“Able at Uber represents me and makes me feel seen and heard inside Uber,” shares Raquel Banha, a customer specialist based in our Lisbon Center of Excellence (COE). People who work at Uber come from many different backgrounds and our Employee Resource Groups, including Able at Uber, are set up and run by employees themselves to enrich internal and external communities and spearhead global change at Uber. “My manager and Able at Uber have created a safe space for me to be myself and not be afraid of asking for help when I need it. Even though my COE is large, we have a sense of community that’s very important for me, and Uber has also made efforts to accommodate my functions to my needs.”
Tell us about life at Uber in Lisbon.
“I’m a Specialist at our Lisbon Center of Excellence (COE). I really enjoy that our COE has a very informal environment, but that everyone always maintains a high level of productivity and professionalism. I truly believe that this mixed setting of a relaxed work environment with a high-performance mindset is the secret to our success and well-being.”
Tell us a bit about your journey to Uber.
“I joined Uber at a very delicate moment of my life. Before Uber, I was burnt out which prevented me from working for an entire year. When I joined the company, I was still mentally recovering (which probably I still am).
My background, academically and professionally, is entirely in Marketing and Communications, but as soon as this opportunity presented itself, somehow I knew I should try my luck considering how beloved the Uber brand is. I joined earlier in January as a COE Specialist I, a completely different field from my previous experience and knowledge. It has been a pleasant surprise for me to learn that I am capable of pursuing another type of job outside of what I was used to.”
What do you find most rewarding and challenging about your current work?
“Working in customer service means working closely with clients. I can see my direct impact on our platform users’ lives every single day. From helping a rider retrieve their mobile phone before they catch their flight home, to making sure an earner has everything set up correctly to start working with us. It’s an enormous responsibility, but it’s very rewarding to know that I can positively impact people every day.”
How has Uber supported you in your career?
“Luckily, I ended up on an extraordinary team led by an amazing manager. I truly feel at home working with my colleagues, and I have the best team leader I could ask for. My manager has always made sure I could talk to him openly and honestly. He and Uber have created a safe space for me to be myself and not be afraid of asking for help whenever I need it. Even though my COE is large, we have a sense of community that’s very important for me.
Uber has also made efforts to accommodate my functions to my needs. For example, to accommodate my speech impairment, I’m on a team that provides in-app customer support rather than managing phone calls, and I have a fixed schedule instead of working rotating shifts.”
How and why did you first get involved in your company’s Able at Uber ERG?
“I’ve always loved communities and being part of cultural-social groups. During my onboarding, all of our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) were presented to us, and I knew right away that I had to get involved. Able at Uber, a group dedicated to (dis)abilities, stood out to me, and I immediately searched for more information on how to join and get involved.”
How is Uber’s Able at Uber ERG reflective of Uber’s overall culture?
“Uber has made great progress to become a leading inclusive and equitable company. ERGs are a part of how Uber is celebrating and empowering working at the company for people with every talent and background. Each ERG represents a distinctive group of employees, based on belief, culture, ability, background, and other key characteristics that contribute to how we define ourselves. Able at Uber reflects this by creating a micro-community for all of those living with and supporting people with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. Able at Uber represents me and makes me feel seen and heard inside the company, making Uber an organization that cares about their employees and is working to become even more inclusive and diverse.”
What has Able at Uber accomplished that you’re most proud of?
“Able at Uber, as an ERG, is currently in a development phase and is in the process of identifying key milestones and a roadmap encompassing short and long-term goals. One of the cornerstones of this approach is to create and nurture a sense of community and shared identity. Able at Uber is a strong representation of our cultural value, ‘Great minds don’t think alike’, and our commitments for the coming months are to celebrate our differences, see our (dis)abilities, and promote the contributions of our community and the importance of equity in the approach of Uber as a business to our people, our culture, and external community.
One of the most important aspects of Able at Uber is the recognition that we as an ERG and a company have moved the needle on accessibility and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (“DEI”), but we have so much more we can do and are committed to doing.”
In your own words, why is accessibility important?
“Accessibility is not just important, it’s a global need because everybody needs accessible features to live. People tend to just think about ramps and step-free buildings when it comes to accessibility. If we consider the true meaning behind this concept, we will see that this applies to all of us. Stairs are, in fact, a form of accessibility. Stairs were invented so that we could access higher levels. Highways exist so that we can reach places faster… Cars, trains, and boats too.
The real issue, I must say, is that these accessibilities were not made for everyone. We should consider universal design in the solutions we think about, whether they’re physical or intellectual. Universal design ensures that every human characteristic is considered. Although it is a challenging task, it’s a work in progress that every organization, project, and person should consider if they truly want to be accessible and inclusive.”
Tell us about your participation in Mentoring at Uber.
“We have a platform available to all employees called ‘Mentoring@Uber’. Mentoring@Uber is about creating avenues where employees can connect, and provide opportunities for hands-on professional development. It is a way of connecting and sharing challenges based on a positive, proactive, and reliable relationship while benefiting from another perspective from an unbiased source. It’s also an opportunity to learn from the experiences of others or collaborate together to come up with a solution to professional challenges that may arise.
Through Mentoring@Uber, you are afforded the opportunity to connect with a leader in the organization based on shared interests and development pathways. This provides all employees with opportunities to connect with someone who can provide advice and perspectives that may not be available day-to-day. They can be an excellent source of support and professional guidance.”
Interested in joining us? Explore life on the Community Operations team →