Mentor Spotlight: Roberto Bandeira de Mello

Mentor Spotlight

Meet Roberto, a Mentor at The Commons and Product Manager at Instawork.

To summarize Roberto's career path in one line: Professional Swimmer → Electrical Engineering Undergrad -> Electrical Engineering Masters → Data Scientist @ BoCom BBM → Operations Manager @ DiDi -> MBA @ Stanford -> MBA Intern @ Google -> Senior Manager, Ops @ Instawork -> Product Manager @ Instawork

Describe yourself with 3 emojis

🏊 My dream as a teenager was to be a swimmer! And I still do it for fun.

🤓 I’m a nerd - who else goes from BSc to MSc to MBA non-stop?

🏖️ I’m from Rio de Janeiro - my favorite kind of day will always be at the beach!

Current role & location?

📍Product Manager at Instawork in New York City

Tell us about your current role as a Product Manager at Instawork!

I’m a Product Manager at Instawork. We drive impact by prioritizing the next important parts of our product and managing the different components that go into making it happen!

What's one of the coolest projects that you've worked on?

  • Project Objective: Make processes simpler for our large clients
  • Project Overview: At Instawork, we are a marketplace that connects businesses with temp workers. In a visit to a particularly large, strategic business, we noticed that the client’s processes were breaking because of the extremely high volume of temp workers these businesses may have in a single day. Our solution was a completely new part of the product, that combined “high tech + high touch” extremely well. We deployed “Captains” into those businesses with a tool to help manage the other temp workers and fix the broken processes.
  • Your Role: Originally Senior Manager, later Product Manager
  • What was something cool about this project? This project started in the Operations team with my team and was basically a new product that needed to find Product/Market Fit. It was fun to build the project from scratch in a very scrappy way, creating prototypes and an MVP on Python by ourselves. Later on, the project grew so much, it needed product/engineering resources. Eventually I was invited to become a Product Manager to lead those efforts and now it’s an integral part of our product offering!

What are your favorite aspects of being a mentor?

I love teaching. Back in undergrad, I was a teaching assistant for 7 semesters. It's a unique pleasure to see the "AHA" moments that happen in mentees' minds when they are connecting the dots between data points to understand what's happening in the project. I'm also very lucky to have had many mentors in my career and I like being able to give back in the same way!

Has there been anything unexpected that you've gotten out of participating in The Commons?

Friends! I came in for the networking, and ended up making a couple of good friends through the community!

What's your favorite way to keep involved with the community (aside from mentoring?)

I'm a Slack person - I check all the different channels I'm a part of daily! I also recently enjoyed grabbing dinner with Loren (CEO & Co-founder at The Commons) and other mentors in New York City when Loren came to visit!

What should people who are thinking about joining The Commons know about it?

It’s all about how much you dedicate yourself. If you dedicate a couple of hours doing the basics, you’ll get out the basics. If you go beyond your comfort zone, pay attention to Slack, go to multiple events, and use your mentoring time correctly, a Sprint with The Commons can be the most important accelerator in your career.

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

  1. ASK FOR HELP! People tend to hesitate on asking for help when it comes to their career, thinking it will be a burden or that the other person won’t do it. My thoughts on that:
  • You always start from the No. If the person says no, you haven’t lost anything.
  • People actually tend to help, and they love it! There is a lot of research on this - and I can honestly say that I’ve mentored many people just for the fun of it.
  • Try to sincerely find ways to retribute the help after. Not because you have to, but keep the chain going and show your gratitude.
  1. Networking >>> applying. Aside from one rare exception, I got all my jobs by networking rather than applying in the usual career websites.

And now, a few of your favourites:

  • 🎙Podcast: Lenny’s 
  • 📰 Where you get your daily news: All over (NYT, WSJ, Globo.com, TechCrunch, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • 📚 Book: Influence by Robert Cialdini
  • 🎨 What you're doing outside of work: Soccer!

Fun stuff about you:

  • I was extremely close to never doing college and having a “traditional” career! I wanted to be a professional swimmer and was fully decided to not even apply to college until I injured my shoulders.
  • Until COVID, I had watched soccer games live in Rio de Janeiro (Maracana or Engenhao) every year since 1998

Two truths and a lie:

  1. I can stand and walk on single toes - and no, I’ve never done ballet.
  2. I’ve broken a Rio de Janeiro state record in swimming.
  3. I've watched live multiple soccer matches from American teams that I don’t root for.

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