Let’s meet Gaby!
Gaby joined Wonolo in early 2018 and leads the Wonoloer Support team. Her team focuses on generating insights to help improve Wonoloer experiences and helps with Wonoloer concerns. Prior to Wonolo, Gaby helped launch and scale the Support network at Uber.
What are you grateful for today?
I could list about a thousand things to be grateful for. I am thankful for having an extremely supportive and understanding fiancé who pushes me to reach my goals, a family that loves me unconditionally, friends who encourage me while keeping me humble, colleagues who are family, and a job that doesn’t feel like work because I do what I love.
When you were in high school, what did you dream of becoming?
I wanted to work in Foreign Affairs and become a diplomat. I desperately wanted to make an impact on the world, and back then, I thought the only way to do that was through public service and diplomacy.
I completed a degree in European Studies and after completing school, I quickly realized that politics was not for me. So, I dabbled in a few fields – Brand, Marketing, Sales, Hospitality – trying to find my path. Ultimately, I had an introduction to Support operations in 2014 and found all the qualities I wanted in a career: the ability to make an impact, serve a bigger purpose, and the opportunity to help others.
What events in your life have led you to your current role/job today?
Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to cross paths with risk-takers and believers – people who gave me a chance. Although I believe every moment, even if it doesn’t make sense then, leads you to your goals, I can think of three events/opportunities I’ve had that have somewhat led to where I am today.
Managing my first team – straight out of school, I was tasked to manage a team. I had NO IDEA what I was doing or what kind of leader I wanted to be. I didn’t even know there was such a thing called “management style.” That experience made me reflect obsessively over the period of my career on the skills I wanted to have to be a better leader and to build an effective team.
Taking on my first Support gig – in 2014, my former boss took a chance on me to help build a contact center network. I had about three years of work experience in a somewhat unrelated field but I landed my job at Uber which opened up doors for me in tech and in Support. I learned a ton in a short amount of time – launching high impact projects, training teams, working with tools and systems I had never used before, working across cultures and functions, etc.
Moving away from home – I moved back to the U.S. in 2016 wanting more independence and seeking to grow personally and in my career. To be honest, starting over was tough. Making friends, finding work in a competitive space, and looking for affordable housing was a challenge, but I believe these life experiences have prepared me for where I am at now. Having to handle my mistakes (like taking on a Sales role prior to Wonolo knowing I am the worst salesperson) more independently away from a foundation of friends and family, taught me to be kinder to myself and to put in the hard work. I now know that eventually, things will fall into place.
When things do not turn out the way you planned, what is the first thing you do?
Ah, well, I’ve learned that the only thing certain is that you can produce a seemingly bulletproof plan but something will go wrong. Accepting that not everything will go according to plan has allowed me to take things in stride.
When things hit the fan, I try to compartmentalize my emotions from what needs to get done. It’s normal to feel frustrated, but I try not to be reactive. First, I ask why and how, and then I move on from there to find short-term and long-term solutions. While working on solutions, I often realize that in the grand scheme of things, I’m grateful for hiccups because they surface issues I wouldn’t have otherwise known about.
When you have to make a difficult decision, what do you lean on?
I actually just learned a great lesson on this from a previous “Why We Work” blog post from Monica. She asks herself, “Can I sleep at night knowing I’ve done everything in my power to steer an outcome in the right direction?”
Now when I face difficult decisions, I make sure that I’ve done everything in my power to lead in the direction that I believe is correct. It won’t always work out the way I imagine, but I know that I gave it my all!
What is one life advice you can give to anyone?
Assume positive intent. We are conditioned to be suspicious and doubtful of others’ intentions. Assuming positive means to assume people have good intentions unless they give you a reason not to believe that. Practicing this every day allows me to want to understand the “why” and “how” before going into defensive mode. I don’t want to make assumptions or create pointless narratives I know nothing about. Assuming positive allows me to discover other perspectives with an approach of curiosity and understanding rather than with judgment.
Please finish this sentence: If you really knew me, you would know that ______.
I am obsessed with dogs – I’m that person that will stop you in your tracks to say hi to your doggo. I also have the worst sweet tooth. I always check the dessert menu first before ordering a main. Everything I own that’s scented is in either lavender or coconut.