Celebrating International Women’s Day with Shipt

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8th. In honor of this year’s International Women’s Day, we’re spotlighting women in leadership roles at Shipt and getting to know a little more about their backgrounds. Read on for their sage advice on overcoming professional challenges and growing into various leadership roles.

Britney S. is the Vice President of Community Engagement at Shipt. Born and raised in Alabama, it’s fitting that she’s settled into a role where she focuse on engaging the community and taking care of Birmingham. In her role, Britney works with city, state and county governments and economic development organizations to help expand the tech sector in Birmingham and revitalize the city. We asked Britney what it was like discovering her passion for technology after starting her career in a different field, as well as what advice she has for those  on a similar path…

What was it like discovering your passion for technology? Would you consider this to be the turning point in your career?

That actually came at Shipt when I started working on the community engagement team. A few months into my tenure, someone approached me and casually mentioned the work I was doing was really economic development. I had this “ah-ha” moment where I realized that my work had broader implications beyond technology. The work we do as a company changes lives for the better and that conversation really brought my responsibility to the community and people we help into perspective. I still get to work at Shipt, a technology company, but I also get to challenge myself and do something unique that not a lot of people have the opportunity to do – put an entire city on the map.

What advice do you have for women interested in working in technology? Or those just starting their careers in any field?

Lead by example and embrace mentorship. I’ve always found the people I want to follow most are the ones who are willing to be the “first” to try something. Be the type of leader you want to follow and always treat people with respect.

When it comes to embracing mentorship, I can’t emphasize this enough. It wasn’t quite as easy to find a mentor when I was starting my career, and there weren’t as many women in technology when I joined the field. But things are changing, and with modern social/professional networks and mobile devices, I think it’s a lot easier to find and work with a mentor. I always encourage people who ask me for advice to find someone whose input they value and just talk to them, bounce ideas or thoughts off them. It doesn’t have to be your direct boss and sometimes it’s better that way. Find someone with the experience you want and use their knowledge to empower yourself.

Bani M. is Director of Product, Experience & Integration at Shipt. She joined Shipt as a Product Manager leading member experience in 2016 and was the second hire on the product team. Today, she leads a team of product managers responsible for bringing the in-store retail shopping experience to life via the Shipt app and works with retail partners to create and scale their e-commerce capabilities and drive digital growth for the businesses. We believe our retail partners deserve the same great experience our shoppers and members receive, and Bani’s team makes that possible. We asked Bani for her advice on finding a mentor and what makes a good leader…

What advice would you give to someone searching for a mentor?

The first piece of advice is be proactive. Identify someone who has the experience you want to gain. It doesn’t have to be someone who takes on the formal role of a mentor or someone you work with closely, it could be someone you look up to in a different team or function of the company. To learn from these individuals, study their actions and engage with them (if you can) or talk with people you know about how you might apply the lessons you’ve learned in your own work.

In the absence of access to any mentor you look up to, be your own mentor. Keep a journal of your thoughts and evaluate yourself as you go. Great mentors offer you guidance and help navigate challenges by listening and assessing your strengths and weakness. But you don’t always need to depend on a mentor to start building self-awareness — try gaining a better understanding of yourself. Teach yourself how to figure out what it is you want to accomplish and the challenges you need to overcome to reach your goals. Keep your focus on solving those challenges, push yourself to think as a storyteller and visualize, write and direct your career story.

What makes a good leader? What advice would you give to women in the workforce striving to become leaders?

The understanding that there’s a difference between a boss and a leader. I think these terms are used interchangeably, often drawing the line between good and great leadership.

A key aspect of good leadership, therefore, is finding ways to motivate those around you to be their best. Simply managing a team is not enough, you need to challenge yourself to continuously inspire people and figure out what they need from you to be successful, not the other way around.

This mantra helped me put tremendous focus on the “we” in the team and also empowers me to take a very collaborative approach to leadership. Instead of coming out and directing people based on my ideas, I like to find out what they think. It’s important for everyone to be engaged and bought into what we’re trying to accomplish, and tools like group brainstorms are great ways to unite people around ideas. Radical candor is also important to me. I have seen how hard it is to get and deliver constructive feedback, and the more success you achieve the harder it can be. So, showing someone you care enough about their growth to be candid with them can make a huge difference.

