On this week's Behind Her Empire, Sarah Jones Simmer joins to talk about working at Bumble, becoming a CEO and how her struggle with cancer changed her worldview.
Simmer described her career as a windy, curvy road. While people like her husband seemed to know what they wanted to do since the seventh grade, she has always felt like she's figuring it out, even today.
"I feel like I'm still figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. And I kind of love that because I would love my curiosity to guide me," said Simmer.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in music but went on to join AmeriCorps after college. After getting her graduate degree, Simmer ended up working at a hedge fund where she became an investor.
She spent much of her career investing and consulting with businesses. She didn’t become involved with tech until she joined Bumble, which at the time was a 30-person team working out of a two-bedroom apartment. She quickly rose at the company, eventually becoming its COO.
"The IPO was an incredible team effort. There were so many folks involved with every step of that process. And I was honored to play a small slice in it," said Simmer.
Around the time the pandemic struck, Simmer was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. The experience radically changed her perspective on life.
"I just turned 37 at the time, I started getting mammograms… and you pretty quickly are called into clarity of what is most important," said Simmer.
Thanks to her support system and regular treatment, Simmer was cancer free a year later.
“The reality is right now we all live as though there's like no expiration date. And on the other hand, if you were told you had a month to live, or maybe even a year, you'd probably throw the playbook out -- and just about everything, right? -- and live out that bucket list right now.”
She decided to leave Bumble for something new. She landed a position as CEO of Found, an evidence-based weight care program.
“You move to the next thing – like find your side hustle, find the things that bring you joy [and] build your version of your career based on how you want to spend your time.”
Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified Simmer as the former CEO of Bumble. She was the company's COO.
dot.LA Audience Engagement Fellow Joshua Letona contributed to this post.
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