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Getting to know Persefoni: Meet Shell Zhang

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1. And you may ask yourself, "Well... how did I get here?" (Tell us your journey?)

I was born and raised in a coastal city in China. Growing up, we did not have much as the country was just starting to rebuild its economy. I remember food ration tickets, our first hot water heater, first air conditioner, first VCD player etc. But at the same time, there was this amazing energy and optimism that reminded me a bit of a purpose-driven startup. I was extremely fortunate to have received a scholarship to study in Singapore when I was fifteen, and being a naturally curious person, I packed up my bags and left my hometown. Long story short, I continued my 'world tour' to the US, the Middle East, back to China, then back to the US. Along the way, I had the opportunity to work with diverse industries from food & beverages to aviation, and to engage in fun jobs such as market entry and growth, international expansions, mergers & acquisitions, etc. In my last role, I was managing a $200M chemical product portfolio while also doing some work in venture capital. I was drawn by the technology innovations changing our world at a record speed, and started to follow startup companies. When I saw Persefoni's pitch at a clean-energy accelerator, I decided to do a deeper dive and the rest is history.

2. And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. (What do you do at Persefoni?)

My role at Persefoni is corporate development and CEO initiatives. As a growing startup, we are constantly assembling an airplane as we fall off the cliff. In fact, market demand outpacing our organizational capacity is a good validation to our product market fit. This is when I step in to fill the void, whether it's running a marketing campaign, initiating partnership discussions, or setting up departmental KPIs. I also lead cross-functional projects and various strategic initiatives. I don't expect to run out of interesting things to do anytime soon.

Walking up Machu Picchu, Peru
Shell in Machu Picchu, Peru

3. And you may ask yourself, "Where does that highway go to?" (What are your hopes for your time at Persefoni?

I hope to play my small part in putting technology in every organization's hand to enable them to make better decisions. I'm also curious to learn how to scale up a category-defining startup company, and the best way to learn something is by doing it. Above all, I look to connect with smart, passionate people who go to work everyday because they care. On this last point, my fellow Persefonites have blown me away since day 1 and I can only count my blessings that I get to call such an inspiring group of people teammates.

4. And you may say to yourself, "My God! What have I done?" (Why is Persefoni a great home for you?)

Persefoni really has the vision of a truly great company and the right mix of talent for execution. We are a technology company with deep expertise in climate; but we also speak the language of private equity, retail, aviation, energy, and many more. Our team has such diverse background and industry expertise which means we can truly be partners with our customers. I'm excited about what Persefoni can do to move our world forward.

Shell in Athens, Greece
Shell in Athens, Greece

5. And you may find yourself in another part of the world... (Tell us about your life/hobbies away from work?)

I love exploring different places around the world in authentic ways. In my younger days, it means backpacking across Europe, Asia, and Latin America with no set agenda. Now that I have two lovely little girls, I plan to take them to live abroad during summer break. At the meantime, I enjoy being in nature, especially hiking and snorkeling/scuba diving. The Covid-hobby I picked up was sewing; I've been making dresses for my daughters and myself since.

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