How TikTok COO Vanessa Pappas Manages One of many Most Influential Jobs within the World

While Pappas originally thought she was going to be a vet, everything changed when she got her first computer at age 12. “It opened up a whole new world for me. I remember playing games with people from different parts of the world. It just blew me away, ”she says. “That was a moment when I saw the power of technology and I realized that I wanted to be part of it.”

And TikTok is certainly where it belongs. Going forward, says Pappas, the company will continue to grow, especially when it comes to “live use and consumption”. She also mentions investing and exploring the ecommerce marketplace … but first and foremost is TikTok’s mission to inspire creativity and delight consumers.

How does Pappas inspire her own team and what is the most misunderstood aspect of her job? For Glamour’s latest edition of Doing the Work, she reveals all of that and more.

How do I define what it means to be a good boss

A good boss truly empowers you to be your best and supports you in your endeavors. This is something that I try to make possible for my teams. When I look back at the bosses I’ve had and the mentors I’ve had, that’s one of the common themes.

What bosses have to do better

A bad boss is someone who doesn’t micromanage their team and doesn’t give them the freedom to do their best job. Perhaps more subtle is: leaders who are unable to communicate clearly so that you never know where you stand. Are you doing well? Are you not well That should never come as a surprise. Really clear communication from your manager is critical.

The most misunderstood aspect of my job

I would like to know what people think of this role. You know, a title like Chief Operating Officer can feel very broad or just vague about your day-to-day life. There are so many things I’ll be doing on any given day, whether it’s reviewing an upcoming product launch we have for our YouTubers, or giving feedback on the creative for one of our promotional campaigns, or thinking through our latest safety guidelines. It’s really expanded. But I am very focused on how we foster a comfortable, safe, and inclusive community in everything we do. Everything I prioritize is geared towards that.

My favorite part of my job

It really is to be seen what a positive impact we have had on our community. A woman from Australia who was an agoraphobia posted a video talking about how she really got through the pandemic and she got on TikTok and found her community. She went down the rabbit hole of a green thumb from TikTok via gardening and transformed her space. She grew plants everywhere and saw that this community was supporting her on TikTok while she was sharing everything. It really made her feel confident to get out more and change her outlook on life. So when I talk to a waiter in my local coffee shop or at a business meeting and my business partner says, “My family member’s life has changed” about TikTok knowing you are putting a smile on people’s faces is easy an incredible feeling. For me, that’s the most important thing that inspires me.

The only area where I’m a perfectionist

My schedule. I am a ruthless organizer when it comes to keeping my calendar and the reason for this is because I want to make sure that I am prioritizing the right things. I have set weekly priority meetings. I look at what are the business goals, what am I trying to achieve this week, and do my time and commitments match what I am trying to achieve? I also do that to ensure a good work-life balance. I make sure that I lock my family’s time.

How do I prioritize my private life

Much of it is just owning your calendar. I’m going to block family time because it’s precious time that I’ve put aside that I can’t plan on. Of course, if something urgent needs to be addressed, that’s a conversation I’ll have. I’m going to say to my wife, “I’m not going to be sitting at the dinner table tonight, but here’s what I’m doing instead.” In that regard, I really get a sense of balance and make sure I still find ways to prioritize family moments. That is why it is so important to take my children to school in the morning and have dinner with them in the evening.

My unique snack for the desk

I don’t snack too much during the day, but my favorite snack would be Vegemite on Toast, an Australian snack. It’s an acquired taste, that’s for sure. I don’t think many Americans would accept that too. It’s very salty. You have to look for international food markets that carry it.

The gift I like to give to celebrate someone

I love getting people gourmet food baskets. If I can find one at a local gourmet store to send, I love that, especially for people who are new parents. People always get baby gifts when they greet a child, but people forget about parents. In those first few weeks your whole world was turned upside down and you don’t cook meals for yourself. Getting a gourmet food basket whether you just closed a deal, an amazing milestone in your work, school or life or have had a baby, that’s my first choice. People love food!

My first greeting or goodbye

We don’t send too many emails at work, but I usually say “cheers” which is not very American or common. Otherwise we have our own internal communication tool like Slack, so we constantly log out with emojis, like small smiling faces or punches or the power arm. I love the punch.

This is how I celebrate after a productive day at work

A nice glass of wine. If I want it a little more decadent, I’ll make a flavored hot chocolate with cayenne pepper and maple syrup. It is great.

My absolute stress reliever after a hard day

Watch TikToks! It really is my first choice to decompress at the end of the day because I know it will make me smile. And honestly, spending time with the family. Nothing sets my day back like spending time with my three year old, my five year old, and my wife. Every now and then we change it up and either take an evening stroll on the beach and watch the sunset or we grab some musical instruments and run around the house making a lot of noise which is sure to be our neighbors love. Something like that just breaks off the day.

How do I deal with disappointment

My mother taught me at an early age – and my wife says so too – that in a year you can imagine whether what you’re worried about would feel the same way. Are you going to feel the same connectedness with it? Does it really matter at the end of the day? And most of the time, these are not, by and large, things that are going to really change the situation dramatically. It makes it a lot easier to put it in perspective.

The advice I would like to give to my younger self

Don’t be afraid to take risks because you can always be back where you were if you haven’t changed anything. Don’t worry too much about what people think or what the expectations are. Because at the end of the day you judge yourself and how you are doing in that moment. Don’t make it difficult for yourself and be much more open to trying things out. I think in the end it always works out for the best.

What I miss most about the office

We all miss this real experience of seeing each other personally. This connection changes things so radically. I think people would be happier at work if they could humanize the other person’s perspective, understand where they are from, and find that sense of connection. This camaraderie and really more opportunities to experience these moments to get together – I’m really looking forward to that.

What TikTok made me buy

One of our most popular hashtags is #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt. I enjoyed dry-erase notepads. I use this self cleaning water bottle. Much of this is home office material.

The household appliance that makes my working day better

My big pandemic purchase was buying an espresso machine at home. Can’t live without it. It’s called the apartment.

Jessica Radloff is the Glamor West Coast Editor. You can follow her on Instagram at @ jessicaradloff14. She’s not on TikTok yet, but has promised Pappas that she will join before the end of the year.

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