Meet Jo White: Engagement Manager Lead, DoorDash
Written by: Myrna L. Datilus, Spotlight Blogger, SIS
Jo White (Joanna White on Linkedin) is the Engagement Manager Lead at Doordash and I am ecstatic to share the additional layers of who she is. During our conversation I was able to learn some things that truly exemplifies how passionate Jo is about her life and her career.
Jo was born and raised in London, to a South African mother and an English father. She has always traveled between South Africa and the UK to remain in contact with her cultural roots, and it was very important for her mother to expose her to the South African side of her family. When she would go on “holiday,” in South Africa which translates to “vacation,” her mother would encourage her to go to school with her South African cousins. “It was really important to her for me to know the different cultures and really experience them,” this helped to shape Jo into who she is today with that type of cultural grounding and competency. While getting to know Jo, she made it extremely clear that her value system consists of family first, loyalty, and being very goal oriented. Since she is very close with her family, and she values their opinion.
Jo studied Economics at University of Bath in England, and when she graduated, she decided to venture to New York, which ties in her love of traveling. “I’ve always been passionate about experiencing new things and putting myself outside my comfort zone,” and her move to New York did just that. She came to New York and worked a job in Banking as a Business Manager on the sales and trading floor. This position helped to inform some of the decisions Jo was able to make for her next career move within the sales industry. Jo’s face lights up each time she speaks of family and traveling, especially New York City which she states is,
“an amazing place…I absolutely loved it.” It was great to also discover that while working in NYC for 14 months, Jo was actually living in Hoboken, NJ, so she was able to enjoy the best of both worlds and truly immerse herself into the NY Metro culture. Despite how much she loves New York, moving back is not something she thinks she would do as she has found solace in Canada. Jo states,“I’m at a stage right now in my life where I’ve found a good balance between an outdoorsy lifestyle with mountains and hiking, coupled with a slight city lifestyle through working in downtown Vancouver. So probably not, but I’ll always go back and visit; I will always think of New York with such fun memories.” Sounds like Jo found a good balance between finding her peace, fun, and career, at home in the UK, NYC, and now Vancouver.
Jo’s prior role in Banking, then Strategy Consulting, and as a National Account Manager at Kraft Heinz all helped to set her up with the professional tools needed for her to be successful at DoorDash. While working as the Business Banking Manager, she took notice of how her colleagues interacted with clients over the phones, and how they were able to interact face to face which made her realize that her personality really felt more in line with a client facing role. She found what they were doing to be really exciting and fast paced with very measurable goals, which profoundly resonated with her since she already possesses a competitive spirit. Despite carrying the necessary qualities to succeed in sales, I was shocked to learn that Jo never really viewed herself as a salesperson, which she knows sounds kind of strange. Whether it sounds that way or not, I can totally relate as I felt the same way before working within the sales industry; I believe while working in sales, that is when you realize if you were truly meant to be a salesperson or not.
I asked Jo how she got the opportunity to be an Engagement Manager Lead at Doordash, and she first explained what her responsibilities are in her current role,“I look after some of our largest national partnerships in Canada personally, but I also look after one of our two post-sale teams under our Canadian Enterprise branch,” which sounds like a very demanding yet rewarding role. Yet, Jo’s journey to working at Doordash is quite an interesting one.
Jo and her Partner who lived in London felt like they were on a “hamster wheel” while working these fast paced jobs with crazy working hours, so they applied and received their visas, “and we thought, you know, if not now then when, so we quit our jobs in London and jumped on a plane to Vancouver. Everyone told us we were crazy, and my boss at the time told me I was committing career suicide,” but that didn’t stop Jo. She actually moved to Vancouver with her Partner after doing a 3month road trip around the US…Wow! The fact that Jo was audacious enough to test her faith like that, should already let us know how fearless a person she is in and out of work. As anyone could assume, this decision came with some strong, yet shocking reactions from Jo’s peers. She shared that she had one group of people essentially thinking that she was making a crazy decision, and another group cheering her on and even confessing that they are jealous of her bold move and have always wanted to do that as well; goes to show you never know who you may be inspiring.
Jo never heard of DoorDash before, until she fell upon the company while doing her job search. She found her first role as a Strategic Partner Manager (SPM), an Account Manager type role, which fit very nicely for her. She said during the interview process, “everyone seemed super driven, were really engaged with the overall mission of DoorDash as a company, just really smart people.” She kicked off her DoorDash career as a SPM for about four months, then worked her way into meetings with local restaurant heroes that were existing clients, sitting at their restaurant table, and holding meetings with them. Due to her skillset being closely matched with the national brands, and DoorDash just launching their Enterprise Canada team, she was asked to come across to that team. So Jo got promoted as an Engagement Manager, which is a half management, half individual contributor type hybrid role. She truly is passionate about the role she is in, because even while discussing it, her whole face lit up while talking about it. Amazing.
I was very interested to know how Jo, as a woman of color, has been involved in making DoorDash more of a diverse and inclusive atmosphere, and she mentioned being a part of a program named MLT CAP, which is for people of color, male and female, that are really looking for high performance talent to help get to the next level. Jo shared a time in her past career that she remembers being in a room of only older white males and thinking,“why am I the only female and woman of color here?” She believes that DoorDash as a whole does a pretty good job with some female representation, as her post-sale and enterprise team is predominantly female. “I think making sure that we’re inclusive comes in a couple of different forms, but one thing in particular for women I think is we don’t always do the best job versus our male counterparts at celebrating and sharing our successes.” I couldn’t agree more with Jo, especially when she mentioned how the majority of successful women struggle with Imposter Syndrome. Due to this, it has been really important for Jo to ensure that the people on her team and fellow peers are encouraging each other to share their successes and push themselves to always be better. As a manager, Jo is striving to make sure that she balances top talent with diversity and inclusion.
One of the statements that Jo made that truly resonated with me is, “If you’re not going to advocate for yourself, who’s going to do that on your behalf?” Which made me wonder and ask Jo, “What is your why?” To that she states, “Why do I try as hard? For me, it is the nature vs nurture argument. With nature, my parents are super driven, hardworking individuals, but nurture as well, because of the work that they’ve done, and they have high expectations of me and my brother. And so why do I do the things I do? I guess it’s to make sure I live life like this, but hit my own internal goals of what I want to achieve and what I think will bring me happiness.”
To close off our conversation, I asked Jo to share with us a quote or something that has sustained and kept her pushing to become the woman that she is today. Jo mentioned that it is important to remain “self-aware, knowing what makes you tick and just pursuing that…You know what you enjoy and you know what you don’t enjoy, and now is the opportunity to try something new, and if I don’t do it, I’m going to regret it.” I couldn’t have said that better myself.
I’ve learned so much from the conversation with Jo and thank you, Jo, for your transparency about your sales journey and for sharing your personal values and beliefs with us. Keep climbing to the top and continue being the amazing, audacious woman that you are. I’m sure you’re an amazing example for all the women that work at DoorDash. On behalf of the Sistas in Sales (SIS) Family, hats off and congratulations to you, Jo White!