Exploring the ‘Unstoppable Team Dynamic’ of This All-Female Marketplace Team

Sponsored by Squarespace

Stacey Watro, Erin Petree and Lan Lam

Photos courtesy of Squarespace.

July 18, 2024 at 6:11PM UTC

Squarespace Marketplace exists to match customers with design experts who help them bring their visions to fruition. The Marketplace team is powered by women who help other women achieve their own personal career goals, too.

“I get energy from writing code,” says Stacey Watro, who is the team lead for the Marketplace Engineering team at Squarespace, which is made up of three engineers. “Coding is full of small wins — I’m a big fan of small wins. Even when I feel like everything has gone wrong, I can write a test and make it pass. That green check mark puts a smile on my face. That’s what I love about my job. I can find a small way to add value everyday.”

We reached out to Watro and two other women who work on the team to learn more about why they love their jobs. Here’s what they had to say.

Stacey Watro: Team Lead for the Marketplace Engineering Team

How would you describe your team and those you work with? 

The Marketplace team formed during the pandemic. We have never been all together in person, and many of us have never met in person. Despite that, we are an amazingly collaborative and supportive team. We are constantly talking through problems and sharing ideas. 

We also have a diverse set of skills and experiences, which is comforting and helpful. I don’t need to be an expert on everything, and I know that my teammates will have different ideas and perspectives on problems. This helps my team see problems from different angles and come up with better solutions. 

Lastly, we are great at pivoting when something fails. It’s heartbreaking when you work hard on a solution and it doesn’t work the way you want. But, as a team, we acknowledge the effort, roll back our solution and try again. All adults on the Marketplace! 

What’s something you’re proud of? 

Our team is not afraid to try something new. We don’t wait for other teams to pilot approaches and take the initiative to do it ourselves. This doesn’t always work. Sometimes things break and sometimes it takes us longer than if we just did it the established way. But, sometimes, we make things better. Not just for us, but for the company at large. That’s something that makes me proud. 

How have you used your role to help bring up other women behind you? 

This is the first time that I’ve been an engineering lead for an all-female team. I find the role has more weight now. I know how much it has meant to me when female leaders have spotlighted or encouraged me, so I’m trying to do that for my team, too. 

I’m pushing myself to ask leadership harder questions such as: “How do you, as a director, ensure women are getting promoted in your organization?” I talk about money more because women should talk about money more. And I’m trying to find spaces for my team to shine in different areas of Squarespace. 

I’m not sure that I have succeeded in bringing others up; however, I know that when I’m doing my job, I think about their success and what they need from me to be successful. I think that’s a good first step. 

What is the most memorable piece of career advice you've received?

As a consultant, I was taught to be honest when I didn’t know something and to lean on my experience learning. When clients asked if I was familiar with a tool or a language, I would normally say, “No, but I used a similar tool at my last client, so I’ll learn this one now.” 

As a product developer, I try to maintain that learning mentality. My job is not about knowing how to do something — It’s about learning. This helps when imposter syndrome flares. I try to remind myself that it’s not what I know right now that matters, it’s how I’m going to learn what I need to know. 

What’s the no. 1 thing you think women should know about working at Squarespace?

While no company is perfect, Squarespace is actively putting in an effort to make our community a positive place for women to thrive. 

Erin Petree: Senior Team Lead

Tell us a bit about your job. What’s your current role and how long have you been in this role?

I head up Squarespace Marketplace, which gives folks a way to find and hire help for their website or Squarespace product. As Senior Team Lead, I run Marketplace as a General Manager. I set both business and product strategy for the Marketplace machine and work with my team to align their work toward our objectives.

A lot of my time is spent meeting with each workstream group, analyzing data for regular reporting, evangelizing Marketplace across the organization and collaborating with our backend partners at 99designs. I’ve been working with Squarespace’s professional community (Squarespace Circle) for 5.5 years, the last 2.5 of which have been on Marketplace.

What about your job excites you?

