We’re thrilled to welcome Vanessa Lauf as Pavilion’s Head of Platform Data! She has worn many hats over her career with roles in civil engineering, economics, data science, and business. Most recently, she was VP of Operations for a small startup and has also served as Chief of Staff to the CTO of Hosting at Airbnb. Prior to that, Vanessa worked in Data Science and Policy at Airbnb, and economic consulting at AECOM. In this interview, learn about Vanessa’s reason for joining Pavilion along with her love for cooking and books.
I think the biggest business opportunities exist in solving problems that others don’t want to or can’t solve. Pavilion has found a critical and (often unseen) problem at the intersection of government, technology, and business. I am so jazzed to work on solving this complicated, niche problem – for huge impact!
Secondly, while consumers are well-served by the tech sector, governments are often underserved by tech. I’m excited about a Silicon Valley tech company that truly orients its mission around serving not just the public interest broadly, but public servants specifically, as people and professionals.
Pavilion’s mission is both ambitious and practical: the technology is grounded in the real and daily operations of procurement professionals; and the scope and scale are in the trillions of dollars of government spending, at tens of thousands of public entities, in all fifty states.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love cooking and hosting people for dinner. I love being active in almost all ways: running, Zwifting, rock climbing, hiking, pilates... And I spend a lot of time at playgrounds and children’s dance classes with my two daughters.
What’s a goal you have for the year ahead?
My New Year’s resolution this year is to throw a party! I’d like to celebrate getting my green card and being in the US for a decade. I’m fiercely Canadian, but, after over ten years in the US, I have meaningful roots in the Bay Area. I’d like to gather all my friends, coworkers and neighbors together in one place to acknowledge that San Francisco is my home, too!
What’s a book you’ve read and enjoyed recently?
I love reading, and I read widely across almost all genres. I recently read A Swim in the Pond in the Rain, in which George Saunders does a literary dissection of a handful of Russian short stories. The book blew me away in how smart, rich, accessible, poignant, memorable, and human it was.
Words to live by? // Personal motto? // Favorite quote?
I once saw a mug, or a decal, or something with an ironic quote: “This is a fun job and I enjoy it.” But I like to think about that quote unironically. This is a fun job and I do enjoy it. I want to hold on to that truth. What you do with your time has a tremendous influence on your life and your character. I want to make that choice intentionally, and make sure it’s something positive!