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Melissa Puskar shares lessons learned in growing alongside the DashMart business

June 14, 2024

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Raj Prashad

No matter what she worked on, Melissa Puskar was always drawn to solving problems. She was incredibly curious about the way the world works, and after achieving a degree in industrial engineering, she began to put the pieces together on how she could make an impact.

She had varied experiences early in her career, understanding how warehouse operations work, sitting in corporate functions, and engaging in both customer- and vendor-facing roles. In 2017, Puskar had an opportunity to join DoorDash at a pivotal point in the company’s journey as it was expanding across new states and developing relationships with some of its biggest partners.

For her, the interview process gave insight into the environment she was preparing to launch the next phase of her career.

“I was really inspired by every single person that I met in the DoorDash interview process, and I knew that if I took the leap and joined this team I was going to learn a ton,” Puskar says.

She joined the Midwest local operations team based in Chicago, where she had first-hand experiences on how the merchant, customer, and Dasher functions come together. Later, Puskar moved over to the Dasher Operations team and focused on creating a centralized function.

In 2019, she moved over to the DashMart business, a convenience and grocery store offering from DoorDash. As this new branch of the DoorDash business was forming, Puskar and the team also had to navigate the world turning upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Before we knew it, the whole entire world had changed. So not only were we trying to build DashMart, but we were trying to do it in a world that had gone fully remote. We found ourselves as essential workers at a time when we least expected it,” Puskar continues. “It was rewarding to see what we could accomplish when we absolutely needed to and inspiring to know that we were making such an impact for our customers.”

Since then, Puskar has been front and center as the DashMart business has grown. With every step along her path, it’s required taking an iterative approach to her work. Puskar talks of the importance of being able to jump into the unknown, while embracing the speed at which things change at DoorDash.

These development opportunities are grounded in the concept of embracing dynamic experiences.

“What's really cool about working at DoorDash is that you're going to get exposure to a lot of different types of problems and a lot of different types of opportunities. So in DashMart, one way that this manifests is that we have a variety of operations that come together under one roof to support our customers,” Puskar says.

“You have the opportunity to learn about fulfillment, warehouse stocking and sorting, and everything in between. You get to contribute to meaningful solutions and learn about where your passions are. This could take you deeper into a subject matter expertise path. It could take you towards a higher leadership position. It could even challenge you within your existing role to keep learning new things, and keep having new experiences in your day to day. There's a variety of different solutions for folks that are all in different life places and have different goals.”

Puskar says she’s continued to find herself engrossed in harder problems as her career has evolved, always aiming to find ways to make an impact. And that’s what has led her to where she is today.

“What I’ve seen since joining is that the people that we work with here have such a high caliber, that I find myself being pushed to be a better version of myself day in and day out. That quiet inspiration is done in an incredibly supportive way, and it has been the best learning opportunity of my career. I feel incredibly lucky to be part of this team and in this culture,” Puskar adds.

“What's really inspiring to me is that at its core, the way we solve problems is still the same, the pace of operations is still the same as it was back when no one knew what DoorDash was. As market leaders, we stay customer obsessed, we're still focused on getting one percent better every day. We're still focused on best in class operations, and moving as quickly as possible to get the outcomes that we want for our customers and for our teams.”

Ultimately, the DashMart business continues to grow thanks to people like Puskar, who are constantly looking to solve new problems and building innovative solutions to bring the neighborhood to customers around the country.

“I'm really inspired by not only the problems that we solve for consumers, but also the problems that we get to solve for our merchant partners, where we're going to help them bring their products to customers in a new way. We're creating more opportunities for dashers. And we're also creating more opportunities for our on-site teams,” Puskar continues.

“I'm so inspired and always have been by our on-site populations. I think that it is really exciting to be able to build a business where we can deliver meaningful experiences for our hourly teams, where we can make sure that our teams have the best tools possible to get the job done. Creating an environment where our teams can bring their authentic selves to work is everything to me as a leader, and we’ve built the foundation for success in having a supportive and collaborative community. I fully believe that if we empower our employees to do their best work, if we care about them as people, if we give them the tools to set them up for success, then everything else that we accomplish is better. Having a strong culture is ingrained in the very fabric of what we've built.”

With nearly five years on the DashMart side of the business, Puskar isn’t slowing down. She says the most exciting days are to come.

“What we've built so far is absolutely incredible and it's a testament to everyone on the team. There's a lot of growth and a lot of white space in front of us,” Puskar says.

"When I think about DashMarts, we stand for fresh, local, reliable. And as I look forward, I am excited for the day where all customers know this. And ultimately, when they think about getting an item from anywhere, their first instinct is questioning if they can get it through DoorDash, because they know they'll get it on time, in good condition, and in a reliable manner.”

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