As Women’s History Month unfolds, we’re celebrating our female employees’ accomplishments and resilience. Seven team members from across Carvana sat down and told us about their histories, challenges, and proudest moments with Carvana.
On Breaking New Ground Within Carvana
Samika M., a Senior Manager here at Carvana, has seen the company grow in leaps and bounds — and watched her career, and those of her colleagues, expand in turn. “I’ve got a couple of moments in my career that I’m really, really proud of. I think my first is getting the opportunity to roll out the principles and be able to share what a day in the life of a team lead would look like to Ben and Ernie (our Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer, respectively). I know I was very nervous to present and share to them, but it’s one of my proudest moments here at Carvana.
I also think that we have a lot of firsts at Carvana, and I was a part of two here in the Registrations Department. The first being our regional team lead role — Carvana just created it. We didn’t have it fully defined just yet, and I was tapped to move into that role and help shape what the regional team lead role would look like and what registration would look like at the regional level.
I also got the opportunity to be the first manager in training for the Registrations Department, and I was really excited about that, mainly because I was able to show people here what their careers could look like and how high they could go — that being a manager was possible here. So I think those are three really defining moments for my career, all of which I’m very proud of, and very thankful to the leaders that have helped lead me, develop me, and get me to the point that I am now.”
Dharini P., a Senior Engineer in the Logistics Cluster, echoes that pride in her own career growth. “I joined Carvana in December 2019 as an Engineer. When I joined, the team size was about five to six people and I was the only female developer. Now, we’ve grown — our team is about 15 people and there are more female developers. I’m proud that I was part of that growth, and proud of my professional growth from Engineer to Senior Engineer. We delivered a lot of projects during that time, but there’s one project that I would like to highlight most. I was pulled from a different team for six weeks to help out with it. That project had a very tight deadline and it was critical to our business. We managed to finish on time, and I feel very happy and proud about that.”
Tacarra B., a Senior Manager of Quality Assurance, has also watched the women on her team break new ground. “I’m super proud of the leaders that have grown up through the QA team that are now leading their own teams. We have Tracy H., who’s the QA manager for Customer Experience (CX). She started out as an advocate on the front lines. Same with Sydney — who’s now the team lead of the Engagement Analytics team. Then we have Paula R., who is the QA manager for the VA team — it’s just very satisfying to see how they’ve started their careers with Carvana and now they’re managing their own teams and being the boss women that they are.”
On Rising to the Occasion
Kelsey H., who led a team of event marketers during the pandemic, recalls the challenges she faced and the growth she experienced as a result: “I think all too frequently in our careers, we move on to the next thing without really pausing and reflecting on where we’ve come and the moments we should be really proud of celebrating along the way. There’re a lot of seasons of my career that I’m proud of, a lot of things that challenged me and made me who I am today… I would say one of the most challenging parts of my Carvana career was the pandemic. At that time, I was leading a team of event marketers doing experiential events and promoting the company all across the country. I had been doing that most of my time here at Carvana, and when the pandemic hit, all the live events stopped, so there were no festivals to go to and promote.
No events, nothing like that where we could do what we’re used to doing and spreading the good word in real life. So everything went online. We were all in our houses on Zoom calls all day. So I was really challenged with ‘what is my team going to be doing?’ If our focus was events and there are no events, how were we going to continue to push the needle and help promote Carvana in this digital space? That challenged me to think about other channels of marketing that we weren’t as involved in. At that time, things were a little bit segmented, and this was a great opportunity to start to collaborate more with the social team, help make creative content, host some virtual events online, and focus on some internal culture-building initiatives as well.
So it was an incredible time for our team where we really started to flex into being more well-rounded marketers, where we started to understand the ways that we could work together through different channels of marketing for a little more of an omnichannel presence versus just maintaining our lane of events. And that’s what we do. So ultimately the team came out so much stronger, so much more collaborative than we had been before within the other areas of the Brand Team. And I’m really proud looking back at how I didn’t shy away from that challenge and kept my team engaged and busy and growing during one of the toughest times for the event industry.”
