Who she is: Lizzie Alberga, General Manager, UrbanSitter
Where she is: Los Angeles
Success story: Climbing the ladder and excelling professionally while finding the love of my life, getting married, and having three kids in four years!
Work schedule: I work when I am productive and play/rest when I am not. Since I work from home I have flexibility. Generally I work Monday through Friday, 7:30am – 10:30am, 12:00 – 6:00pm and at least 3-4 hours one night or one weekend day.
Kids: Archer 3.5 years, Estelle 2 years, Dixon 5 months, and Nestlé (the dog) 1.5 years
Sanity vice: Bubble baths (which I will take in the middle of the day if needed), snuggling with the hubby, walking down to the beach, and watching a few favorite TV shows.
Recent smart read: Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields
Favorite weeknight dinner: Roasted veggies, cumin spiced salmon and quinoa with black beans. (Find recipe here.)
Favorite magazine: Does Twitter count? 😉
Favorite TV show: How to Get Away with Murder, The Bachelor/Bachelorette series (yes, I know, we are hooked)
Go-to tech: WAZE, Google Docs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Life hack: Dry shampoo! Makes for a great ‘do and saves at least 45 minutes of hair washing/prep/styling.
Better way to say work-life balance: “Balance on the whole” is what I believe in. Every day will not be balanced, but over a few month’s time I strive to make sure all parts of my life are being nurtured.
1. What do you do at UrbanSitter and how you got there.
My role as the General Manager of Los Angeles for UrbanSitter is first and foremost focused on reaching new users and extending the UrbanSitter brand in Los Angeles. Building a healthy marketplace where both parents and sitters can thrive is the goal. This a true GM role and I am responsible for both operational excellence as well as new user growth and satisfaction.
When considering working from home advantages, I find that it offers unparalleled flexibility and the ability to better balance my professional responsibilities with my personal life, particularly as a mother.
I applied for this role blindly through LinkedIn and 3 hours after applying received a call from the head of marketing—that never seems to happen! It was a culture fit from the first conversation and both sides recognized that my background was a strong fit. After a few casual meetings and conversations, we shook hands and I started a few weeks later.
2. What inspired you to take the plunge and submit an application for this role only a few weeks post-birth of your third child? What motivated the timing of such life-altering change?
I had been at my previous company, Evite, for seven years. I knew it was time for a change and I really wanted my last maternity leave to be stress free. I always found it hard to completely unplug, even on maternity leave. When I was 7 months pregnant I decided I wasn’t going to return after maternity leave and instead I would take a break, enjoy my family without a thought of work and see what life brought next.
Given my Type A personality, at three weeks postpartum I casually searched to see what opportunities were out there—even though I had told myself I wouldn’t look for opportunities until my son was three months old. I had no intention of actually applying to any jobs, but there were a few I was excited about and decided to apply. It feels like this role at UrbanSitter was meant to be—both with the work I’m doing and the wonderful people I work with.
3. You applied to this job without any prior knowledge or experience. What was it about your pitch that made them take notice?
The job application included a few situational questions including giving an example of a marketing tactic to engage and sign-up parents. I think my creativity, strategic insight, and end-to-end thinking came through with my answer. I have also been told by many recruiters and hiring managers that I have a very strong resume; both in structure and content. The first page of my resume is mainly all success points with supporting data and I make sure to highlight accomplishments across many verticals: sales, marketing, management/culture, and business development to present myself as a well-rounded, results-oriented executive.
When reflecting on potential challenges, I acknowledge that there are some working from home disadvantages, such as the blurring of boundaries between work and personal life, which can sometimes lead to longer work hours and difficulty unplugging from work-related tasks.
4. After leaving the secure environment of a sizable organization, what drew you to start working for a startup and UrbanSitter in particular?
At my core, I am an entrepreneur. At Evite, I started several new programs, a new division, and even launched a brand new test product during my last few years. So even if I wanted to cruise or could have, it’s just not me. I prefer companies that move fast, are willing to take risks, and support change. I also have an intense sense of urgency that fits best with start-ups looking for rapid growth or companies in turnaround mode.
When it comes to balancing my professional ambitions with my personal life, being a mother working from home allows me the flexibility to be present for my family while pursuing my career goals.
I was attracted to UrbanSitter because of three reasons: 1) It was a product I’d use and it seemed primed for a growth spurt; 2) I loved that its purpose was to support parents, offer them help—I believe wholeheartedly that it takes a village to raise children and support businesses trying to help in that effort; 3) Lastly, I really liked the fact that it was founded by women.
5. How are you acclimating to the remote work environment since joining our team, especially as a newcomer?
Working remotely in a leadership position requires even better communication and organization of thoughts—especially in order to show higher level thinking to management. Things that could be casually discussed or iterated over lunch need to be written down and then actively managed to keep everyone informed.
I write a discussion brief when presenting a new idea and share thorough findings documentation after tests—everything needs to stand on its own, so that if I am not there to explain the ideas, findings, strategy, and thinking, it’s still clear. It’s easy to get by and not do this when everyone works in the same office, but it’s critical when working remotely.
Understanding the challenges and potential drawbacks, such as working from home disadvantages, helps me address them proactively and ensure effective communication and collaboration within my team.
I also try to reach out to other teammates casually just to catch up and will be making routine visits to the corporate office for some face time. Did I mention Google Hangout? We also do a lot of video conferencing, which helps.
6. Share with us how you and your spouse have managed to successfully collaborate on both career goals as well as parenting, whilst also providing insight into what has been the most essential element of making it work.
The key to making it work is simple—have help! There is so much to do to manage a household and a career that no one person can do it all. If you have a very helpful husband, awesome, but if not get some help! A nanny, housekeeper, get a babysitter or mother’s helper through UrbanSitter, use an errand service, etc.
We do have a nanny three days a week and get a babysitter one to two times a month, but my husband happens to be exceptionally helpful. Also, because of his flexible schedule (he owns his own business) he is able to watch the kids three days a week. He does the grocery shopping, pays the bills and does most of the cooking. Our nanny does all the laundry, changes bed sheets, towels, and does light cleaning.
This allows me to focus on my career and the kids’ education, extracurricular activities, family/friend celebrations, and overall home environment, while also considering the pros and cons of remote working to ensure a balanced approach to our lifestyle.
This article was originally published on Maybrooks.
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