Missy P. is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Shipt. She’s been with Shipt for more than three and a half years, joining on the same day the company launched its 8th market in Charlotte, NC in 2015. Her first role at Shipt was Digital Marketing Director, leading various marketing teams and spearheading brand partnerships. Today, she leads the company’s national marketing strategy and works closely with the brand team to oversee implementation of various marketing campaigns. We asked Missy about the biggest professional challenges of her career and what advice she has for women striving to become leaders…

What’s the greatest professional challenge you’ve faced? How did you overcome it?

There are two challenges that have really defined my career and led me to where I am today. The first was a personal and professional challenge. Back before I joined Shipt, there was a point when I was working full time in a corporate marketing role, going back to school to get an MBA and having my first child, all simultaneously. Juggling these was by far the biggest challenge I had faced to that point in my life, and looking back on it, I’m still not sure how I managed it all other than extreme focus on short-term goals and working hard at it.  

The second is probably the greatest professional challenge I’ve faced and an important turning point in my career – joining Shipt. I left the corporate world to join Shipt, and jumping into a true startup environment was a huge change. It wasn’t just the pace of work that was exciting, it was also the freedom to experiment and fail. That was something I hadn’t been exposed to in my previous roles and I’ll admit it took some getting used to. When you’re part of an emerging company or industry there is no rule book, you’re learning as you go and learning how to be okay with successes and failures. I’ve come a long way since then and I’m so thankful for the freedom and flexibility I have at work today.

What advice do you have for other women entering the workforce or looking to grow into leadership roles?

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my career is in order to achieve success and happiness you need to acknowledge who you are and what you’re passionate about. Passion is so important in life, and when you’re able to match your passions and drive with the right opportunity magic happens. That’s what I’ve found at Shipt and why it’s such a special place for me. Don’t be afraid to try new things on the search for what you’re most passionate about. You may have charted out a career path for yourself, but never close yourself off to opportunity because you never know where it will lead. It’s important to give yourself the freedom to explore and challenge yourself.

When it comes to leadership, I think one of the most important attributes a leader can possess is good listening skills. It’s easy to miss opportunities to listen and engage with your team in the day to day hustle so this requires intentional focus. There’s a time to step in and lead, but it’s hard to be an effective leader if you aren’t paying attention to what’s going on around you. Open communication and the willingness to challenge people in a constructive way is extremely valuable. Leading isn’t all about the destination, it’s also about the journey and that’s often where the most important personal and professional growth occurs.

Tramaine T. is a Senior Operations Manager at Shipt. Based in Austin, Texas, Tramaine oversees Shipt operations in the southwest region of the country, including managing retailer relationships and shopper engagement. In her role, she works with a variety of teams at Shipt, from product to engineering to partner success, ensuring day to day operations in the region run smoothly. This includes overseeing regional launches and expanding Shipt’s coverage area to bring our delivery marketplace to more households in the region. We asked Tramaine to share a few lessons she’s learned throughout her career…

Is there a moment you consider to be the “turning point” in your career? How did you feel at the time?

My move to Texas and into the field of technology in 2016 was a turning point for me. I was entering the unknown – a new city, new job and new industry, it was a huge shift. If you’ve heard the expression “drinking through a fire hose,” that’s what it felt like at the time.   

Up to that point in my career, I had worked in the apparel/fashion industry. While my background wasn’t a perfect match for my new technology role, I came to learn that was actually one of my biggest strengths. Looking back I’ve realized that every job and experience I had leading up to that point was important because it has helped shape who I am today. All the struggles and successes I experienced at work gave me a unique point of view that no one else had, and the people and problem-solving skills I had honed were translatable to any role. Every experience is a new opportunity to grow, and you never know what it will lead to. If I hadn’t taken that leap, I wouldn’t be here today.

What makes a good leader?

Integrity and passion. It’s hard to build trust without these attributes, and trust is integral to influencing others to confidently follow your lead and courageously rise to their potential. Good leaders take ownership of the good and bad, especially in the face of adversity. There are going to be times in life when you fail or make mistakes, but the only way to move forward is to own up to those failures and turn them into compost for the next opportunity. The most effective leaders I’ve worked for surround themselves with others who possess complementary skills, and they find ways to leverage those skills to reach a collective goal.

Are you interested in joining the Shipt team and learning from these tremendous leaders? Visit our career page to explore our current opportunities. 

Category: #ShiptLife, Blog, Community

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