Alison Harrington on internal mobility and career growth

Dec 7, 2018 · Unlisted

When I joined Stripe in January, 2013, I was completely removed from the world of startups. My previous job experience was in fashion and cosmetics retail. Growing up in the Bay Area, technology companies were prevalent, but Silicon Valley felt a world away, and tech wasn’t necessarily a career path I had considered. My parents didn’t pressure me to pursue a specific career path or apply for a great college — their lack of direction enabled me to discover what made me happy and eager to learn. While attending community college, I was also able to explore many subjects, and had the flexibility to work simultaneously, in order to pay for college myself.

While taking community college classes, my interest was piqued by nutrition and health education, so I decided to pursue that profession and apply for a job in that field. During my search, I found that Stripe was looking to hire a kitchen assistant to help provide meals to their employees in San Francisco. I applied and had an interview within a few days. During my interview and once I subsequently started working on the food team — a mighty team of two — it was obvious to me that Stripe cared for the health and wellbeing of its employees. Nutrition was a priority, and I was exposed to healthy eating as a lifestyle, designed to drive brain power. We started out cooking for about 45 employees and have since scaled the team and operation to feed nearly 1,000 people daily.

Throughout this time I also experienced a major low and high in my life: the sudden passing of my father and, within a couple months, the welcome of my beautiful baby girl. Because of Stripe’s commitment to its people, I was able to take time off for bereavement, maternity leave, and continued education. With my manager’s continued support, I was able to complete community college with an A.S in Health Education and an A.A. in Communications. When the time came to pursue a Bachelor’s degree, I was met with encouragement and support. I was accepted to UC Berkeley to study Communications and Media Studies and completed two years of upper division education in a year and a half, while continuing to work full time at Stripe.

By this time, I had been at Stripe for nearly five years and had worked a variety of different roles on the Food team. I knew it was time to challenge myself and apply my degree, so I reached out to our Recruiting team to learn about internal mobility at Stripe. I learned that we were looking to grow our User Ops team, which focuses on providing quality support to all businesses using Stripe to process payments. User Ops works closely with every part of the organization to scale Stripe globally. We make sure to focus all of our attention towards Stripe users, to ensure they have quick and easy access to the support and tools they need to scale and innovate their own businesses. User Ops appealed to me because it provided the opportunity to get to know many people, from different backgrounds. Many members of the User Ops team come from different areas of expertise in past jobs, but they are able to draw on those experiences to excel at melding empathy with a technical support role. User Ops was a great team to join because everyone is extremely welcoming and humble — Stripe is a collection of smart, talented people who work with urgency and focus.

It was an unusual chain of events that led me to Stripe and, even more so, to my current role. I feel grateful that Stripe advocated for me to expand my horizons and strive to achieve more, not only in my career, but in education as well.

Interested in learning more about opportunities at Stripe?


Stripes around the globe are working together to increase…

Life at Stripe

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Life at Stripe

Stripes around the globe are working together to increase the GDP of the internet.