Member Spotlight: Alice Ko

With jobs in New York and Silicon Valley, Ko shares her journey from working in senior finance and marketing positions to founding an in-demand coaching and training consultancy for high-growth startups

Welcome to Vancouver Tech Journal’s Member Spotlight, a place where we can learn more about our community members, share their unique stories and specialities, what they can offer other members, and the kind of connections they’re looking for.

Today, we’re excited to introduce you to Alice Ko, the founder of Reframed Coaching, the only consultancy of its kind for high-growth startups and teams. 

At the start of Ko’s career, the CPA worked for notable global companies, including KPMG and Louis Vuitton.

Ko eventually pivoted from finance to marketing for startups, some of which were sold to major U.S. brands during her tenure — including Clique Media Group behind Who What Wear and Byrdie. Afterward, Ko took on leadership roles for fintech startups. 

Recognizing Ko’s diverse experience and track record, startup leaders started asking her to train and coach their managers. It was then that Ko realized nobody hands a new startup manager a manual on what to do — especially at a fast-paced, rapidly changing startup. 

“They're usually left on their own and just thrown into the ‘Wild West,’ where change is the only constant, resources are scarce, and chaos is the norm,” Ko explained. 

“Then there's the pressure cooker of expectations from founders and investors, who demand growth every day. Startup managers have a unique role that needs a unique support program, so I built something for them.”

Where are you from? 

Victoria, B.C. I moved to Vancouver in 2006 to start my career at KPMG

What’s your job?

I have a portfolio career as a two-time services entrepreneur and B2B SaaS startup marketer. 

My work has taken me around the globe — from New York City, to the U.K., California, and Medellín. 

Whether it was my morning motto apparel line, building a remote agency, or being the first-time marketing lead at fintech startups, I’m always building something. 

Now, I leverage these lessons at Reframed Coaching and Consulting, where I run startup manager training programs and strengths-based team-building workshops.

Tell us what you do.

Well, here’s how I pivoted from finance to the ‘Wild West of startups.’ 

My career took a sharp turn when I fell in love with launching things from scratch during a short stint as a part of Aritzia's eCommerce team. This sparked a pivot from finance and accounting to B2B startup marketing, where I’ve been focusing on growth, demand gen, and product marketing. 

When I started leading startup teams, I saw a crucial need: accessible training for managers on remote team-building and development. 

At the time, existing manager training programs were not built specifically for startups, for remote management, or built on a strengths-based model. Many management training programs try to create the exact same type of blanket manager but this doesn't work. Individuals need to learn how to leverage their own natural strengths to become the most impactful type of manager.

I think we’ve all experienced the outcomes of poor remote communication and management — especially when different personalities are at play. It can feel impossible to be productive, innovative, and results-driven when you’re just trying to navigate team and workplace dynamics.

Emery Rosansky of First Round Capital jokes that “being a repeat early-stage startup operator is a masochistic endeavour.” I see her point. Startups are the ‘Wild West’ and managers have the hardest job. They’re building the plane while flying it and telling others how to fly the plane too. 

So, I did what any problem-solver would do: I built my training programs. 

Initially offered to my teams and friends at startups, these programs resonated with a wider market than I anticipated. Now, I help teams work better together and speak the same language through custom team-building workshops and new manager training and mentorship programs. 

I also still advise and consult on the marketing side. It keeps my finger on the pulse of the present startup landscape. 

By staying ‘in the weeds’ with startup challenges, I can craft better training materials and workshops that speak directly to the evolving needs of startups. It's like continuous user research to ensure my coaching programs are relevant and impactful.

Photo: Alice Ko

How long have you been a part of the Vancouver tech ecosystem?

I started cutting my teeth in Vancouver's startup scene in 2012 through joining the early marketing team at Wantering, a Vancouver fashion startup acquired by Clique Media Group

The last two startups I worked at were based in San Francisco and sold to U.S. companies. I'm thrilled to get back into Vancouver's exciting tech ecosystem. Community is super important and what Vancouver has is so unique. 

What do you need?

I've been impressed by the energy and collaboration in Vancouver's tech hub. There's a sense of ‘community over competition’ and a focus on growing the pie together. 

I'm excited to reconnect and contribute to helping others land and expand. Please reach out if you’re interested in connecting and increasing the value of the community.  

What can you help others with?

If you’ve ever struggled with giving support to your managers or increasing remote team engagement? Let’s connect.

  • Are your new managers feeling lost? I have startup manager training and mentorship programs to help them build clarity and confidence.

  • Is team collaboration a problem? My customized workshops unlock your team's full potential through proven tactics, boosting communication, collaboration, and productivity.

  • Is conflict slowing you down? Managers spend over four hours a week navigating conflict. I help you dial that down with an evidence-based framework.

Why are you a VTJ member?

"A rising tide lifts all boats" is one of my favourite quotes. 

I see Vancouver as a thriving ecosystem built on collaboration. We're not just hoping everyone succeeds; we're actively fostering connections between founders, solopreneurs, and everyone in between.

Humans are social by nature, and so are companies. VTJ helps us all ditch the competition mentality and focus on growing the collective pie together. That's how we all win.

Who’s your dream #VTJLive speaker?

The grit and resourcefulness of bootstrapped founders are often underestimated, so I’d love to see bootstrapped entrepreneurs like Sarah Blakely, Richard Branson, or Melissa Kwan stop by for a chat.

Also, the most important leadership skill of the future is not technical. It’s empathy, resilience, and adaptability, so I’d love to see experts in that space speak at a #VTJLive event — like Angela Duckworth or Annie Duke

How can people connect with you?

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