BBW MEMBER INTERVIEW WITH: Clara Arroyave, the CEO and co-founder at PlaceMe

BBW MEMBER INTERVIEW WITH: Clara Arroyave, the CEO and co-founder at PlaceMe

What is your name and occupation?

Clara Arroyave, the CEO and co-founder at PlaceMe

How long have you been a Boston Business Women’s Member?

2+ years

What is your instagram handle?

@lifeisrocknroll

Were you born and raised in Boston? If not, what brought you here?

I am originally from Colombia but at a certain point in my life, I realized that I wanted to move forward to the next stage with my career. So, in 2012 I moved to Boston to pursue an MBA at Hult International Business School.

Tell us more about your job or company and what led you to your career?

PlaceMe is the largest co-living company in Boston. We offer fully-furnished all-inclusive rooms for rent in the most sought-after areas in the city. Our leases are flexible so it is a great option for young talent and digital nomads coming to the city to start a career or even a summer internship. It is a combination of different things that led me to my career: knowledge of and experience in the real estate industry, seeing the unmet need on the market and an extreme passion for creating interesting products aimed to help and solve people’s problems.

What would your clients say about you and your company?

PlaceMe guests really like the uniqueness of the product and value the convenience that we deliver. Their lives become so much easier as they only pay one bill instead of managing all the living expenditures. As a Hispanic person, I am absolutely passionate about customer service and being there for everybody. Delivering the best possible customer service is one of the company’s core values and our delighted customer reviews speak for themselves.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

One of my favorite ones is “Validation is for parking”. Quite often women tend to seek validation from their peers, mentors, professors or members of their community. What we usually don’t realize is that we don’t need someone’s advice or approval to do what we really want. When I discovered this simple truth, a lot of things in my life moved to a new phase.

What is your favorite book?

Oh, I have so many of them! From business literature, I would pick HBR's 10 Must Reads on Strategy. It is a key book for anybody who wants to understand how to strategically position their business to win the chosen customer segment. I also love Mark Twain, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.

What is your secret weapon? An app, a tool, a organization method, anything?! (Can be a personal or professional life tool)

Slack, it is irreplaceable in terms of not only communicating with my customers but also interacting with the entrepreneurial communities, both local and national. It is a great tool to optimize your life on the personal and professional level.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

“Go towards what you want earlier instead of seeking validation”. I guess I wasted a lot of time looking for it. If I got a chance to go back in time, I would trust myself more.

How do you enjoy your free time?

I am an unrepentant cat lady and I love taking care of my cats:) Besides that I love spending time with my close ones and volunteering as being able to give back is important. Another non-guilt pleasure of mine is couponing. It's like a challenge to me to be able to get great deals in groceries or household items.

What is something that not many people know about you?

I am a total metal head and there’s nothing I can do about it. A few weeks ago, I even excused myself from a meeting to go buy the tickets for Metallica’s Symphony Orchestra concert in San Francisco. It’s a once in a lifetime thing and I couldn’t miss it.

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