TAO Member Spotlight: Kate Winkler

TAO Member Spotlight: Kate Winkler

Where do you currently work? Ruby

What’s your title? CEO

In which city (or cities) is your company located?

  • Portland, OR (Headquarters)
  • Beaverton, OR
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Phoenix, AZ

In what year was your company founded? 2003

Describe the company you work for and its product/mission. In 2003, Ruby started as a small business dedicated to helping other small businesses. We were built on the belief that creating meaningful human connections in our technology-focused world would build trust, foster customer loyalty, and help our customers win new business. Trusted by more than 10,000 business owners, Ruby helps you create connections that win business and keep customers coming back. Our US-based, live virtual receptionists and chat specialists are available 24/7/365, so small business owners can reclaim valuable time to do the work only they can do. Whether you’re working remotely, on-the-go, or in the office, Ruby’s award-winning team and easy-to-use technology keep you in the loop, giving you the freedom to run your business virtually anywhere. We help businesses grow by turning callers into customers, website visitors into leads, and current customers into raving fans!

Why is your company a member of TAO? TAO has so many benefits; it’s hard to whittle it down to just a few! To start, we appreciate the dynamic team that’s always willing (and quick!) to address questions or needs. I remember when I joined Ruby and introduced myself to TAO, Skip responded within 15 minutes to welcome me to the community. Outside of the fantastic staff, access to peers and resources has been invaluable to me. I’ve been provided referrals for marketing, PR, and legal support — including our new counsel — which allows our team to keep moving and focus versus trying to track down and vet vendors.

What do you, personally, like best about being a TAO member? As a California transplant, this community welcomed me with open arms. I appreciate how proactive TAO has been in reaching out and offering help. Experiencing that openness right from the start has built a strong foundation of trust, and, as a result, I feel entirely comfortable asking for help when I need it or offering support to the TAO community.

What’s your favorite thing about our region’s tech ecosystem? Coming from California, there’s a competitive, tight-lipped culture that can make it challenging to reach out to peers. Oregon’s tech ecosystem could not be more different — the collaboration and desire to raise the state's profile and not just our individual companies, is incredible and something I think is unique to our region.

What is your hope for the future of tech in Oregon & SW Washington? Challenge breeds ingenuity, but also generates an immense amount of stress. I think the next few months will be a critical time for this community in testing that collaboration and seeing how companies come together to recover from 2020 collectively and push each other to innovate. I'm hopeful that we'll see new partnerships form out of this and a mutual sharing of the lessons learned so we can grow stronger as a community out of this experience.

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