Managing a team through rapid growth: A conversation with Trinity Mouzon Wofford, CEO & Co-Founder of Golde
March 16th, 2021
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It’s Women’s History Month, and we’re celebrating women in leadership all month long here at Asana. And strong leadership is critical to successfully managing a team—whether it’s one person, 10, or an entire company. Especially over the past year, which has been challenging in many ways, but also created unexpected opportunities.
That’s what Trinity Mouzon Wofford, the CEO and Co-Founder of Golde, learned when her company grew rapidly in the wake of shelter in place as a result of COVID-19 last year. Golde is on a mission to make wellness easy, accessible, and fun with their superfood blends, supplements, and masks, and Trinity takes a similar approach to managing her growing team.
We chatted with Trinity about her entrepreneurial journey and how it’s shaped her management style—and she had some great insights and best practices that can help us all be better managers. Here’s what she had to say.
Q: What inspired you to co-found Golde?
A: Golde was inspired by my own experiences as a consumer in the wellness space. I was feeling caught between the outdated wellness stuff that I had grown up with in Upstate New York and this next wave of offerings that felt ultra Luxe and prestige, which didn’t entirely resonate with me, and frankly, I just couldn’t afford.
So I focused on this idea of taking wellness and making it easier, accessible, and fun for everyone. There’s this element of bringing a little more fun to wellness, and having accessible price points is a critical factor.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to start your own company?
A: I was always excited about the idea but didn’t know it was a career path. “Entrepreneur” was not something my high school guidance counselor promoted. When I went to college in New York City, I was exposed to this whole other world full of different career paths.
I was excited about the idea of being creative in my work and being entrepreneurial at it. Then, as I went into the workforce, I found that my skill set was best suited toward that.
Q: And now you’re the co-founder and CEO of Golde! What are your key responsibilities?
A: Our business is four years old, and for the first three and a half years my role included a little bit of everything. My co-founder and I were the only full-time employees, so the two of us split up all the responsibilities—whether it was writing an Instagram caption, sending out the newsletter, or responding to customer emails.
With so much on our plates, I had to remind myself to be realistic about what we could and couldn’t do. There have definitely been times that I looked at bigger businesses with teams a hundred times the size of ours and had to remind myself that I couldn’t hold myself to that standard because I was literally the one doing everything. That’s an important point for entrepreneurs to remember—recognizing that you have to prioritize because you can’t do it all.
While I still have my hands in everything, we’ve scaled up and now have a team of eight. My role has shifted to acting as a coach and helping everyone achieve the goals that we’ve set. And I see the “support system” part of my role expanding as we grow, which will be a fun evolution.
Q: As a leader, how do you know when it’s time to expand your team?
A: We experienced so much growth in 2020 that we weren’t expecting. We saw a major uptick in demand when people began to shelter in place, and folks brought their self-care routines home, whether that was with a face mask or a Matcha latte.
Over the summer, with the movement to support Black-owned businesses, we experienced an explosion of growth. We were having record-breaking day after day after day, which is lovely, but also a little terrifying because you can’t really project how long it’s going to last and what sort of resources you need.
We quickly went from being a business that had the right number of people on the team, to being 10 times the size of what we were. We had to scramble to make adjustments and keep up. As a leader, it was challenging to figure out how quickly we could adapt, but also where we still needed to take our time because you certainly didn’t want to hire 10 people overnight.
I tried to remain very mindful about hiring. We keep it lean, and then slowly expand the team as we find that people have a little bit too much on their plate. I used that as our guide.
Q: Running a (fast) growing company is no small feat! How do you approach managing a team?
A: As I mentioned, my management style is very support-oriented. Here are two ways this is done in practice:
- Encourage your team to be entrepreneurial. Empower your team to take full ownership over their work. Part of this is helping them understand how their day-to-day work fits into your broader company goals and mission.
- Be a resource and sounding board. Help your team make the connection between the day-to-day and your bigger mission. Then be available to guide them and provide feedback to ensure they’re going in the right direction while also being supportive.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you received that has informed your management style?
A: I’ve had great managers in the past, and the ones who have really left an impact on me are the ones who knew the right balance of being available but also giving me space to learn. And I believe this includes giving someone space to fail and learn from it.
I remember my very first job out of college; I was in a sales role and had to do cold calls. I sucked at doing cold calls. And I remember my manager saying, “Okay, this is the one you’re going to take.” I was shaking, and I remember it was just terrible. I was so awkward and nervous, but he let me get through most of the call. Then he jumped in where it was appropriate and gave me feedback after the call ended.
And I appreciated that because it must have been difficult to listen to me fumble through the call, but you need to let your team have those learning experiences so they can grow. As an entrepreneur, all of my learnings come from failures and so you have to give your team a little bit of space so they can learn too.
Q: How are you and your team using Asana at Golde?
A: We use Asana to manage many of our workflows. On the marketing front, we use it to manage our marketing calendar, so everyone is clear on when things are happening and all the to-dos are in one place.
We also use Asana to manage our operations and supply chain: keeping track of new product launches, production runs, and making sure that every little thing is being done on time. That’s an area in particular where organization and timelines are critical, and Asana has helped with that.
We also use Asana to manage our weekly team call. Everyone has a little section within our meeting project to capture the updates they want to share so everyone knows what’s going on. Once that part wraps, we usually end up sharing a couple of smoothie recipes.
On my end, I love to use Asana for keeping track of investor conversations and things like that. I like to have everything in a little Asana board, just for me.
Q: What impact has using Asana had on your business and how you manage your team?
A: Using Asana to manage our work, like our marketing campaigns and supply chain, has made an incredible impact on our business, particularly in the last year where we saw so much explosive growth. There’s so much to keep track of and letting things fall through the cracks is just not an option. Asana helps us keep everything flowing on time.
Q: Congratulations on the recent launch of Super-Ades! What’s next for you and Golde?
A: Thank you! We launched in Target earlier this year and we have so much more coming. We have two new products that will be launching later this year, so definitely keep an eye out. Follow us on Instagram to stay in the loop!
We’re inspired by customers like Golde who are using Asana to achieve their missions. See what teams around the world are doing with Asana.