Guest

75

“Having a set of values is number one. It really sets up and defines your culture, and what you care about as a company. And when used well, values can really lead and ground your company as you scale and make sure that you're growing in a way that reflects the company that you want.”

In this episode

In episode #75, Renee Solorzano shares how to onboard and coach your team to their full potential.

Renee is the Director of Product Design at Faire and has previously worked at Airbnb, General Assembly, and Squarespace.

In this episode, Renee shares how she balanced friendship and management when building relationships with her team as a new manager. 

We also talk about coaching direct reports to deliver optimal results and how to guide your team into asking themselves the right questions to problem solve. 

Tune in to learn how a fast-growing company like Faire approaches onboarding and how you can implement those processes for a welcoming experience for new hires. 


Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.


04:20

The influence of your boss

09:40

Am I ready for management?

13:27

Moving from peer to manager

16:31

Manager or motivator?

19:00

Quarterly career goals

24:40

Renee’s onboarding process

39:06

Design citizenship


Resources


Transcript

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  02:00

Renee, welcome to the show.

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  02:48

Thanks so much for having me.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  02:50

Yeah, I’m super excited to have this chat with you. I know we have a mutual friend, previous guest, David Hoang introduced us originally, were a big fan of his but apparently, he is a big fan of you! So I’m very excited to chat with you. You’ve worked at all sorts of companies, Airbnb, General Assembly, Squarespace, and today, you’re Director of Product Design at Fair, which we’re going to talk a lot about, I wanted to kick things off by asking you amongst all the places that you’ve worked at, or people you’ve interacted with, has there been a leader that’s stood out to you? During this time?

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  03:28

Yeah, I mean, I will say that every boss that I’ve had, has been very memorable. But I will say that I had to choose one. I will choose Carrie Campbell. She was my boss at Airbnb. And when she joined the company, she joined Etsy. And I think like when she joined, you felt it, everybody did she, it was impossible to miss her. She, you know, it was one of those people is all over slack. We had a recurring meeting with all design managers, which was a pretty decent-sized group. And she was always asking questions, always questioning why we were doing the things that we were always pushing us. And to be honest, I was super intimidated by it was like, Who is this lady? They the way that we approached leadership and influences is just different I think she, it took takes me some time to get to that level. And she was there the first day that she walked in. She was not my boss at the time. But I could already feel the influence that she had in the organization. So when I found out she was being promoted to director of the guest, which was the team that I was on, I will admit, I was worried. I was like, well, our personalities clash, how will we work together? But long story short, she was one of the best, most inspirational leaders that I’ve had the chance to work with. And I think it’s all rooted in she holds to her values and stands up for what she believes in. And that incredible competence I mentioned earlier it’s, she doesn’t wait for others to validate that. And I think that is something that I have struggled with in the past my career and having somebody show me that I just need to believe myself and go for it, she was an amazing example of that. She also showed me that what fighting for your team looks like, how to go to bat for them, when to step in how to direct decision making, and leading them down a path that everybody can be excited about, and always staying positive about that. And that balance is really hard times. So just kind of seeing how she worked. That was always so impressive in Lastly, she cares just so deeply about empowering, empowering women. She was the first and only lady boss that I’ve had, which is kind of crazy to say, but I guess, sadly night, but she was an advocate for all of us at the company. And I saw the effects that she had on all of the women in our team and our org. And I know how much it meant to show that and to just have such a strong advocate for all of us. It created such a safe space for all of us. And just to see how she affected the culture there. Just so impressive.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  06:19

That’s a very interesting description. Then you couldn’t notice her I think was it was the sentence he used there. And so what is it like? What did she specifically do that you just felt that she would have that kind of an influence? Like it’s it sounded like you were saying that? You knew that she was going to influence in like the first week that she was there? Like, what did she do? Exactly?

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  06:45

So yeah, very tactical things. She joined the design slack group channels and started asking questions like, you know, something, I don’t know how it works in other companies, but you can tell like some Slack channels are more dead than others. Sometimes you have team Slack channels, and you don’t see an activity besides like, is anybody coming to crit today. But Carrie just really just always spoke always talked, always had something to say always had a link to share to inspire somebody just was constantly trying to like, keep the conversation going. Regardless if it was there or not, she was going to build it from scratch if it wasn’t. So I just saw that. And it again, she wasn’t my boss when I when she joined. So that’s how I saw her first. And also in the other meetings that I was in with her. So other design leadership meetings, it was just her presence was fully there. She was always just, you know, responding and asking questions and trying to lead conversations. And so you could just really tell that she was there and ready to make a change and, and help us and push us off. So it was cool to see. That’s awesome.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  07:57

