Mentor Spotlight: Ellie @ DoorDash

Mentor Spotlight

Meet Ellie, a Mentor at The Commons and Product Operations Manager at DoorDash.

To summarize Ellie's career path in one line: Occidental College (BA in Mathematics &  Economics) → Consultant @ small firm → Rider Ops (Premium) @ Uber → Project Management @ Meta → Product Operations @ DoorDash

Describe yourself with emojis

🏝  I am my happiest when I’m at the beach, to me nothing beats a beach vacation.

🍣  sushi is my favorite food!!

☕️ you won’t find me uncaffeinated… 

🏃🏼‍♀️ over the past few years, I have taken up running long distances. In March I completed the Los Angeles Marathon for the second time!

Current role & location?

📍Product Operations @ DoorDash. I am currently located outside of Philadelphia but am relocating to Boulder, Colorado in May. I worked remotely in Bermuda for most of 2021 😎

What prompted you to pivot from consulting into tech?

I started off my professional career in a consulting role, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do long-term. In the first year of that role, I spent a ton of time learning SQL, and learned that data analysis was something that I enjoyed. I knew I wanted to leave consulting, but I wanted to continue to hone my data analysis skills.

How did you identify what types of roles you wanted to shift to?

I kept an open mind when I was applying to roles. I prioritized opportunities where I could see the most personal and professional growth and I’ve stuck to that principle as I’ve found subsequent opportunities.

How has your thinking around career paths changed over time?

My career philosophy has changed a lot over the last 5 years. When I first started working in consulting, I focused a lot on the short term (i.e. getting a deliverable out the door) and never gave career progression or growth much thought. When I finally pulled my head out of the sand about a year into the role, I realized that I wasn’t really passionate about consulting and that I wanted to pivot into another role or industry. Fast forward a few years and a couple of roles later, I try to be a lot more strategic when deciding roles and opportunities to pursue and how certain decisions affect my career path. However, my career philosophy is to make sure that you’re always learning and always enjoying what you’re doing. You spend at least 40 hours a week working (almost 25% of the total 168 hours in a week), so enjoyment is critical. There will be tough times (days, weeks, and months), but as long as you feel like you still enjoy the crux of what you do, keep at it.

Tell us about your current role at DoorDash!

I work in Product Operations at DoorDash, and I’m specifically focused on the Drive product, which is DoorDash’s white-label fulfillment offering (i.e. you order delivery from Panera’s app and a Dasher brings it to you). The team is focused on onboarding and retaining new merchants by offering user-friendly product features.

What's one of your favorite projects that you've worked on?

  • Project Objective: An “explore project” to learn more about one of DoorDash’s key middleware providers
  • Project Overview: A middleware provider, in the DoorDash world, is a company that provides software giving technical capabilities to restaurants (you might be familiar with ordering online through Square or Toast apps). One of the middleware providers we had partnered with for a long time was quite unique in this space in terms of the offerings and product solutions they provided to merchants, and our team hadn’t focused on it in the past. It was truly a blank space project to work on and explore.
  • Your Role: Research the middleware provider and understand why their offering is so compelling to merchants.
  • What made it so interesting? So rewarding? I really enjoy work where I can explore “uncharted territory” that hasn’t been prioritized before. As I mentioned above, I am a learner and I love to understand intricacies and details of projects and present them back to my team.

What advice would you give to your former self at the beginning of your job search?

  1. Always trust your gut: Trusting your gut is so important when navigating the job search. If your gut is telling you that the role you’re interviewing for isn’t a good fit, trust that! If you accept that role, it’s likely you’ll be there for at least a year, so make sure that you are confident that you’ll enjoy the opportunity.
  2. Don’t get down on yourself if you’re rejected for a role: all interview experiences are good experiences. If you get rejected, it’s okay to be disappointed but don’t let it be a reflection of your self-worth or capabilities. Let each interview be a learning opportunity for the one to follow.

We're so happy you're part of The Commons! What have been your favorite parts about being a mentor?

  • Seeing how much progress the cohorts make in the short 6 week period. Mentees oftentimes have very little (if any) SQL background, but they are able to learn in the six week span and present some pretty incredible case studies with data-backed analyses.
  • Getting to know the mentees (very cliche) on a personal and professional level. At the beginning of the cohort, mentees and mentors are strangers with different professional backgrounds and goals. Watching each individual mentee learn and grow towards their individual goals through the Juniper case study is AWESOME

What's your favorite way of keeping involved with the community outside of mentoring?

I love the s’up bot! Getting to know other members of The Commons community outside of the mentor/mentee relationship is so fun. Usually I’m paired with two other folks I have never met or interacted with and we always leave the conversation with smiles on our faces.

And now, a few of your favourites:

📚 Book: I just read Magpie Murders and couldn’t put it down! 

🎨 What you're doing outside of work: I love ancestry.com because I am a huge nerd but I’ve built a family tree of over 2,000 of my ancestors and relatives!

🌟 A CEO or leader you admire: Howard Schultz (Starbucks)

💬 An inspiring business quote: “Quality is not an act, it is a habit” - Aristotle

And now, a few fun tidbits about you!

  1. I watch Jeopardy every night (major trivia nerd)
  2. On the nerd topic, I also am a big math nerd. HMU if you want to discuss graph theory, differential equations, or combinatorics 🤣
  3. I hate blue foods! I will not eat anything colored blue

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