Welcome to our Women’s History Month series on Skimm’d from the Couch - where we’re bringing you the women who made history this past year.
Meet: Dara Treseder. She’s the head of global marketing for Peloton — a brand that’s made at-home fitness viral during the pandemic. Case in point: Its membership has more than doubled in the last year. But this isn’t Dara’s first ride. She’s also got GE, Apple, and Goldman Sachs on her resume. So basically she’s at the top of the leaderboard.
Dara: Feedback is a gift, right? And a gift can come to you wrapped in different ways. It could come beautifully wrapped in a beautiful box with a wonderful ribbon, but it could also come in wrapping where you're like "Is this a gift, or is this trash? What is this?" And I think that we need to always remember that regardless of the wrapping, feedback is a gift.
…. I welcome critical feedback. Now I ask for it from everybody, whether it's my direct reports, people I work with, or partners. And I ask for it because in my mind asking is the invitation.... So it's my way of conditioning myself to be receptive. You know, it's my way of conditioning myself to walk in with an open heart, to not just listen and feel upset about what I don't like that I'm hearing, but really allow it to sit…. When I reflect on it, I always find, no matter how awful the feedback might be, there is a nugget, a gold nugget in there that I can kind of pick and take along with me.
Carly: What is your advice for people starting a job remotely? Like how do you onboard remotely? What has made it work for you?
Dara: My top piece of advice: when you first start the job, take the time to invest in people and build relationships. You want to immediately start showing your impact. You want to immediately get those quick wins. The way to the quick wins is through relationships. So the most important thing is taking that time to really get to know the people that you're going to be working with, establishing that foundation of trust. I think for me it has made all the difference.
If you're joining remotely… there are no conversations by the water cooler or no happy hours that you can go and be a part of. So I just think it takes additional time and investment, but it is absolutely worth it.
Carly: Everyone has the things they're not confident in and every startup, to use your metaphor, has their growing pains. Professionally speaking, what are yours?
Dara: I'm not as comfortable really pushing and advocating for myself. I can advise people to do it. I can cheer them on to do it. But when it comes to me actually doing it for myself, I don't think in my entire career I went to my boss and asked for a raise or something like that. So for me, I never want to come across as someone who's too pushy. And it's because also as a Black woman, right, there’s this trope and this stereotype of the angry, aggressive Black woman.
And because earlier on in my career, I kind of got some feedback about that, about myself, I've become so paranoid.
Carly: You got feedback about what?
Dara: I came across a little too strong. I was too passionate…. The word was significantly less charitable…. So even in moments when maybe it does make sense to lean in a little bit, maybe I should advocate for myself a little bit, I get a little scared. And so that's something that is a constant journey.
Skimm'd by Alex Carr and Peter Bonaventure
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"You have to build the kinds of alliances that are unexpected."
"This is my advice for anyone doing anything scary…. Think about it. Face it. How are you going to be prepared?"
"I did not think about failure. I did not think about success. All I thought about is we have to come up with something that stops this pandemic."