And I have to ask. So in your first one-on-one together, when you did end up reporting to her, did you start by saying hey, we might not get along? Or? Or how did that? How did that work? Like? Because it sounds like you thought that your personalities might clash? How did they not clash,

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  08:14

I did not start a conversation like that. I wanted to, you know, see how she approached management. Because I think being a leader in org is very different when once you start managing people, that relationship to your reports is a different one. So wanted to give her the chance to figure out what that was, and we can work it out together. So I think that they did not clash. I think it we complemented each other, she was able to push me as I mentioned in terms of building my competence and speaking out loud and pushing things where I would have maybe figured out another route of how to get things done. But I think in the end, we care about the same things. We care about authenticity, about being our true selves with our team. We deeply care about our customers and figuring out how to represent them and weave them into how we push work forward. In the end, we have the same ways of like what we want in the end output, but very different paths on how to get there. So I think we just learned from each other, like the different ways that we have approached things in getting things done.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  09:32

And now she’s a person who you mentioned on the podcast, so that’s great. Let’s talk about mistakes. So you started managing people some time ago. I assume during this time that there have been some mistakes. Let’s talk about some of them. 

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  09:46

I first became a manager at a company called Chartbeat, which is a data analytics company that helps editors and writers understand the traffic to their website and making it out But which was such a fun design challenge, and I was hired as a designer. There, we opened a director role. And my boss was like, Do you want it? And I was like, not ready. I was like, No, I’m still figuring out my craft, it’s still in this learn mode. Let’s kind of get somebody in here. And I can learn for a little bit longer. But when we started interviewing people, I just kept having this feeling of, I can answer these questions better than you, I can do this. So I really kind of just dove in the deep end, and said, Hey, let’s try this out. And that’s how I started management. You know, I feel like you never really are ready till you try it and see how it fits. So I think one of the hard things, I think the first thing is, I was a player-coach until I hired my backfill, which I think is incredibly hard to play both sides of that coin in general. So I think, the early lesson there was, I think, I had to hustle to make it work. And to kind of get to the other side. But obviously, you made it through, I think another early lesson that I learned, one of my designers was a friend. And obviously, I appeared before. So I think when you when you change that position, it’s a very hard and complicated relationship to manage. I think management is all about building relationship fear reports, of course. But because he was a friend, I think there was there was tension in terms of how I was felt safe, like giving negative feedback, because, for me, it was like, friendship report, how do you kind of relate those two things together? And I think it was it, I was worried that if I gave negative feedback, it would affect our friendship, but that in the end, like I was stunting his growth. Because of that, which is very selfish, it was more about me than him. And you have to realize that, like, if you avoid the hard stuff, you’re harming, period. And it isn’t your job to be nice. It’s your job to be real. That was a lesson that I had to learn early on. And you have to build that relationship of trust from the get-go with your report. So that open discussion, either way, is always the baseline. And I’m sure Radical Candor, as a book has been mentioned a million times. But it is an incredibly important framework to learn. And the lesson to learn early on, I think in leadership roles for communication.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  12:49

Yeah, no, that’s awesome. So what are some tactical tips that you can give for someone that is now going to be a manager of a peer who happens to be a friend, I think what you said about being real, and if you don’t give them critical feedback, you’re doing them a disservice. I think that’s very apt. Is there a way to start things out in that initial conversation of Hi, I’m your boss. Now, is there something to make that easier? Because I find that it’s, I suspect that if you don’t maybe address it earlier on, it becomes more awkward over time. So I don’t know if you you have some tips for that?

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  13:27

Yeah, I think in looking back because I did not do this at the time, I think like a just a very straightforward, transparent conversation when that switch happened about that would kind of like setting the stage for how we can build a relationship moving forward. So it’s like, hey, like, let’s get this out in the open. Yes, we are friends, but like, this is work. And now our relationship is changing. Like, what does that mean for us and workshopping together, kind of like, the changes that we would want to see what we would want to keep what we would want to change, I think could be a way to approach it. But I think just talking about getting it out, there is the best thing that you can do.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  14:09

Yeah, I think that makes sense. I love that term. The US workshopping it together. I think that is the solution to many, many a problem like this. So let’s talk about coaching a little bit more. So one of the things that you get to do in your role is coach people on your team. What’s one thing that you can do, especially when you’re in an I guess, like design role? And you’re working with someone and say they have a piece of work that you know, that doesn’t reflect their full potential. What do you do in a situation like that?

