The list of female chief operating officers in Silicon Valley runs surprisingly long. Today, another woman joined the growing club: Linda Kozlowski, formerly VP of worldwide operations at Evernote, will now serve as the productivity app maker’s COO.
Kozlowski already reports to company CEO Phil Libin and has been with the company for more than two years. Prior to Evernote, which has over 100 million users and comes in at No. 63 on Fortune‘s Unicorns list, she was a director of global marketing for Alibaba.com. Kozlowski says the new title is an extension of her former responsibilities, but she is now poised to play an even greater role in Evernote’s U.S. and international growth and its transition to becoming a publicly-traded company (another recent hire: CFO Jeff Shotts). Fortune caught up with Kozlowski prior to the announcement to find out more about her new title, why she thinks there is a relatively large number of women COOs and where Evernote is going. Here is an excerpt from the conversation.
How did you get this position?
Since I joined the company I’ve talked about what I wanted to do here, and taking on more responsibility over operations is something I’ve told Phil [Libin, the company’s CEO] from the beginning. I think it’s important for people to be clear about what they want to do. So that’s been clear since I joined Evernote. What most recently happened is we took on this project of thinking about the levels and tiers within Evernote. I was already running worldwide operations and this was a logical next step.
What is the role of a COO at Evernote?
For us it’s really about driving growth and creating a single vision for how we develop into different markets. It’s really about the day-to-day operations and the customer experience. Before this [promotion to the COO position] I was already doing most of the role—there was not a COO above me. I’m taking on responsibilities of centralizing marketing teams. So this is an expanded version of what I was doing previously as VP of worldwide operations.
There seem to be a lot of female COOs. Why do you think that is?
It’s a combination of a few things. There’s an increasing need for strong communication skills and bringing complex groups together, and those are skills a lot of women have. There’s also a more global feel to companies these days and those two trends definitely ring true for me.
Where do you think Evernote will be in five years, and will you still be there?
I do think I will still be here. I started using Evernote years ago and got so hooked on the product I actually sought out the opportunity to work for the company. I definitely see myself here in five years because I haven’t yet seen another product that speaks to the idea of not only improving your own life but your ability to be smarter about the work that you do. As far as the company goes, I think that in five years we’ll be more and more embedded in the workforce. We’re putting in place organizational structures that can help foster a really sustainable, long-term business.
Will you be public by then?
We’ve talked about the fact we want to do an IPO and still do want to do an IPO—I think we owe it to our customers. We want to be a transparent company. Phil has talked about the timeline of two to three years and I think that still holds true. But we need to earn the right to be a public company and we need to have the right team, which I think we do now. We need to make sure that we have built a sustainable business model that’s really going to take us there.