‘I Love My Job’: How My Company Is ‘Really Making a Difference in the World’ for the Next Generation

Sponsored by General Motors

Sandy Fedor

Image courtesy of General Motors.

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Fairygodboss
April 15, 2024 at 8:26PM UTC

Welcome to I Love My Job, the series where we hear from real women who really love their jobs. In this edition, we sat down with Sandy Fedor, Director of Product Management & Delivery at BrightDrop, a new business from General Motors (GM) that came out of GM’s Global Innovation team.

Fedor’s journey to her current position was an unusual one, and certainly not planned. But, Fedor emphasizes the importance of knowing that doors will open for you. “Look through the doorway,” says Fedor, “you’ll never know if [the opportunity will] end up being something that you’re really passionate about.”

In her case, Fedor wanted to find a job that enabled her to make a difference in the world, making it a better place for her two children, while also enabling her to bring her expertise to the table. And, she found the perfect company that aligned with these goals — BrightDrop, a business whose mission is to help decarbonize the last mile through smarter, safer and more efficient ways of delivering goods and services. BrightDrop “is a really exciting space to be in at a very early stage as we think about how to electrify and really decarbonize that last mile,” shares Fedor. “We're doing a great job at really making a difference in the world.”

In the video below, Fedor shares more on why she loves working at BrightDrop. We also provide lightly edited highlights from this video discussion in the following article.

 

Tell us about your work and career journey.

I actually didn’t start in product management; I started my career in finance on Wall Street But, I knew very quickly that finance wasn't for me, so I pivoted and came out to the Bay Area to work for retail.

From there, I knew I had a passion for retail and wanted to follow this path… I started to explore how I could be at the intersection of retail technology. E-commerce became an obvious play, and so I went to Business School at Dartmouth. [After gaining experience in start-ups, including one that I started myself, I joined a major, established corporation as the product manager of an online grocery team. Eventually,] I ended up in a new team called last-mile delivery that focused on how to create this product of last-mile delivery. 

From there, it was a natural stepping stone to come to BrightDrop, where there is an incredible opportunity to build something completely from scratch and solve what is now a really new problem around all these retailers...

[With so many more vehicles on the road and an accelerated amount of deliveries happening, we are exploring] how to solve this problem with technology, new vehicles and new software to make a more efficient network that can sustain for everyone involved.

How would you describe the culture at BrightDrop?

I would describe the culture of BrightDrop as being a place that really values moving fast, delivery, customer-centric results and doing all of that in a very respectful manner. I think that respectful manner piece really ties back to our GM roots.

What I found really refreshing about joining this company is that people care that you're a person… Human beings have their own needs and their own prioritization; they have different things going on, and everyone's different. So, if you need something, it's okay to raise your hand and say: ‘I need a day off because I've been grinding for two weeks straight and I just need some space away from all of this.’ or ‘My kid's piano recital is at 2:00 on a Friday, so I need to dip out early to go support my child.’ No one bats an eye at that, and I think that's something that's really important.

My philosophy as a manager is that if you respect your employees and you treat them well, they will do well, and, ultimately, you're setting them up for success, which means you're setting up the company for success. That's true of our entire leadership team and true for all of BrightDrop.

What is your favorite thing about BrightDrop?

My favorite thing about BrightDrop is everyone's passion for the mission. The mission is to [help] decarbonize the last mile through smarter, safer and more efficient ways of delivering goods and services.

To me, it's crystal clear in every single interaction that I've had with anyone at this company that we all share that same passion. Also, the types of personalities that are naturally drawn to work here are great. There’s some kind of magnetism where all of us found each other… While we all come from different backgrounds, and we all have different experiences, our commonalities are there, and they make it really fun to be together

How does BrightDrop support employees?

BrightDrop supports us by having a very open and honest culture and by living the values of respecting each other and giving each other the space to do what you need to do to achieve your best work.

What advice would you give to other women who are thinking about working at General Motors and BrightDrop?

Be yourself — which is an easier-said-than-done kind of statement. But I do think that authenticity is really important… You should bring yourself to the table… If that means that you have a specific interest, or you have a specific way of working, being forthright and sharing it with the folks around you so that they can understand how to incorporate you into the company is really important.

Being authentically you also empowers you to speak your mind. In particular, for women, we have a natural empathy toward the customer, and I think something that's really been missing in supply chain and fulfillment. For so long, this has been a male-dominated industry… and this industry in particular needs the end customer to be happy…

So, we have a unique role to play here, where, if you are empowered to speak your mind and call out when things don't seem right, you will surface, on behalf of BrightDrop, all the things that aren't working and the things that we need to fix in order to help our customers deliver the right experience for the end customers.

To me, it all ties together into something that ultimately adds value, not just to you as an individual on the team, but also for the overall company.



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