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  14:46

I think when I spotted I first just dig in to get contact, understand what happened to understand the situation because I think our job is to follow their footsteps, but obviously, we’re not able to do that. for them, that is the point of that relationship. So I think where I start is, what conviction do you have in this decision-making? And how did you get there? Did you explore other options? Did you talk to customers? How did you kind of get there? And through asking questions you figure out what the gaps are. And based on that, I then would direct them to dig deeper about those specific holes. I do this also through asking questions, I think, you know, what happens if the user does this? What happens at this other breakpoint? So it’s empowering your reports to fill in the blanks. And I think the end goal is that they will start asking those questions themselves. Ideally, I want to work myself out of my job. And so a phrase that, you know, past teams have said back to me is what would Rene do? So it’s really like teaching your team, what are the questions and all the things you need to be doing when you are designing and making sure that you’re kind of using that as a rubric moving forward?

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  16:09

That sounds like the first thing that you do is you dig more to understand how it gets there. And I like what you said, which is, eventually they’ll be able to ask those questions of themselves. I think that makes makes a lot of sense. What about motivating teams? What are your thoughts on? Is it your job as a manager to motivate someone? How do you do that? Are there frameworks that you can apply?

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  16:31

So I think two things one, I would say is figuring out what career growth looks like, for your reports, where do they want to go where they want to get to. And then second is understanding what they value as a human as a person and figuring out like, in a matrix, kind of where those two pieces combine, I’ve been using some good templates for this that have been extremely helpful. So for quarterly goals, it’s high level, it’s written very similar to company level OKRs. It’s laid out by a top-level theme, and objective and key results. So for example, theme, improve your craft objective, up to level my prototyping skills to enable me to think more holistically key result present all designs in prototype format, during reviews, I think what’s incredibly helpful writing it like that is that at the end of the quarter, you can actually go back and tactically see, did I do this or not? So you align on that in the beginning. And you can see if you’re making progress toward that or not, it’s not gray area, it’s kind of black and white. So it I think helps direct your team into making progress on where they need to. So I think that’s the first thing and then the second is values. So I think this is really what is important to you. What do you care about? And how does that lead to the decision-making for your career path in general? So as a manager, I think it helps to understand where your people are coming from. And I think that helps direct how you staff them, how you recognize them, and understand where they are, what they can get out of your current company, but also in the future, where they can go. So I was introduced to this concept within, which is a leadership retreat for women run by Mia Bloom. And I have been using that similar framework for myself and also for my team since it’s been incredibly helpful and grounding. If I were

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  18:53

to dig in a bit more, this is very interesting. So you with your team have quarterly career goals that so it’s not like on an annual or six months. So it’s, it’s every quarter, is that generally like once you get into it in an easy function, or is it hard to come up with? With goals like that

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  19:13

every quarter? I would say, you know, some carryover, I think just like company OKRs, you’re not intended to hit green on every single thing that you’re working on. But I think it’s proven that if you write something down, you think about it, and you work towards that. So I think the drafting of it is something that we do collaboratively since I’ve been doing this with many reports for some time, like, I have kind of intonations about like where those should fall and ideas and how we can frame things. And I think what is also very helpful is if your team has ladders, career ladders, you always kind of like reference those pieces and you can pull in even copy or content From that, specifically intimate, so all the pieces line up, and you understand, this is where I am, this is where I’m going. And this is kind of how these goals align to getting there.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  20:11

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, especially if there are career ladders, and you want to work through something, and there’s clear progress, and you can determine they need more help here or there. What do you do in cases where it’s, it’s more subjective? Like, Are there cases where it’s harder to have a key result? Because something is, is subjective? I would imagine design might in some cases, be subjective.

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  20:34

I think the goal is as much as possible to turn it from subjective into something that it’s very tactical and clear. And I think that’s honestly what most of the workshopping is. So I think first steps, usually, you know, I give to my team to bring back to me, and if I read a key result, and I’m like, How are we going to figure out if you did this or not, like, let’s figure out some ways to change this into something that is more tactical. So I think a lot of the workshopping lies there, and you can be creative with it. This is, yes, there are many things in design where it could be up in the air. But there are ways I feel like you can grab anything that you’re working on.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  21:14

Yeah, that makes sense in terms of how you do it. Do this the workshopping and when you do it? Is it the sort of thing that you can just make happen in one session? Or do you get your team to just go work on it, and then show you a version of it? Like for someone who wants to start implementing this every quarter? What are the steps to get there?

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  21:35

We have feedback cycles for our company, twice a year. So usually, these conversations start coming out of those. So if you get feedback, and XYZ or themes kind of coming out of that feedback, that’s kind of amazing ammo to come into. So we have feedback from your peers, we have your growth path, we have your values, and we get together the workshop. Okay, what are these themes and objectives? So that’s, I think that is something from one meeting with your report is something you can figure out together. Let’s align on, you know, what are these top-level things? Then homework, give to them? What are key results that you can see, coming out and aligning to these things next meeting would be that workshopping of, okay, like, are they tactical? How can you measure them? Whisare feedback that I might have in terms of like editing, or just making those better? So usually, it’s tmeetingsing, two meetings to kind of get that aligned. And then check-ins throughout that quarter, to just make sure that you are thinking about them that they’re top of mind? Are there any that you’re having trouble with or need help with? So that’s usually how I approach that.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  22:50

And do you do it? Like is every one on one? Do you talk about them in every one on one? Or is it maybe once a month?

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  22:57

No. So this is something that I would say once a month or every six weeks, when would just put on your one on one agenda like that is your agenda for that one on one is just to kind of review and go over those things? I think checking in every single time would feel like overkill on this.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  23:16

Got it. [AD BREAK] Hey, there. Just a quick note, before we move on to the next part, if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re probably already doing one on one meetings. But here’s the thing, we all know that one on one meetings are the most powerful, but at the same time, the most misunderstood concept in practice and management. That’s why we’ve spent over a year compiling the best information, the best expert advice into this beautifully designed 90 Plus page ebook. Now, don’t worry, it’s not single-spaced font, you know, lots of tax. There’s a lot of pictures. It’s nice, easily consumable information. We spent so much time building it. And the great news is that it’s completely free. So head on over to fellow dot app slash blog to download the Definitive Guide on one on ones. It’s there for you. We hope you enjoy it. And let us know what you think. And with that said, let’s go back to the interview. [AD BREAK ENDS]  So one thing that we need to talk about I know that Faire is growing like crazy. One of the things that you have, I want to say mastered or at least worked a lot on is onboarding. And I’d love for you to just describe like what are the some of the things that you do to bring people on board, make sure that they have the right context? How do you think about onboarding currently,

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  24:44

Yeah. So the onboarding process, there is a company onboarding. So that’s kind of like a three-day boot camp. Wow. Three days? Yeah. It’s our business model, our teams, all that kind of stuff. With anybody across the company. That is onboarding. And then we have a design-specific onboarding. So there, we have built a four-week, personalized program that ramps up any designer on anything they need to know basically, to become a designer at a fair. And to get there, we use the design process, of course, have how of how we could kind of iterate on these processes. So we interviewed designers and managers about what has worked in their onboarding, what hasn’t worked. And a couple of things we found. I mean, one is information overload. It’s easy when you join, especially in this remote world right now to just have a million Doc’s thrown at you and not know kind of where things are coming from what to prioritize how to create a sense of belonging, when especially remote, as well as just building confidence. So as you’re joining like, when are you confident and being able to be an owner of really your path here in focusing on those things? We notion and we build a personalized guide and notion for every designer, and it maps out their first four weeks, specifically, and each week has a checklist of items to complete during that week. So it sets out very clear expectations on what a new hire should learn and do every single week. But it also just gives them ownership of how to self-direct themselves through all of that content. So I think that has been incredibly helpful. And in regards to just creating that sense of belonging, we assign a buddy to be and they meet with them every single day for the first four weeks. So just making sure that they’re welcome. I love this one we send every new hire the day that they join a welcome email, that retells the story of why we hired them. And I think it’s just such a special moment, in terms of, you know, feeling like, oh, I’m recognized already. And this is why I’m ready to join. And this is what I’m going to bring to this community, which I think I found inspiring.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  27:08

Yeah, that’s, that’s awesome. So tell me about this email. Is it that, you know, we like that you did this? Or you answer that question that way, or this, you know, thing in your portfolio, like what kind of things go in there during the

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  27:22

hiring process. There are key things that stand out for every candidate. So this person is incredible at systems. And we think that they can contribute to up-levelling our systems team, even if they’re not on it, for example, or you have like a knack for storytelling, that ly look forward to you like teaching and bringing to our team. So I think it’s just finding those skills and highlighting and, and, honestly, just tearing back the curtain of our internal processes for hiring, it’s like, this is what our team notice about you. This is what makes you special. And this is why we’re so excited for you to bring it to our team.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  28:02

One of the questions then is what do you do in terms of and just so that I have the onboarding part? Correct. So is that like four weeks of they’re just going through the onboarding program? Or are they also say starting and contributing to projects during that same time? Or is this like, you know, for one month, you’re not doing that?

