Name: Rachael Tachie-Menson
City: San Francisco
Job: Partnerships and Engagement Lead at LoungeBuddy
How she got there: After graduating from Stanford University, the Ghana native spent five years climbing the ladder at Yahoo in software development, data analytics, and product management. But after traveling back to West Africa to work with entrepreneurs, she felt like a large company culture didn’t allow her to truly be creative and impactful. Now, she heads up partnerships (and dabbles in product testing) at the start-up LoungeBuddy, an app which offers airport lounge access to several travelers globally.
Levo: In the tech world, dressing in a feminine way can make you stand out. How do you tackle that?
Rachael Tachie-Menson: I am starting to see more variation across the industry. It used to be that women who dressed up were mostly in HR or executive assistant roles, while the tomboys were in engineering roles. Now, there’s just a sense that being your authentic self is important. For me, wearing these Lou & Grey jeans and a Zara blazer is not just trendy but versatile—I can go from a business-casual scene to a casual dinner with friends. In the end, I think great work—what you say, how you say it, how you lead, how you work with people and the impact you make—really trumps everything.
Why does this outfit make you feel powerful and confident?
RTM: I like that each piece has a clean, definitive cut. It says “sharp,” it says “self-respect,” and that I am putting my best forward. I am reminded of who I am in this outfit: bold and beautiful.
Tell us about your hair and makeup—it looks flawless!
RTM: I have definitely evolved over the years from not wanting to look feminine at all, to searching for my look and finally understanding what works for me. I’m a MAC girl at heart—my staples are Ruby Woo lipstick, Chestnut lipliner, Brown eye shadow, Cheeky Bronze bronzer, Dark Deep A54 powder foundation, Sketch Matte in the crease and for contouring, Stud for brows, and Pro Longwear concealer. And I dabble in other products for very specific things. I love Marc Jacobs eyeliner, which is available at Sephora, and Miss Manga mascara from L’Oreal.
Those are great go-tos. What’s your style motto?
RTM: I have three, actually. Dress like you’ve made something of yourself in the world, even if you haven’t. Second, every day is a fashion show, and the world is your runway. Lastly, style is personality. It is the ability to look beyond fashion and have the self-confidence to transform even the simplest thing into something special.
In addition to your work in Silicon Valley, you somehow find time to travel to Ghana to promote entrepreneurship. That’s huge.
RTM: I grew up in Ghana, where the startup scene is taking off. Young people are creating businesses and jobs and truly moving the needle in terms of quality of life. I want to be a part of that movement. I got involved with Lean Startup Machine and I loved working hands-on with entrepreneurs. Seeing the their eyes light up when we had “aha” moments made me realize how much I loved the work I did and helped me decide that this would be space I would work in long-term.
What career advice do you give other women of color in the tech space?
RTM: Unfortunately we are portrayed as aggressive in the media, and that may make you feel like you have to overcompensate by making yourself small. Know your worth and let it shine. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Also do great work—not just good work. Lastly, write your own story. What I meant by that is be your biggest advocate, have agency in your life. Find your place in the world and pursue it with passion.
Photos: Andrea Posadas for Levo