marie claire Australia: What is your current role and how would you describe a typical day?
Bec Nyst: I am responsible for the day to day operations for Uber Eats in Australia and New Zealand.
I have the opportunity to lead a diverse group of leaders across wide-ranging functions from commercial partnerships, to strategy, to marketplace operations, to customer service and many more. My job is really to help these leaders and their teams be successful so my typical day is very interactive with lots of different people. I might spend time meeting with leadership teams, having coffee chats with delivery people or restaurant partners, interviewing up-and-coming prospective talent for Uber or presenting in team meetings.
While I spend most of my day talking to people, I am a mega introvert and a huge believer in “Making Time” - and so I try to carve out some meaningful time each day to dedicate to just sitting down and thinking, focussing on the critical few things that matter most.
After work, I spend time with my young family. In the evening we will read lots of books and occasionally enjoy the odd bit of Bluey. When the kids are asleep I’ll sometimes do late night meetings with colleagues around the world, and try to take the dog to the park if I can. I have been known to sneak in a late night dessert delivery from Messina while closing out the day with a dose of ABC News.
MC: How did you get here?
BN: Before Uber I had a six year stint in the US. I studied general management at Harvard Business School in Boston and then spent a few years working at Google’s Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View where I did all the Googley stuff you might imagine (wore a Noogler Hat; brought my dog to work; travelled on the Google bus; tried out the Nap Pod, masseuse etc).
It was a fantastic few years, but when the opportunity came up at Uber Eats in Australia, I was excited to join a global tech firm that was truly shaping all the cities I had lived in around the world and I could be part of that story at home.
At the time Uber Eats in Australia was like a start-up within Uber. It was a much smaller business than today but had huge momentum with both consumers and restaurant partners. I spent the last few years as our Director of Restaurants and a few months ago stepped into the General Manager role for Australia and New Zealand.
MC: What was your first ever job?
BN: While at uni, I worked the till at an on campus restaurant Saigon Noodle where I would input people's complex selections very quickly. I was also a waitress at Cafe Trevi on Lygon St at the same time and like many students I also had a stint as a bartender - pouring beers at Naughton's Hotel in Parkville. I still routinely draw on the problem solving and customer service skills I learned from working in hospitality.
MC: And what was your worst ever job?
BN: When I was at law school I had a brief summer holiday job as a legal intern at a corporate law firm. I was guided to a small office room stacked with storage boxes full of all sorts of random fluttery papers - letters, files, invoices, handwritten notes. It was explained to me that my job was to carefully arrange all these thousands of various papers into chronological order. It was surprisingly challenging. I eventually opted not to practice law but I am not sure how closely this incident factored into that - maybe subconsciously.
MC: What’s your career advice to other women?
BN: The biggest piece of career advice I give is above all, pick your manager. When making career choices, rather than optimizing for a big role scope, important title, or glamourous industry, focus on choosing the best manager you can as I think in many cases, your exposure to great managers will be the thing that makes the difference in your career. Having a manager who sees your strengths, who is a great coach, whose perspective you trust, and who is committed to your success is such a crucial factor in success, learning and happiness at work. So when you have options, choose the one with the best manager, particularly early in your career.
My advice for women in particular would be - be proactive about asking for what you want and demanding what you deserve. The more explicit you are about what your goals are, the better equipped your manager and the people around will be to help you succeed. This applies to big things like promotions and compensation, but is equally relevant in day-to-day conversations about attractive stretch assignments and exposure opportunities. Saying things like “ I want to take the lead in presenting in that important meeting, I’d really value that exposure” will pay off.
Having managed many brilliant women and many brilliant men, my observation is that men are often more direct in asking for what they want and do this more frequently. What I’ve seen over time is that those who directly communicate their expectations tend to fare better when it comes to promotions, opportunities and compensation than those who have left it to their managers to infer.
If you’re debating in your mind whether to broach that tricky convo with your manager - my advice is, do it today!
MC: How do you deal with your inbox?
BN: I have the highest admiration and respect for all the “Inbox Zero” people out there, but personally I’ve embraced inbox freedom long ago.
MC: And how do you deal with burnout?
BN: My burnout medicine is taking awesome holidays to recharge and spend time together as a family. I love ripper resorts with lots of fun activities for the kids (world class kids clubs are a must).
MC: What have you bought that’s made the biggest difference to your productivity?
BN: I have a Masterclass subscription. I’ve been listening to Hillary Clinton on resilience, Bob Iger on business strategy and many others. It’s a great way to be inspired, motivated and challenged when I need it and to get new ideas from amazing people.
MC: Describe your power outfit.
BN: The other day I went to an industry event at Parliament House for executives from different firms and from politics. I was stunned - and frankly appalled - to find myself amid a largely unpunctuated sea of white men in their sixties. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised - noting that amazingly only 10 CEOs of the ASX 200 are women.
I’m consciously zooming in and focusing on pivoting the conversations around wardrobe and accessories to the more pressing question of whether, with so few women, we truly have our best and brightest minds in the seats and rooms that matter and how we can change that.
In the spirit of the question and with the above in mind I’d say that results are my power outfit - that’s what gives me confidence.
MC: WFH or office?
BN: Office - the ability to collaborate and engage with colleagues face to face is priceless. While I am an introvert I still find the energy and collaboration you unlock when you’re in a room with peers is something you can mimic virtually.
MC: BYO lunch or takeout?
BN: Takeaway - or pickup if the restaurant offers that feature.
MC: What’s on your desk right now?
BN: White A4 paper, a biro, a laptop, a very large phone (“brick” apparently).
MC: Email sign off?
BN: Cheers, Bec.
More from Working On It:
- How Are Media's CEO gets her job done
- How the founder of cult jewellery brand By Charlotte gets her job done
- How the leader of Cartier's Women's Initiative gets her job done