Who: Lela Usry Severance, general manager and director of business development at DonateTo.com
Sign of the Times: "I manage a team of 10 employees, all of whom have different skills and backgrounds than I do."
What's so new about the new economy? For one thing, traditional career tracks have pretty much been ripped up. For Lela Usry Severance, 32, general manager and director of business development at DonateTo.com, a philanthropy startup, one of the biggest challenges of working in a dotcom environment is creating a cohesive team.
"Our site launched in July, and everyone has been working nonstop," she says. "I can't ask the people on my team to create a secure, caring, and thoughtful tool for the rest of the world unless I give them the tools to do so. When employees join DonateTo.com, they receive a toolbox that I've put together. There's Krazy Glue to represent the team sticking together and Tylenol for the headaches that we'll give one another. Each week, I stock the tool kits with something new. The bigger symbolism is that the DonateTo.com team is creating a tool-box for people who want to help other people in need.
"The trick to success is emphasizing the passion behind the company. When I hear my tech team discuss what's happening in East Timor, I get excited."
A version of this article appeared in the December 2000 issue of Fast Company magazine.