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  28:20

So the first two weeks, you are not you’re it’s all about kind of information, gathering, meeting as many people as we can. And we guide who and what kind of information to focus on during that time. But week three, actually kicks off a starter project. So this is something that is within your assigned team. And it helps you get to know how things work, how do we do product development? Who is your Pm, who is your team? How do you all start working together, and ly intentionally craft this one to be smaller and more clearly defined. So we’re not throwing them in the deep end with an ambiguous project. But it’s more, we want to see you have a win. So usually, it’s week three and four. They’re working on this project, and hopefully getting it shipped by the time that that is over. So they already feel like they’re contributing but in a very directed way.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  29:15

Yes, so many things that you you’ve thought through I love the welcome email, almost like pre-framing, and making sure that you’re kind of outlining the things that you want them to maybe think about, if they’re great storytellers, like bring more of that like that. That’s awesome. And then you’re also making sure that they have a win at the end. So it’s a very good launch platform. Let’s talk about this concept of a career story. So I mean, we talked a little bit about storytelling just just now but what is a career story and why is that like a better way for you to talk about yourself with with a candidate or with a manager with just someone that you’re mentoring? 

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  29:57

I think simply put, a career story is what your career journey has been and why you do what you do? Where have you worked? What have you learned? And why did you leave company A and join Company B, and so on and so on. I think what is fascinating is that it’s all in the subtext, if you look at a resume, those are all just kind of notches. I worked here, and I moved here. But I think it’s really important to really dig into and understand the motivations of why people have left and why people have changed and what they learned at each part of that experience. Because it changes what’s important to you changes over time. And I think you could only really get that through telling a story of your career.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  30:45

Yeah, that makes sense. So if you’re asking for a story, what are the things that you’re looking out for? Like, what are the things that when you hear, those are maybe good signs, and you tend to be more excited about those candidates, when

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  31:02

I hear what people are optimizing for at specific moments in time. So at this point, I wanted to really grow my craft. And that’s why I joined this company, because they had an amazing craft. Or I really wanted an incredible peer group to build a network. And I thought this company had that. So I think the intention and future thinking of knowing yourself, knowing what you prioritize, and understanding how that directs your decision making, I think is a good flag. Because it shows that they are in control of their career as much as you can be. Because when you get there, obviously you learn and figure out the things you go, I think it is incredibly important to prioritize yourself in your career. I think. If you don’t, it’s very easy to get swept up into wherever you go. It’s very easy to become the company story rather than your own. So I think definitely something that I look for is intentional decision making.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  32:10

And I agree with you that sometimes a resume is just like a bulleted list. And oftentimes, you’re just describing the way that the company that you were at operates. You know, I worked on design reviews, and I did this and but that’s just the way that things happen at that company. So thank you for describing the operations of company X. Yeah, let’s talk about you and why you made decisions that day. I think that makes a lot more sense. Another thing that is is always a curiosity for me is receiving feedback. Right. So as designers, you, I would imagine getting more feedback than some other areas, maybe in tech companies, it’s just like part of life there. Maybe on a much more frequent basis. Is that part of the onboarding process? Like I’m curious, do you also teach people how to receive feedback or teach them even how to give design feedback? Is that some something that you end up teaching folks as well,

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  33:07

Such a good question. I think there are two things to it, I think one, it, yes, you are right, as a designer in your career, your job is to get feedback. You put designs in the world, and everybody reacts to it. And I think it’s something that it is a skill that you gain over time, in terms of understanding how to I think, first of all, separate yourself from the feedback you it’s not personal, this is about your work. And I think that is one path that every designer needs to overcome. And I think the second is understanding how to prioritize the feedback, and how to act on it. So there are some things as leaders that you can do to help with that. I think one of them is having very clear processes for review, very clear understanding of stakeholders, and the levels of priorities of what they’re going to be kind of providing to you. In the onboarding example, we do onboard them to understand what our review processes are. This is why we go to critiques. This is why, you know, you have your team critiques. And this is why we have leadership reviews, what are the different parts of the product development process? Why should you bring it to reviews at certain times? What are the actual questions you need to be answering and very specific moments in time? Those are the frameworks that you can do as a leader to really make sure that work is moving forward. And the questions are being answered in the right place to reduce thrash and also help your team really, you know, section off that feedback at the right time.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  34:43

It’s easy for people to become defensive. Are there things that you have learned or taught people or just things that you can do to learn to be able to take feedback better?