Maddie R., a Brand Activation Specialist, also found herself finding success in a leadership position as she planned the 2021 CarvanaFest: “I’m a brand activation specialist. I’ve been with Carvana for about five and a half years, starting as a customer advocate… and eventually transitioning to the brand team in 2019. Throughout my time here, I’ve learned a lot of new things, gained some new skills, and met a ton of incredible people, but I think my proudest moment during this time has been spearheading the 2021 CarvanaFest. For those of you that don’t know, CarvanaFest is an annual customer celebration event where we like to give back and spoil our customers who have put their trust and loyalty into us. But in 2021, we needed to give our employees some love as well. So we decided to take this event and make it a two-day hybrid experience, so our employees in the area could come connect in person, and those who were not in the area could still tune in and be a part of the celebrations virtually.
Then, on the second day, we were able to host our customers and make sure that they got all of the celebrations they deserve as well. I think what impacts me most about this event is that I feel like I was able to create an experience that really celebrated the hard work that goes into what we do every day here at Carvana to make sure our customers have an incredible experience. I’m really proud of the work that my team and I were able to do. We’re a small team of just five, and we put together a massive event. So what I’m most proud of in that moment too, outside of the event, is that I was able to find myself as a leader and find my confidence and find my ground here at Carvana.
My team around me had been building me up for a very long time, and I don’t think I realized until that moment what I was actually capable of and that I could be trusted to make decisions. And I think I’m really proud of the way this event turned out, how many people we were able to impact, and how many people still have memories from CarvanaFest and like to share those. My learnings from leading the CarvanaFest 2021 event enabled me to have confidence in my ability to successfully run the programs I do today. We really are all in this together, and I’m so lucky to be a part of a team and an organization and a community and a company that values one another like we do. So I think CarvanaFest 2021 has to be my proudest moment and how we are all able to stay connected and be together.”
On Personal Growth
Shaneka T., a Vending Machine Specialist here at Carvana, spoke to our company culture — and how it impacts her day-to-day. “The part of my Carvana career that I am most proud of is just the fact that I’m able to go to different locations, different car vending machines, and sometimes different inspection centers as well. And I might pop in at a few delivery locations too, but I think I’m most proud of that because I can connect with everybody on a personal level, get to know them, let them know that they’re seen, they’re heard, and just be there for them. And also show women that they can do anything in the tech world, and it’s okay to ask for help, and it’s okay to not need help either.
It’s a very proud moment for me because I remember coming to Carvana and seeing the environment and being so happy that it wasn’t the typical environment where you couldn’t get to know somebody or it just seemed a little cold shoulder-ish. But I love being able to see people and put voices to names… I think at Carvana with our core values, we try to make sure that there are no sidelines in anything that we do. Just being at different locations and helping them launch or just popping in, just to get them some lunch and just catch up with everybody… [It’s] nice. It’s nice to feel welcomed and nice to feel like I’m a part of the family because every location has their own family, and I think I’m probably the extended auntie, somebody’s great auntie. It’sa very proud moment to be able to connect with everybody all over Carvana and also to feel a sense of community too, and make sure I have that wherever I go.”
Rachel H., a Senior Talent Development Partner, also spoke to the self-development and pride that can come with working a job you love. “I’m currently a Senior Talent Development Partner, a part of our Talent Development team that supports customer care. I specifically support the Regulatory Operations team, also known as the Registration Team. I am most proud of the tremendous growth that I have experienced at Carvana in the last almost seven years that I’ve been here. I started in October of 2016, and when I tell you that I am a completely different person and woman from the time that I started to now, that is no understatement. I’ve learned so much about myself, what I’m passionate about, what gets me excited and fired up, where I have areas to grow, and so much more. My family even comments on how much growth they’ve seen in me since starting here and how thankful they are that Carvana has provided me.
With so many opportunities to grow as just an overall human, I am way more confident in myself and I am just most proud of that. As of today, the part of my career at Carvana that I’m most proud of is making the transition from our Customer Care Team — which I previously supported and started in 2016 as an advocate, and grew into a team lead over on that team — to coming over to the Talent Development Team that supports customer care within people operations. This was a huge milestone for me as it was a big career goal of mine. Since coming over to this team over the last almost two years, I’ve continued to grow my skillset in completely new ways. I am proud to say that I’ve received one promotion since being in this role. I am just overall so thankful for Carvana and everything that Carvana has done for me in my tenure. And because of that, I will always bleed blue.”
To all the women who took the time to speak on their Carvana experiences, thank you. You can watch a video featuring our interviewees here: