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Why joining Women at Uber was the best career decision I’ve ever made

March 9 / Global

Uber’s employee resource groups lead monumental efforts to enrich our communities and spearhead global change. For Rema Rao, an Amsterdam based Senior Strategy & Planning Manager on our Core Services team, that change starts within. [Women at Uber] “helped me uncondition myself from all the corporate and societal moulding in the past and become the best version of myself,” she shares. “Working with a community of women in EMEA and the global board day in and out keeps me in check on bringing my authentic and unapologetic self to work as a woman and person of colour.” 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

“I currently oversee the business strategy of Uber’s payment operations in EMEA and lead compliance for Uber’s APAC payment operations on an interim basis. Concurrently, I’m also a Global Board Member and Chair of Women at Uber (EMEA), an Employee Resource Group within Uber to empower women with experiences that further their advancement and development into strong advocates and leaders at Uber and beyond. 

Prior to Uber, I spent 7 years in the compliance sphere in several countries around the world, including Chile, UK, Singapore and Malaysia, specialising in forensic and financial crime advisory, intelligence and audits, and due diligence investigations. 

Based out of Amsterdam with Uber for the last 3 years, I live in Amsterdam West with my partner and two cats.” 

Tell us about Women at Uber and the ERG chapter in EMEA.

“One of the 12 ERGs at Uber, Women at Uber has a broad network across the organization and four distinct communities across US&C, LATAM, APAC and EMEA. I lead the EMEA chapter which has a central and regional team of ~40 members. The central team mobilises the EMEA strategy while the regional team applies local nuances to their local chapters on top of the EMEA strategy. Our three big rocks amongst a sea of initiatives this year includes our flagship Male Allyship Programme, Female Development Programme with Coachub, and #GigSister. 

Our third year running, the Male Allyship programme tackles the understanding of the psychological concepts and conditioning that contributes to the biases that trigger gender discrimination in the workplace whilst empowers our peers to identify, actively call-out and in turn, reduce biases which affect allyship growth. The programme consists of a kick-off event, two workshops in partnership with MindEquity, a closing panel, an e-learning pathway and an active allyship forum on Slack. Every year, we have our SVP of Delivery at Uber joining us to open a workshop and share his journey as an ally. Notably, we had the chance to host Natalie Jaresko, former Ukrainian Finance Minister, for a Fireside Chat as our kick-off event in 2021 and listening to her challenges serving as the first female Finance Minister and challenges with male allies was truly inspiring. We published our first ever programme report in 2021 and it has since been used in leadership discussions across EMEA to promote awareness on the need to actively call-out biases. Last year, the programme was successfully scaled to our APAC WaU chapter. 

Career coaching through our partnership with Coachhub was curated based on the need to have a coaching programme that was accessible to all. From a business lens, we were aiming to advance women from junior to middle management and/or significantly improve their performance at work. We kicked off a 6-month pilot in June 2022 to offer women to women coaching for a pilot group in two of our European regions. The pilot has received positive reviews with a few coachees on track for year end promos and noteworthy feedback on the need for coaching across all levels in the organisation. We are on track to scale this across EMEA in 2023 to ensure we empower more women to be the best version of themselves.

Over the years, our Mobility business has also invested in initiatives to empower and improve the women driver experience on the platform. Women at Uber had been pivotal to the efforts in EMEA through running initiatives through women driver community events to foster engagement over the last two years. Women at Uber EMEA owns the community pillar of our region’s efforts, and has introduced a self-sustainable concept called #GigSister to connect, grow and empower a community of Women drivers on the Uber platform through an array of initiatives throughout the year which includes referral events, a WhatsApp community forum per market and a designated marketing campaign featuring senior leaders interviewing women drivers. Our referral events have multiple tracks ranging from empowerment sessions by #IAmRemarkable, mental health awareness roundtables and 5D Stand Up trainings with our partner, L’Oréal. We launched in London and Paris in January with the former opened by our Regional General Manager and VP of Mobility for EMEA, Anabel Diaz. Further expansion events are planned for the entire March across Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East and many more globally throughout the year.”

How does your work as an ERG leader help you drive your career as a Strategy & Planning Lead on our Payments team?

“Personally, working with a community of women in EMEA and the global board day in and out keeps me in check on bringing my authentic and unapologetic self to work as a woman and person of colour – my team is empowered by this. Being able to learn from women leaders from various levels across our organisation within our network on growing as a leader to effective strategy mobilisation; the learnings are endless. As an ERG leader, building relationships within the organisation is key to unlocking better internal partnerships and unblocking challenges for the ERG chapter. These relationships built across a vast network have certainly accelerated communications and expectations during the EMEA Payments planning cycles bi-annually. Furthermore, being able to understand the workings on the business on a global scale has certainly influenced the way my team and myself run the Uber Gifting programme from an EMEA lens through more inclusive holiday marketing for our diverse markets.” 

How does Women at Uber help make Uber a great place to work for everyone? 

“As the biggest ERG at Uber, we are a catalyst for a thriving Uber culture. We promote the advancement of Women at Uber through our network, provide access to the leadership network and professional development initiatives to help women become the best versions of themselves. And we’re open to everyone at Uber! 

Joining the community in 2019 was the best decision I’ve ever made professionally and personally. It helped me uncondition myself from all the corporate and societal moulding in the past and become the best version of myself. I would encourage anyone, even those on the fence to join in and experience the magic of ERGs!” 

Learn more about Women at Uber and all of Uber’s Employee Resource Groups →