Recently, I joined Shiru as their VP of People. While this was a very recent change in my career adventure, my journey to this moment actually started years ago.
I was introduced to Dr. Jasmin Hume while at another early stage biotech company, Upside Foods, formerly known as Memphis Meats. While there, I had the chance to work with some of the most talented and smartest individuals who were working to create cell based meat without the need to slaughter an animal. We were series A and in growth mode - and I did my damndest to recruit Jasmin to the company. As soon as I met her, I knew she was not only capable of changing the world but innately kind and empathetic. When she politely turned down the job offer, she gave me feedback on her experience as a candidate and the insights she shared with me have influenced much of my work since then.
After Upside, I spent a handful of years at Stitch Fix, at the time - a recently public e-commerce company founded by a woman, supported by a diverse leadership team and en route to international growth. It was here that I learned the power of owning your authentic voice, the value of preparing for scale ( 4,500 to 9000+ in < 2.5 years), and in protecting equity across every medium. I learned from some of the best compensation professionals, both internally and through external engagements on how to scale equity across exempt and non-exempt populations internationally. They taught me the power of asking the right questions, understanding what matters most to people - and honestly, how most compensation strategies are one size fits all. While here, I also worked for some of the most innovative and battle-tested people and culture leaders; all of whom have influenced me in dramatic ways as my own person - and who have a direct hand in my achievements.
At Stitch Fix, and in a moment of stability, I realized that it was time for me to choose my next adventure - and there was only one place I wanted to go. It was for one of the smartest, most direct, no shenanigans of a CEO - and to lead the People Team at Policygenius. The fintech company had grown to more than 500 folks across the US, and is on a mission to bring more accessible and quality financial content and protection to the masses. It was here that I experienced authenticity and candor on a grand scale. Folks spoke their mind, cared deeply about their peers and fought day in /day out to make a meaningful impact. We moved quickly (#superpower #understatement) and taught the skill of problem solving from day 1. When I think of the highest density of talented professionals - let me tell you where they’re at: Policygenius. I’ve also never had to write more concise business proposals, for better or worse.
Years have obviously passed and Jasmin and I have kept in touch. We’ve been there through a lot of each other's lives — from traveling the world to her entering motherhood. As a woman, it’s super important to me that I support other women. I’ve been blessed with the chance to work for multiple talented, brilliant, badass female CEOs and learn from countless driven and bright female team members I’ve been in the trenches with. And I want others to have that experience and to know that, if they want to, they can achieve anything - regardless of gender identity.
So now - having joined Shiru in March 2022; I am a part of a small and mighty team that is on a direct quest to further sustainability by utilizing machine learning and biology to fix America’s food system. In the months leading up to joining, Jasmin and I spent hours talking about our vision and hopes for a company. She had curated a really genuine and capable team that established their organically special culture, and she wanted to protect and scale that as Shiru started to rapidly grow. Pulling lessons both from the best things we’ve had in our pasts to the worst, we were wholly aligned on building a company that is inclusive from the early days — scalable, disciplined, personalized, innovative and balanced. Before me, they adopted an industry leading parental leave policy; and while at a leadership offsite - we stacked hands on “no shenanigans”; doesn’t matter the topic.
The chance to make a mark bigger than myself has never been more real or more tangible to me than in the work we’re driving at Shiru. To stand alongside not only Jasmin, but a full bench of kind, empathetic, brilliant and no-nonsense folks, is a rare opportunity and one I am not taking lightly.
So, what are our plans for Shiru? First, growth - our leadership team met a few months ago to brainstorm plans for the next two years. We believe that the only chance of success to achieve the ambitious plans we plotted out will be if we have the absolute best folks driving us forward. This growth will enable us to unlock critical discoveries, further our mission, and take on massive partnerships that will bring with it better and more sustainable ingredients. In parallel, we’re building a culture from scratch that is transparent, fun, resourced, authentic, and collaborative.
So why does this even matter? Why am I writing this? We’re on a mission to build a better food system by way of sustainable ingredients, and
- We need folks; the price of admission is domain expertise – but we’re looking for folks who will make our culture and our values even stronger than they are today.
- Finally, life comes full circle – I will scream it from the rooftops that you should ask for what you want and who you want to do it with, and you need to be ready when it happens.
So my call to action is two-fold; if you want to join us - what are you waiting for? (Our career page is here!)
And, maybe we’re not right for you but another company, mission or leader is, raise your hand and lean in. My last company taught me that a true hero’s journey isn’t about the destination, but about the journey. So what you’re doing today may not make sense or be fully “it” for you, but you have no idea what your full story is or what you’re being prepared for.