Debbie is the Vice President of Creative and User Experience for Walmart.com. She lives in Marin County, CA, with her husband, an 8 year-old daughter and a 7 year-old son. Debbie has an extremely demanding job, but due to a very long commute, she works from home one day a week. In this interview, she talks about how she succeeds with making this arrangement work, why taking time off from work was so important when her daughter made the transition to kindergarten, what she still has to learn to do better as a professional mom, and why you might find her on a conference call in her gym parking lot.
Can you tell us a little bit about your job – what does it entail, how long have you been in this industry and position?
I’ve been at Walmart.com for six years and I am ultimately responsible for making sure that people who come to purchase or research products on Walmart.com have a great experience and can find what they need easily. I manage a team of about 80 people and all of us are focused on building great front-end applications and design for Walmart.com.
Can you briefly describe your usual day?
Three days a week my day starts very early when I take a spinning class at 6 am. I take a shower after the class and can usually get to work by 7:45 am. On days when I take the kids to school, I get home by 7 am and I am there as everyone is waking up – that way, my workout does not interrupt the flow of the day.
Working out is fundamentally important to my sanity. This morning I had a conference call at 6 am, so I did it from the parking lot at the gym, sitting in my car. Then when it was over, I ran to the class and at least got 40 minutes of it in. I probably sound like I’m in great shape – but it’s really just a “maintenance” thing – I don’t plan on winning any 100-mile bike races anytime soon!
A couple of days a week I try to take my kids to school, and when I do that, I get to the office around 9 am. There is a morning assembly at the school every day and it’s a really great way to start the day, and for me to stay connected to the school, meet other parents, and to feel like I am part of that community. This is something I work really hard to be part of. When my daughter started going to preschool I felt like an outsider all the time and that was difficult for me. I’ve made a concerted effort to get to know the other families and participate in the school. This is a constant challenge, but it’s important to me.