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How I found my way home at Uber Design

May 2, 2022 / Global

In 2013, fresh out of college at UC Santa Barbara, Alissa Kim moved to San Francisco in search of a job and landed a cold calling position at a ticketing company. She was always unsure of what direction she wanted to take her career, and it wasn’t until she decided to transition out of sales that she found her home within Design at Uber. Today, she’s the Design Program Manager for Uber Freight—1 of 1 on the team—and works on some of our most ambitious projects and initiatives.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

“If I were to answer this question 2 years ago, I would tell you that I enjoy traveling, concerts, hiking, pottery, or checking out a new hip restaurant. But the reality is that going through a pandemic and becoming a mom have drastically changed my life. I swapped concerts for Cocomelon and restaurants for petting zoos. Spending time with family has become so much more valuable and creating memories for my son has become my number one priority.”

What does balance mean to you, and in what ways do you feel like you’ve achieved it?

“Being able to spend time with my family every morning and evening allows me to show up for my team every week focused and with a positive attitude. As a working mom, balance is even more important to me and I’m so grateful that I’m on a team that has always been supportive. During the pandemic, there have been times when my childcare provider is sick or unavailable, but to know I can still take the time to ensure my son receives the care he needs is invaluable.”

You’ve been at Uber for nearly 4 years. How has your role evolved?

“I joined Uber as the Executive Assistant for our Head of Design. After less than a year, a Design Program Manager role opened up. Design Operations always felt like a natural progression from my role, so I did not hesitate in expressing my interest in joining the team. With the support of my manager and future team members, I made the transition to Design Program Manager. I spent the next 3 years supporting our Rider Design team before eventually making the transition over to Uber Freight. Although I’ve only been on the Uber Freight Design team for less than a year, it’s already been such a positive experience and I’m looking forward to seeing how the team develops and grows.” 

What are you focused on today?

“I am the only Design Program Manager on Freight, so I’ve been forced to zoom out, focusing on high-level strategic initiatives. Some of my areas of focus right now are preparing our team for planning, improving visibility and engagement with our cross-functional partners, and on a personal development note, improving my leadership skills.” 

Sounds like an interesting role. What’s been one of your proudest moments?

“From a career development perspective, making my transition to the Design Operations team has been so rewarding. Our team is full of incredibly hard-working, passionate, and thoughtful people that I’ve been lucky enough to learn from.

On a more tactical note, I recently collaborated with members of our Freight Product Operations and Engineering team to develop a product tracker that’s a consolidated view of all the Design and Engineering work for the half. This has always been something I’ve wanted to accomplish since working at Uber and it was great to see it finally come together.” 

What are the most interesting challenges you need to solve in your current role?

“There is a delicate balance between process and people. It’s easy to think that everything can be solved by implementing a new process, but what makes a Design Program Manager successful, in my opinion, is their ability to adapt and create solutions that make sense for the team they are working with.”

Why is now a great time to join Uber’s Design team?

“There are so many unique challenges our team is trying to solve and you have the opportunity to have a direct influence on the product. I have seen this team through many phases, but I feel the best is yet to come.” 

Interested in joining us? Explore open roles on our Design team →