This is a part of a series of posts introducing team Iggy. Meet Annie Iezzi, Chief of Staff!
Talk to me about your background - how did you get here?
My formal background is in special education. I pivoted out of education and into supporting roles in finance and then at tech companies. Iggy is my third start-up!
I chose Iggy because of our founder. I knew Lindsay from her days at Insight. And one of Iggy’s advisors is Jake Klamka, with whom I'm very close. I just knew I wanted to be a part of it.
Without using complete sentences, can you describe what’s going on in your life at the moment?
Preparing to welcome our first child. Moving. Dog momming. Building a company. Traveling.
If you could choose a career besides the one you have now, what would it be?
I think I would love to work with my husband on the beach somewhere: he’d teach kitesurfing lessons and I’d handle the operations, marketing and customer service.
Where’s your favorite place in Charleston?
Sullivan’s Island. It’s a beautiful place in the middle of the suburbs with a relaxed vibe. An added perk is that there are cute shops and delicious restaurants!
What quality do you most admire in someone else?
Honesty. I deeply appreciate people who are radically candid and lead with honesty even in tough situations. I think that shows a lot of strong character as sometimes it's hard to just tell it like it is versus sugar coating things (where appropriate).
If you could eat only three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
I would eat a traditional Greek salad with oregano, feta, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes and onions with a side of tzatziki; an amazing Bolognese pasta; my homemade guacamole with a “Hint of Lime” Tortilla Chip.
What’s your favorite clothing item you own?
Sneakers. Don't make me choose. It's like choosing between children.
What’s the first app or website you open when you wake up, and the last one you close before you go to sleep?
What do you hope the epitaph on your tombstone says?
Something that captures all of the things that I am and that are most important to me: mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend.
What’s your worst habit at home?
My husband would say it’s leaving the dishes in the sink for him to clean…
What was a formative turning point in your life?
Moving abroad changed my whole life. I moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina and lived there for 1.5 years. And from that decision forward, my life has completely changed (for the better!).
What is a current podcast that you’re listening to/book you’re reading that you are enjoying or ones that you connected with recently?
I really like a podcast called Dabble Co. It is hosted by a nurse practitioner from South Carolina and tackles women's health issues. It breaks down the topics into layman’s terms so that it's accessible information to everyone.
Singing or dancing?
Beach or mountains?
Tattoos or piercings?
Weightlifting or cardio?
Hot tub or hot spring?
Sunrise or sunset?
Depends on where I am - I love an East Coast Sunrise or a West Coast Sunset
Fiction or nonfiction?
Horror or comedy?
Fleetwood Mac or Hootie & the Blowfish?
My background is mixed. I was an English major originally, and pivoted to environmental science and biology later in college. In graduate school, I got interested in quantitative / computational ecology and testing ecological theory using historical observational data, experiments, and computer simulations. I worked as an applied ecologist at Northern Arizona University for a couple of years, before co-founding a company called Conservation Science Partners in 2012. We had a tremendous amount of success over the last 10 years, but I was feeling ready for a change in focus.
As I was finishing my PhD, I did Insight Data Science and got hired at Airbnb where I hoped to use geospatial data to work on host growth or something. I was working on the host team as a Data Scientist and I realized that we didn't have any concept of the “context” of our listings… we knew a lot about the listing and its specific characteristics but we didn't really have a way to understand what was nearby. That matters because if you know what’s nearby you can market listings differently (which is sort of what Airbnb is (finally) doing w Categories), you can price more accurately, and you can drastically improve search. That became really compelling to me. I tried to work on an internal project there, but it didn't get a lot of support. So eventually, I decided to leave Airbnb and start Iggy to solve this challenge.
I am an astronomer by background - I did a PhD in astronomy. I studied the evolution of the galaxy since the Big Bang. Very different from what I do today. My interest in astronomy was motivated by the discovery process. You get to discover something interesting that no one's ever discovered before. But as I was going through that, one thing that I realized - and it led to my transition to data science and ultimately to product - was that I liked working on these sorts of big questions, but I wanted to do so in a bit more of an applied way.