In 2016 Annette Klososky was looking for a new challenge to take her out of her comfort zone: entrepreneurship proved to be her calling. Klososky started Survey Saurus, an online survey platform that provides enterprise-wide survey solutions for human resources, leadership development, consulting and higher education professionals. Four years into business and the Oklahoma City-based entrepreneur has built a global team and become an industry leader in the enterprise data-analytic space.
Klososky’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
I founded Survey Saurus when I was 50 after having deciding to break out of my comfort zone. In one year I had put together a team with locations around the globe, raised a first round of funding and was one of eight women accepted into the Women’s Start-up Lab in Silicon Valley. Today, Survey Saurus is an industry leader in the enterprise data-analytics space. We equip leaders with insights and people data so they can ask the right questions and make better informed decisions. By collecting and analyzing valuable data through continuous feedback and ROI on people and culture development, Survey Saurus helps organizations ensure that their talent remains a key competitive advantage.
My personal philosophy centers around being the best you can be, resulting in a commitment to continual learning, growth and willingness to lift others up. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, I learned to lean on my team and ask for their help. It was a great lesson in leadership and personal development for me.
I would tell my younger self, “You can have it all, but you just can’t have it all at once,” because I am a person that wants everything at once. You just have to be willing to not have it be so structured and chronological.
I realized that building the team was an important leadership skill to develop. I got into the training, working with teams and executive coaching, so I was helping companies build culture and executive coaching but working with entrepreneurial companies. Culture is the foundation on which a successful company is built, and learning this has not only helped me to grow my own business, but helped my clients to thrive.
I believe my purpose in life is to positively impact as many people as possible. From family members and friends to colleagues, clients and acquaintances, I am always present to serving and helping those around me achieve their version of success. The path I choose or the company I am building isn’t as relevant as the impact I have on the people along the way.
My biggest success was being named Women of The Year by The Journal of Record. Challenges that I’ve faced involve work-life balance. My husband started a company and he travels a lot and I kind of go in spurts traveling. Our assistant that works here really tries to balance our calendars. We try to work with that so that our kids aren’t being raised by somebody else. It’s a constant juggle, but I think it’s really good for our kids to see what we do.
Every job I’ve had I’ve always treated it as if it were my own business because that’s the mentality I grew up with. My parents had office supply stores, too, so I ran those when I was a junior and senior in high school. I saw that you couldn’t always count on employees. That really molded the type of employee I was by the time I got to college. My dad would always say, “You don’t need to work for somebody; you can own it.” He was always that way, always had a dream.