Authenticated Answers

Valimail Authenticated Answers With Lili Crowley

Read our interview with Lili Crowley, Postmaster at Yahoo.

We’re back with another installment of our blog interview series: Authenticated Answers! Today we’re talking with Lili Crowley, Postmaster at Yahoo. 

At Valimail, we take our work seriously but try not to take ourselves too seriously. This value inspires us to get to the heart of what makes people unique and how it affects their careers to provide valuable advice, inspiration, and insights to people working with email daily.

In this lighthearted interview series, we connect with experts from the email, IT, security, ISP, and authentication spaces to learn more about them and their experiences.

About Lili Crowley

Lili has been at Yahoo for eleven years, initially starting with AOL. Before that, she worked on the original domain name registry/registrars back when Internet domains became publicly available.

She lives in Virginia with her husband, two children, a dog, and two cats. Currently, she’s teaching herself piano. 

Keep reading our interview with Lili below to learn more about her funniest mistake, how she stays motivated during challenges, and how she’d describe DMARC to people who want to know more about it. 

How do you stay motivated when learning something challenging or frustrating?

I once had a physical therapist that said, “Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly.” 

So even if it won’t be your greatest effort, some days it’s okay to put in a little bit of effort. Some days I play the piano and practice songs I already know. I don’t have to learn an entirely new song. 

We feel like we have to push ourselves forward at the same rate, but we don’t learn at the same pace every day. Some days our brain is right there, but then it’s gone in twenty minutes. 

But if I keep it, you can naturally work through those things. If I don’t know what to do, I narrow it down to an action I can take, even if it is just reaching out to someone to ask for help. 

It took me a long time to learn, but I try not to think too far ahead because that tends to be overwhelming. Learning to break something into manageable chunks is the best advice I could give anybody.

staying motivated cartoon image

What was the last wall you crashed through?

The biggest wall I’ve crashed through is learning that you don’t have to break through every wall. I have two children who are now adults, so I’m not parenting them the same way, and I’ve had to learn a new way to parent. 

I’ve had to learn how to just be peaceful with something and to stop judging everything. I say, “Okay, this is where we are, and this is where this other person is.” 

They’re not my toddlers anymore; I need to let go of some things. I’ve been learning to let things go gracefully and actually mean it. It’s interesting how much it allows you to be kinder to others and yourself.

Act with kindness and with thoughtfulness, even if it’s hard. Once you’ve done it for a while, it becomes more of a natural way of being.

What’s your favorite way to show gratitude?

If it’s someone outside my family, like a service worker, tipping is my favorite way. We also believe tipping is the fastest way to put cash into the local community. 

These people are doing all of this service work for us, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that highlighted how needed these people are. My husband and I want to show appreciation because those jobs are valuable and as important as any other job. It just takes a different kind of person because not everybody can do service jobs – they’re hard! 

Outside of tipping, in general, it’s just being appreciative. I try to show appreciation when people take their time to help me with something. You can say how you feel in a nice way and make sure people understand how much you appreciate them. 

thank you letter

What’s the funniest mistake you’ve made, and how’d you handle it? 

A mistake I made when I was seventeen started out funny because it was a prank, but it became a big deal.

My friend and I left high school during lunch and drove around in her mom’s bright green sports car. We went around and saw a mannequin tied up outside a thrift store. We decided the mannequin should come for a ride with us. 

We sneaked around, put the mannequin in the car, and drove back to school. But the lady reported it to the police and described the bright green car, and it wasn’t hard for the police to find us. They contacted my friend’s brother, who told us what was happening. 

We decided to return the mannequin, apologize, and offer to pay for it. But on the way there, the cops stopped us before we could leave. All our classmates came out of the school to see their class valedictorians arrested. 

The lesson I took away from it was that whatever you think is funny is not always amusing to another person. And even though it was a mistake, it was still a funny story that my friend and I still laugh about. 

What’s the smallest hill you are willing to die on?

I’m willing to die on a lot of hills. People should always be kind, but I wonder if that’s actually a small hill.

There are other smaller hills, like washing your hands whenever you go into the kitchen. That’s my most ridiculous hill to die on. 

How would you explain DMARC to your grandparents, friends, or relatives?

When it comes to technology, we talk about security, but with every other aspect of life, we would call it safety. If we talked about the technical aspect as “safety,” I think people would understand that it’s just another layer they can use to prevent bad things from happening, like locking your doors. 

I take aspects people understand and apply them to the complicated stuff. For example, if someone was at your door, you’ll first ask who it is. And the person will say who they are, and you may recognize the name.

But then you can look out the window and wonder if it is them. Then you’ll have to go through checks if you don’t recognize the person. And even if you do know them, you still might not automatically open the door. 

So DMARC would be another level of protection. DMARC could be having the peephole in your door. DMARC is a validation process that ensures that the person at the door is actually who they say they are. It’s about tying what makes sense to you to other things you can validate. 

how dmarc works

Get started with DMARC 

We agree with Lili that DMARC can be an essential safety aspect for your email domain. However, many companies don’t have a DMARC protocol because it can be challenging to set it up. 

Valimail makes it easier to implement, so you don’t have to spend as much time setting it up and worrying about it. The first step towards implementing DMARC for your domain is identifying your senders.

To see who’s using your domain and sending emails on your behalf, you can set up an account on Valimail Monitor. You’ll see the list of named providers rather than a list of IP addresses. 

Sign up for a free account today and take that next step towards protecting your domain with DMARC. 

If you’d like to share your thoughts with us or nominate a leader in the email space to be featured, don’t hesitate to reach out to!