Women at Liftoff: Negin Saei, Controller

By Nadia Alaee | March 17, 2020

This March we are celebrating Women’s History Month across all the Liftoff offices around the world and highlighting some of the amazing women that work here in a series of blog interviews. In this interview, get to know our Negin Saei, Liftoff’s first Controller. Negin joined Liftoff in 2016 after making the leap from public accounting into tech. We asked her about what drives her, the advice she has for us, and which women inspire her.

What Motivates you?

Three things come to mind right away: 1) Building something and being able to look back on a day, a quarter, a year or many years and saying wow, look at how far we have come. 2) Making my parents and family proud. 3) Being a role model to others while being a student every day and always knowing there is more to learn.

What woman inspires you and why?

My mom. She came from Iran to the US for school at the age of nineteen when the Iranian Revolution happened and her world changed. She faced scrutiny and racism while being a college student yet she worked hard to learn English, start a new life away from her family, and get her college degree. Ultimately she made a sacrifice after getting her degree to not pursue her career but rather work a job that would allow her to support my dad in growing his business and raise my sister and me. Her and my dad taught me that there is nothing I couldn’t do. Their work ethic and the kindness they show to others every day continuously reminds me of that. I am so thankful for what they did for my sister and me to have a better future and it inspires me to make them proud every day.

If you could meet any woman, alive or deceased, who would you meet and why?

I had the amazing privilege of meeting Oprah a few weeks ago. She has always been at the top of my list of people who I would like to meet in my lifetime. When I tell people about the experience of meeting her, the response is almost always “you are so lucky”. While I do feel so lucky, I am also reminded of this quote from Oprah: “I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” Throughout my life and career I have spent a lot of time preparing for the opportunity to contribute to a better world, building something great, and mentoring. I think meeting Oprah was an experience I could never put into words, but I look at my picture with her often and use it as a reminder of all the opportunities that are still out there for us all and also a reminder of how far we have come.

Fun fact about you that few people know?

I was on the Price is Right game show on Bob Barker’s 80th birthday and ended up winning some fancy luggage, a light fixture, and a telephone.

If you weren’t in the mobile industry, what would you be doing?

I would love to be a party planner or if I didn’t have to go back to school for so many years, a doctor.

What is one thing you wish you knew 10 years ago?

Everything will be okay.

Can you share some self-care habits that help you be the best version of yourself?

I try to have some “me” time every single day, whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour. It can be waking up early and having a cup of coffee in bed, or going to get a massage or just eating dinner alone. I think having some time away from content and others helps you center yourself, reflect, practice gratitude and reminds me of what is important in my life.

What is the #1 resource you recommend to women?

Find a great group of men and women and surround yourself with them. Be their cheerleaders but also their toughest critics and have confidence that they will do the same for you in return. Having a strong support system is a good way of knowing you are not alone and that we all are facing the same challenges at different stages in life.

My mom always used to tell me that your friends are a reflection of you. That motivates me to have people in my life that are not only great people but also challenge me and help me grow every day.

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