Growing Into a Career and a Community
Zoe Chaves, 2013 Fellow
As an undergrad at Brown University, Zoe studied urban planning and engaged in social work. She decided to dedicate herself to creating jobs in Providence after one of her social work clients, a young, college-educated mother, woefully compared securing employment in Providence to “winning the lottery”.
Zoe joined the second class of VFA Fellows in 2013 and had her very first interview with Splitwise, a Providence tech startup that helps roommates, friends and couples keep track of their shared expenses and avoid interpersonal money stress through an app. During the interview process Zoe felt an immediate connection to the company’s vision and with everyone on the Splitwise team.
Splitwise is one of the few places where I had the luxury to choose what I wanted to do.
Joining a Great Team
The major selling point was the opportunity to come onto the team as a generalist. Zoe wasn’t sure what type of role she would be best suited for and a generalist position gave her the flexibility to try her hand at business development, marketing, and customer supporter while also adding value as a “jill-of-all-trades”. Soon after the VFA Match process started, Zoe accepted her first job offer to join the Splitwise team as its fifth member.
After a full year as a generalist, Zoe was surprised to realize that she was most interested in product management. Good product managers are highly technical and also have design chops. Zoe didn’t believe that she possessed all of the necessary skills to succeed but the Splitwise leadership team had faith in Zoe’s ability to learn on the job and she was excited to grow into such a demanding role.
A New Home
Zoe graduated from the Fellowship in 2015 and had no desire to leave Splitwise or her new home, Providence. Three years after joining the team as a generalist, Zoe is still working as the sole Product Manager alongside a team of five engineers. The role has evolved over time as Splitwise has hired new people and started to think about their product in new and exciting ways. Zoe credits much of her professional growth to Splitwise’s culture of teaching. She knows that if she wants to pick someone’s brain about something that will help her be better at her job, her team members will happily give her their time.
Zoe truly believes in Splitwise’s big vision and has no plans to leave anytime soon. She is excited to continue to grow personally and professionally with her team!