Meet Jan, a Mentor at The Commons and BizOps at Thumbtack.
To summarize Jan's career path in one line: McMaster University > Strategy & Operations @ One Acre Fund (worked on finding ways to increase access to farm inputs for smallholder farmers in Kenya) > Business Operations @ Thumbtack (finding ways to decrease cost of acquiring new users on the supply side of the market)
Describe yourself with three emojis
🔨 Love learning new tools to build things with - currently learning how to how to weld together furniture
⛺️ Exploring the unknown - you’ll find me exploring rabbit holes, new ideas, and new paths wherever I go
⚙️ When I’m not exploring, I take an efficiency lens to everyday life - capsule closets, capsule cooking, minimum effective dose workouts, etc.
Current role & location?
📍BizOps at Thumbtack. Based out of Canada.
What prompted you to transition careers?
I started off my career in the nonprofit space. My goal is to be able to maximize my impact in the world. I decided to switch my career into tech because I believe that tech solutions are going to be more important for creating social good and future nonprofits will look more like startups.
When pivoting into tech, what have been the biggest changes you've noticed? What surprised you?
There are way more similarities between tech and non-tech roles than I expected - if you’re coming from a non-tech role, you probably just need to learn to speak the right language and shore up a few new skills. What I liked about moving into tech was the focus on results and moving forward fast.
We're thrilled to have you as a mentor? What do you love about mentoring with The Commons?
- The community: the community is incredibly helpful, fun, and engaged.
- Helping others: I started off in The Commons as a student to transition into tech and received lots of help along the way. I want to pay-it-forward and love seeing others find new roles/ jobs after going through The Commons.
What should people who are thinking about joining The Commons know about it?
The Commons is not like taking another online course. During the Sprints, your peers and mentors push you to learn new skills and think in new ways. Afterwards you have access to an amazing community that’s always willing to help if you’re looking to pivot into a new role or need advice on approaching a new challenge at work.
Tell us more about your role at Thumbtack! What do you do there?
I’m on the Business Operations team focusing on ways we bring on new Local Professionals (supply) onto the platform. Currently I’m working closely with our sales and success teams to find ways to decrease cost of supply acquisition and increase supply in new markets.
Any advice for someone looking to follow in your footsteps?
If you’re considering moving into tech, talk to people in tech! When I wanted to make the transition, I thought I wanted to move into Product Management. After talking to lots of people in Product Management, Business Operations, and other Ops roles, I realized I was more interested in Business Operations roles and my background was a much better fit for roles in that space.
And now, a few fun tidbits about you!
Tell us some of your favourites:
📚Favorite Books: Radical Candor & The Hard Things About Hard Things. These two were my Bible when I started managing a team. They’re full of practical advice and real-life lessons for how to run a team - if you’re looking for more, Multipliers is also a great read.
💡 Something about you! Grew up on a dairy farm and almost decided to become a farmer after working for several years in ag. after graduating 🐄
➕A handy shortcut: I always create a shortcut for googling highlighted text. Cmd - Shift - L on most of Mac (tip: change the shortcut to Cmd - Shift - Opt - L to make it work in Slack / Safari) or Ctrl-C > Ctrl-T > Ctrl-V > Enter on Chrome.
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