Is “everything” an answer? We’re something of a startup within a larger organization, so I love the energy, creativity and agility that pumps into our work. We’re serving a new type of Squarespace customer, so most of the challenges we face are unique to us. That freedom from precedence gives us permission to really hop outside the box to create.

I’m also privileged to work with dozens of people on a regular basis, so I get daily doses of inspiration and energy from all sides!

How would you describe your team and those you work with?

Passionate. Creative. Inquisitive. Communicative. Respectful. Talented. 

We’re a bit unique because our core and extended team of nine happen to be all women — Repping everything from engineering and design to operations and marketing. It was completely random, but it’s created an unstoppable team dynamic that enables us to ideate, create and iterate without fear or judgement.

What’s something you’re proud of?

Apart from the program itself, I’m proud of the working environment we’ve created for our team because it’s enabled us to do a lot with relatively limited resources. For instance, we don’t cut corners when it comes to communication. We’re feedback-oriented and collaborative because we know everyone has value to add. We’re super connected to our customers, so their experience keeps our work in perspective.

How have you used your role to help bring up other women behind you? 

As a manager, it’s my job to make sure my team is doing the work they want to be doing. Regular professional development conversations keep me attuned to how my team’s work intersects with their personal and professional goals. This persistence recently helped me reposition one of my team members into a new role where they’ll feel more fulfilled — a win-win!

What’s the no. 1 thing you think women should know about working at Squarespace?

Having been at the company for nearly six years, I can attest to the positive change I’ve seen for DEI here. There are concerted efforts to do the right thing by all employees, and ensuring women have equitable support and access to opportunities is a huge part of that. 

Lan Lam: Product Design Manager

Tell us a bit about your job. What’s your current role and how long have you been in this role?

I have recently become a Product Design Manager for our Engagement teams and have been at Squarespace for a year and a half. As a Design Manager, I’m responsible for communicating and collaborating with our cross-functional teams as we work toward our shared mission together. My role exists to also be a coach for the designers I work with as they’re going through their design process and navigating their individual career growth.

What about your job excites you?

The ability to directly see how the work we do impacts our users is very exciting: from taking part in research interviews and speaking directly with users to seeing our community of passionate makers and entrepreneurs publish their sites and grow their audience and business. It’s really rewarding and motivates me to want to keep making a better product and experience for our customers.

How would you describe your team and those you work with?

I’ve been so lucky to have had the opportunity to work alongside some of the most caring, talented and dedicated individuals in my career here. One of the teams I support is the Squarespace Marketplace team, and I can never say enough good things about my experience with each of the members on that team.

The working team is so skilled in their organization and communication, and each individual has their own skill set that they’re the subject matter expert in. There is endless sharing of knowledge and genuine support for each other every day.

What’s something you’re proud of?

I’m really proud of how the Squarespace Marketplace team gets together to brainstorm solutions to problems our users are having. Our conversation is fully focused on our Marketplace Experts and Squarespace customers — they always come first. You can really tell this team cares about the experiences our users have and we are driven to continually improve it.

How have you used your role to help bring up other women behind you? 

My previous role as a design lead involved coaching and mentoring those on our teams. Some are just out of school, and I enjoy sharing my experiences with other young women to talk with them and consider as they’re navigating their own journey. I encourage them to speak up and ask questions when they have them, to not doubt their instincts and opinions, and to truly feel ownership over their work. I also learn from new designers as I coach and mentor them. Learning about their different working styles, range of interests and passions keeps me inspired.

Now, as a design manager, I feel able to more directly impact other women who are just starting out in their career by helping our recruiting partners build and grow our teams at Squarespace. It’s really an honor to be part of advocating and welcoming new team members into our company.

What is the most memorable piece of career advice you've received?

Do not compare yourself to others. It seems very obvious, but I think about it a lot in the way I approach design, lead as a people person and speak to my team and peers around me. 

Individuals on teams should not be the same, and everyone has a different way of working with different motivations and drivers. Don’t expect to go down the same path and make the same decisions that others beside you have because different experiences and paths are what makes working in a team so special.


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