have new mothers in their 20s and grandmothers in their 70s, all united by the common thread of motherhood and excited by the idea of starting something for themselves.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I’ve had success starting businesses in Boston and think it’s a place full of incredibly smart and accomplished people. I don’t think it’s necessarily easy, but that’s not a good reason to discount it. There are intros others have made for me that truly changed the trajectory of my career, and I think every person in Boston needs to make the commitment to help out someone else who is just getting started. For me that is the key—I would like to see more people open doors for other people. Figuring out how to be successful is not easy and people should help each other; if we want to build the sustainable economy here, we have to be willing to help each other.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Nicole Mordecai, Create With Photos

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