Daring Leadership: My Rise In Shipt’s Cybersecurity

It has finally happened.

I’m now officially the Engineering Manager for the Cloud Cybersecurity team at Shipt. Intriguingly, this is the same team I joined a little over 18 months ago. Together, we’ve grown, built a strong foundation from almost ground zero, and now, I have the incredible opportunity to serve the same individuals who’ve been my pillars of support. Words cannot express the immense feeling of gratitude that currently overwhelms me.

To be honest, this new reality hasn’t fully set in yet. It feels surreal to see the title everywhere, but I notice a few differences now. Allow me to elaborate.

Experiencing Change

People’s approach towards me has changed. It’s been a few days since the official announcement of my promotion, although I’ve been fulfilling the role for a few months now. Suddenly, it’s as if I’m wearing an expensive suit. I’m receiving a new level of respect, which seems unintentional. I understand that this respect is for the position, not the person. It’s a humbling experience. I don’t feel I deserve it. Yet, here it is. This is something I’m still processing.

I’ve had discussions with coworkers who previously approached me as an equal, but now seem to consider me the one with the ultimate decision-making power and look to me for the final say. These interactions have stemmed from well outside my immediate organizational structure. I am still learning how to embrace this shift and treat it with the regard and respect it deserves. I am not treating it lightly.

Another change I’ve noticed is the feeling of being part of a club. At Shipt, managers support managers. It feels like a vast support group; we’re all helping each other navigate the complex world of leadership. It’s welcoming and warm. I’m grateful. I once viewed manager status like a “teachers’ lounge”— reserved for those with a certain title. The reality, however, is that leadership is a shared responsibility. We’re all in it together.

That is my reality now. As an individual contributor, there seemed to be a ‘manager’s club,’ a space reserved for those who climbed the corporate ranks. Now standing in that space, the illusion fades, and I see that we are all the same people we were before, just with a new role in life. There’s nothing extraordinary about it. Just as you remain the same person before and after becoming a parent; a manager, director, or vice president is the same person before and after ascending the corporate hierarchy. We all put our pants on, one leg at a time.

A New Chapter Begins

These are my initial days as a new Engineering Manager, and things are still hectic with quarterly planning. Things haven’t normalized yet. This promotion is one of many changes our team is currently experiencing. I hope to help our team return to ‘normal’ because things were good. Things will be good. Things are good. I’m still the same old me, just with a different title and set of responsibilities—ones I’m ready to tackle head-on.

Goodbye, comfort zone.

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