Exciting and Challenging: The 3 Ps of My Work as a Senior Engineering Manager in a Great Culture

Sponsored by CarGurus

Wei “Debbie” Croteau. Photo courtesy of CarGurus.

Wei “Debbie” Croteau. Photo courtesy of CarGurus.

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What excites Wei “Debbie” Croteau, a Senior Engineering Manager, about her work at CarGurus? “We are building an online transaction platform that’s fundamentally changing the way people buy and sell their vehicles,” she shares. “The vision is exciting, and it’s even more exciting knowing the work my team and I do directly helps people feel more confident about, and in control of their car-shopping journey!”

As a key part of this important work, Croteau describes her role as “super interesting as well as challenging,” with responsibilities that you can divide into three buckets:

  1. Product. “As a team focused on building consumer-facing software products, we are constantly experimenting and iterating,” she shares. “I spend a lot of time working with other engineers and our stakeholders to help guide the design and implementation effort, and to ensure we are building software that serves the needs of external and internal users.”

  2. Process. “Similar to a lot of software teams within CarGurus and elsewhere, my team does Scrum and we have two-week sprints,” explains Croteau. “I facilitate Scrum ceremonies and work with our product manager to refine our backlog. I also keep iterating on our process based on retro feedback. Having a good process enables us to build quality software repeatedly.”

  3. People. “I am responsible for guiding a team to work well together and achieve results, as well as for team members’ career development and growth,” Croteau notes. “I love this aspect about my job and invest a lot of effort in it. Nothing is more rewarding to me than seeing team members feeling safe and happy, finding value in their work, and wanting to grow with the company.”

To learn more about Croteau’s experience as a woman in tech — and how CarGurus helps her innovate and excel — read on…

My experience as a woman in tech.

Reflecting on her experience as an immigrant woman in tech, Croteau tells us that she had “always played the role of being the quiet and hard-working team member in a usually male-dominated team,” which resulted in her feeling like an outsider and imposter. 

However, after joining CarGurus, her experience drastically changed. “When I first joined, I was shocked at how much weight people put on my ideas and opinions since I was not used to it,” explains Croteau. “This company truly values diversity and inclusion, and people treat one another with respect and empathy. CarGurus’ culture and values really resonate with me; it’s truly the right place for me to grow and thrive in.”

At CarGurus, “my unique identity, cultural background, and experiences are respected and celebrated,” Croteau elaborates. “I don’t have to feel like I am someone from outside trying to fit in. Everyone is welcomed here with open arms, and people are genuinely curious and excited about our differences. The culture is so inclusive and supportive.” This means that Croteau can be comfortable speaking up and taking on more responsibility at the company. And that’s only one of many reasons why she loves CarGurus.

Why I love working at CarGurus.

From the very beginning, Croteau says that what attracted her to the company was the people — “they are the reason why I was immediately drawn to this company when I interviewed here, and the reason why I am still excited about my job more than five years in,” she states. “The people I work with day-to-day are so good at what they do, yet everyone is also so humble, helpful, and altruistic. It’s truly a treat to get to work with such a group of smart and kind individuals, solving big problems together and building friendships along the way.”

From day one, she tells us that she felt the kindness and inclusiveness of everyone at the company. “They really made me feel at home,” reminisces Croteau.

And, since joining, Croteau has just felt increasingly empowered at CarGurus. For instance, she learned that the company empowers their employees to make mistakes. “Don’t be afraid of breaking things,” she advises. “At CarGurus, we want everyone to show initiative and take calculated risks, rather than playing it safe and waiting to be told what to do.”

Additionally, at CarGurus, “my work-life-balance is respected and protected,” notes Croteau. “CarGurus has generous paid leave benefits, a flexible hybrid work model, and a set of communication norms that encourage healthy boundaries and work-life balance. This is so important for me as a woman in tech juggling work and family life.”

Croteau also highlights how much she appreciates CarGurus’ core value of transparency. “There is a great amount of openness and trust from everyone, and information flows very freely,” she tells us. “I think the leadership team really goes out of their way to try to encourage and model transparency. They proactively share news and updates with the employees as openly and as soon as possible, and we can ask questions and voice opinions freely through surveys, town hall meetings, and other channels. In my opinion, transparency is the foundation and manifestation of trust and psychological safety.”

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