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Employee Spotlight: Vanessa Rivera, Product Programs Lead

September 29, 2022


Raj Prashad

#1 - Tell us about your role and journey so far at DoorDash.

After joining DoorDash as part of the Caviar acquisition, I spoke with our VP of Product Management & Design, Rajat Shroff, about how I could support the product team and utilize my passion for team cohesion and building processes. My role as his Executive Business Partner quickly evolved into other responsibilities, such as supporting the company-wide planning team, creating programs to welcome new employees on the team, and encouraging team bonding through virtual coffee chats/get togethers throughout the pandemic. About a year ago, I transitioned into my current role as a Product Programs lead, focusing on processes, strategic initiatives, and overseeing projects for Rajat and team. In this new position, I’ve led initiatives and built programs such as the Product Manager University, a Women in Product group, and other learning and development programs.  

#2 - What are some examples of product development projects and strategic initiatives you’ve worked on? What are some of your favorite projects you’ve been a part of? 

I’ve worked on a variety of product development projects, supporting company-wide planning, creating Product Manager University (onboarding curriculum, process and experience) for new Product Managers. A personal passion of mine has been building out our Women in Product program through initiatives such as AMA’s with guest speakers and building workshops for women PMs. 

#3 - What does your day to day look like? What are some highlights of your day?

One of the things I most love about my role is, every day is different. My day to day fluctuates depending on my priorities for that week. My schedule ranges from team and ad-hoc meetings, to 1:1 conversations to larger team meetings and carving out time to build and project manage initiatives I'm responsible for. 

#4 - You’ve been invited to speak on the Meant For It podcast, what is your talk about?

Following the theme of the podcast — sharing stories of fulfilling career paths and pursuing dreams — I discussed my professional journey and career path. I don’t have a common background or linear path working in tech and product, and yet, I get to learn and be part of a team focused on building products that deliver solutions to the communities we serve. 

#5 - What are some of the challenges you’ve overcome in your career?

When I decided to join the tech industry, I had been working at a nonprofit and I decided to move from Guatemala to San Francisco. I just wanted to be in tech and I thought it was going to be easy. Then I realized how competitive the market is, and I got a lot of no’s at the beginning. I almost gave up on my tech career dream. But then I got into a startup, started as a recruiting coordinator and that gave me the entry to start my career in tech. Ever since that moment, I’ve loved being part of teams who are building new and exciting products. 

#6 - What do you love most about working at DoorDash, and what do you think is important for potential candidates to know?

It has always been a priority for me, to be part of something that positively impacts peoples lives. Working at DoorDash, we get to be part of the solution and solve tough problems for all the communities we serve. I’ve seen exponential growth in my career and in others as well. We’re a mission-driven, fast-paced and growth-based environment. 

#7 - As a successful woman in tech, what advice would you give to others looking to break in? 

Despite what you might think, you don’t have to be a computer wiz or come from an Ivy league school to break into tech. It might seem daunting at times,  that being said there are career opportunities in tech for people across a broad spectrum of skills, background and ambitions. 

No matter how many no’s you might get, no matter how many people tell you can't do it, and no matter how many times it gets really tough, you only need one person to say yes and one door to open. As cliche as this sounds, this is what I have experienced. 

Ready to learn about the career path you can own at DoorDash? Check out open jobs today!

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