Joanna McFarland received an MBA
from Stanford GSB in 2005.
hard decisions together. You will have to
fight with each other respectfully. So we
did a lot of lunches and dinners and talked
about our visions for the business and what
we thought our roles would be. We had
frank conversations around equity and
What is the best advice you’ve ever
received? My grandmother was a Holocaust
survivor. She taught me to never give up,
never accept “no.” You do whatever it takes
to get a “yes.” You may have to ask it another
way or you may have to ask 57 other people.
How did that help her? She was in labor
camps in Uzbekistan. She finagled her way
long enough to survive through the war. She
and her sisters were working in the fields.
Then she was offered a job in the kitchen.
So she worked harder and peeled more
potatoes than anyone. She convinced them
to bring in her sisters by saying that they
would work as hard as her.
What was your first paying job? I started
babysitting when I was 13. I made $5 an hour.
How has that first job shaped the
professional you are today? It was about
taking care of other people. It felt like
a tremendous responsibility.
How do you handle that responsibility now,
knowing something could go wrong on
a ride? We take very seriously the trust that
Choose your startup
families have put in us and we try to be as
authentic to our brand as possible. It’s about
taking care of your family.
What’s the most important innovation in
the past decade and how has it helped
you build your business? The smartphone.
You come into our app, you tell us about
your kids or riders, their age and gender,
where we are driving and any notes about
those locations. You can book rides the day
before or book for a whole school year; set
it and forget it. Δ