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Pledge 1
Community Manager
Community Manager

Pledge 1%'s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way. 


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Lori Appleman

Founder, Redline Minds, LLC.

Knoxville, TN


What is your current role? Briefly describe in 1-2 sentences.


I am still very customer-facing as I also plan out all strategy and am a social media influencer for ecommerce.


This year's International Women's Day theme is "Embrace Equity." What does this mean to you? How can we build workplaces that are more equitable and inclusive?


Embrace Equity simply means all people have equal opportunity for any company role and to be compensated equally based on qualifications and the role. I think that I have done a great job and my inclusive team is extremely diverse. I seek out qualified individuals directly from a diverse pool which works better for me than a job post and will interview/test all. Then the best person gets the job.


Do you have any mentors or role models who have helped you on your personal journey?


My dad (now gone)


What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?


My dad once told me a story about someone he was interviewing answered the "where do you see yourself in five years" question with "in your job." Instead of sending the applicant away, he said "well then, let's map out what you need to do to get here." He turned out to be a fabulous hire and spoke at my dad's funeral 20 years later how my dad really helped his career. I'm not afraid of hiring someone who "wants my job." They will have to learn a lot and show off their leadership skills along the way. That makes for a great hire.


The past few years have brought many new and unprecedented challenges. What keeps you motivated or inspires you to stay optimistic?


Admittedly, some days it is hard. When I'm challenged to continue forward I remember that as an employer, I "feed" far more than myself and my dogs. Everyone who works on me is counting on their job to feed their household. This reminds me that my role as a leader extends to taking care of my team. When I see early career people bloom, this is incredibly rewarding.


Pledge 1% helps companies of all sizes and stages leverage their assets for social good. Why do you think it's important that companies prioritize social impact? Do you have any specific stories or examples from your work or colleagues you can share?


The easy answer is that we're all part of society and should absolutely leave a positive impact. The more thorough answer is that assisting others with reaching their goals brings up the quality of life for the entire community one person at a time. As an example, I dedicate many hours each month helping small store owners grow their business. I do this via a few mediums, primarily Facebook groups, a large meetup for ecommerce that I own, and other events, podcasts, etc. The majority of people who benefit from this assistance can't afford help of our caliber. I really enjoy watching them succeed whether or not they ever become a paying client.


If you could describe yourself in one word what would that be and why?


Empathetic. I really care how others feel and try hard to consider that before I think or act.


Do you have any unique or useful life hacks to help get through your day?


Don't laugh, but my corgi insists on greeting everyone for every Zoom. I let her up on my lap for a few seconds. It makes people smile, lightens the mood and has become a trademark for us. I love that I'm connecting physically with another living creature over the course of my work day which is otherwise spent alone.


Do you have any go-to apps or tools use love to use?


Clickup runs our business and I love that it pretty much does everything.


What are you looking forward to this year? Are there any goals (personal or professional), activities, or experiences you are excited about?


I'm looking forward to growing our revenue past the current plateau and doing more traveling. On my list was to win at least one decent design award for our firm. We just hit that last week!