Aug. 1 2019
Tricia Han is the CEO of Daily Burn, the at-home fitness membership for the 99%. Offering customers thousands of workouts, the brand now includes 3 Daily Burn apps: At Home, Yoga Workouts, and HIIT Workouts. While streaming workouts is common nowadays, this trailblazing brand was started back in 2007—and boasts millions of members. Tricia’s dream job at this fitness giant includes “figuring out all the ways we can make it easier to help people move, stay motivated and support one another in their wellness journeys.” And, though she loves her role, Tricia shares that “she used to hate exercise” before Daily Burn. We sat down with this impressive executive to learn how she made it to her coveted position. She shares her roadmap to CEO below.
What was your first job out of college? How did you get it?
My first job out of college was working in concert promotion in Asia. I was the English speaker hired to communicate with the touring bands, who were from the U.S., Canada & Australia. I once had to explain to worried government officials in Indonesia that the music of the soft rock band I was touring with was not likely to incite civil disobedience from the local concertgoers because, well, the band didn’t rock that hard.
I had gone to Asia for language study–a college acquaintance worked at the company, brought me on to help temporarily, and then promptly left, leaving me her job. I never did get very good at the local language, but I did have a lot of fun!
What was your college major? Did you feel like your major was necessary for the field you wanted to work in?
I was an English Literature major, who also explored other disciplines–everything from economics to theater, anthropology to organic chemistry. My chemistry professor was a Nobel Prize winner, as well as an accomplished poet. That showed me that you can be multi-dimensional!
While my English Lit major wasn’t obviously related to my eventual job as CEO of Daily Burn, I learned and practiced skills that ended up being very applicable in my day-to-day work–how to “read” a situation and characters, how to develop a thesis, and how to clearly communicate my ideas.
What internships did you do prior to your first job?
Zero. I worked to make money every summer and throughout the school year to help pay for college, and internships didn’t pay that well (or anything). That being said, I thought I might be interested in medical school after undergrad, so my summer jobs included working at an inner-city medical clinic. The staff was great and knowing of my interest, let me observe activities beyond my job… which helped me decide NOT to apply to medical school.
How did you land your current job? What were the steps you took?
I’d led Product Management teams in tech companies for many years. One day, I went to my boss, Neil Vogel, the CEO of Dotdash, and told him that eventually, I wanted to sit in a seat like his. He was immediately supportive and we talked about what it would take. An opportunity came up at one of the other IAC companies (Dotdash is also an IAC company). I interviewed for it with everyone’s blessing, and that’s how I came to be the CEO of Daily Burn.
What was the best piece of advice you ever received?
One piece of advice I appreciated receiving–spend more time in the problem space. When faced with a question or a problem, most of us, myself included, are quick to jump to “the answer.” In our quest to be helpful and smart, we want to offer up the solution. But what if we’re not asking the right question? What if we’re solving for the wrong problem? Today, the Daily Burn team spends a lot of time trying to better understand the problem before jumping to potential solutions. As a result, we get better, more creative ideas.
I’ve also always loved this advice–catch someone doing something good.
Is there any part of your role that our readers would be surprised to know?
At Daily Burn, we take fitness seriously–no surprise there. Before we launch our products, we test our application software–like Yoga Workouts by Daily Burn–for bugs and ease of use. But we also test all our workouts to make sure they’re safe, effective and fun. The only way to test a workout is to actually do it. Because I’m the least athletic person on the team (yes, it’s ironic), I’m often asked to test out new workouts and trainers to make sure it works for everyone. I’ve tortured many an amazing Daily Burn trainer with questions like “Should I be breathing through my nose or my mouth?” and “Is it normal that my foot is cramping right now?” I do whatever it takes to make the workout experience great for our Daily Burn members!