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  34:56

I think the most important part about that is letting them know when they’re doing it, a lot of people are not aware of the faces they make, or how they quickly respond to things or their tone that I have helped them pinpoint. After review, for example, I’m like, Hey, like, this person gave you this feedback? And your response was this, the way that that could impact it is, you might lose trust from this person, try rephrasing it differently, for example. So I think it’s being a mirror, as much as possible to help people understand, you know, when they are defensive, and what that looks like, and how could actually, if they change that, how it can actually affect really their impact in the company.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  35:45

Yeah, I like the advice on I’m trying to be a mirror and you’re right, like, unless you are told a few times in a row, it becomes hard to even notice these things in yourself. So I think that makes a makes a lot of sense. Another thing that I wanted to chat with you about is just values. And I’d love to maybe talk about some of the values that you have at Faire if any of them you think are very helpful for managers and leaders or other things that you think can be helpful for leaders to adopt at their own companies or in their teams. Well,

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  36:22

I think first of all, having a set of values is number one, just important, because it really sets up and defines your culture, and what you care about as a company. And when used well, I feel like really can lead and ground your company as you scale to hold to what you are, and not, you know, keep you on track to make sure that you’re scaling in a way that reflects the company that you want to build a couple that we have at fair. One is being the owner. So really just taking ownership of your work, seek the truth. So understanding like at the end of it, is their data is their customer feedback, like what is really kind of driving decisions is kind, I think is key for us is making sure we’re building a team of compassion. And I have seen that kind of play through since I joined and serve our community, which is why we do what we do. We are building, we are building this for our retailers and our brands. And and I think it really kind of grounds us all in it. But I will say that the best way to incorporate values is to make sure it’s ingrained in your

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  37:40

day to day. Yeah, I was gonna ask you, what can you do to make it ingrained in your day to day very tactically,

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  37:45

I think, make them very memorable, make the make them short and quippy? At fair, we branded each one. So each one has an icon and their own, you know, corresponding slack reaction. So teams are actually you know, commenting on things and reacting to things, acknowledging conversations in regards to the values themselves incorporating them into your hiring. So how are you? What does it look like if you’re living to these values to the fullest? And how do you make sure you hire a team that is also excited about those things? I think lastly, recognition. So I think managers have a cool opportunity to bring those into your teams and how you coach them and how you recognize them. And one thing that we do is quarterly values awards, every quarter, we have teams nominate based on the value, who represented it to the fullest and give you know, swag and gifts for the people that kind of hit those every single quarter. So it’s just about making sure you’re weaving it into everything that you’re doing.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  38:51

I have to ask, what kind of questions do you asked to tease out a value like, be kind. For example, during an interview process, I just feel like people are on their best behaviour during the interview process.

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  39:06

We have a specific interview block that is called Design citizenship. And it is about how you contribute back to the team. So one question is like, what is it project you did out of your own volition that you just did to help the team that nobody asks you to do? Another question we ask is, what is the mistake that you made that you had to own up to? So it’s just kind of digging into how do they work with other? How do they, you know, show growth and how they would contribute back to the team. So other ways to dig into that? It’s a tough one, though.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  39:43

Yeah, I like it, though. Even just like the phrasing that you use, which is design citizenship, I think just that phrase alone gives me a much better sense of how you can through other questions get it answering how they measure up against that value, I think I think that’s all Awesome. So Rene, we’re coming up against time, we’ve talked about a lot of very interesting things. We’ve talked about how to coach design teams, how to receive feedback for your stories. And we dug into into quite some detail on how you do onboarding at Fair, which, which I think is super impressive. So one question that we like to always end with for all our guests is for all the managers and leaders constantly looking to get better at their craft. Are there any final tips, tricks, resources, or words of wisdom that you’d like to leave them with?

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  40:33

I think the most important tip I would give is to build a support system for yourself. I think leadership is very lonely. And it’s something that nobody talks about. But I think the more that you connect with others, the more support you build for yourself over time, the more people you have to turn to for advice, or gut checking yourself. And I think everybody’s different and has different means of doing so number one thing is, is having that that group of people to turn to as made the world of difference for me,

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  41:07

that’s incredible advice and a great place to end it, Rene. Thanks so much for doing this. 

Renee Solorzano (Faire)  41:15

Thank you so much.

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