Welcome to The Work Day, a series that charts a single day in various women’s working lives — from gallery owners to stay-at-home parents to chief executives. In this installment, we hear from Pill Club chief executive Liz Meyerdirk, who recorded a workday in the summer.
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Name: Liz Meyerdirk
Location: San Francisco
Job title/current role: Chief executive, Pill Club
Previous jobs: Senior director and global head of business development for Uber Eats, 5½ years; vice president of strategic development for Viagogo, about four years
What led me to my current role:
I have always been fascinated by how decisions are made at the top. I started my career in investment banking, hoping to catch a glimpse of how chief executives make the biggest strategic and corporate finance decisions, and in my operating roles, I’ve taken on increased responsibilities to make 一 and in some cases fix 一 the biggest decisions for global consumer businesses.
The most influential factor in landing my current role was my time at Uber. As a part of the founding team for Uber Eats, I built a strategy and partnerships team from scratch whose work was critical to putting our business on the map. Our work resulted in one of two case studies in our IPO prospectus, which felt like affirmation that we had truly produced exceptional results and made a major impact on the business.
How do you spend the majority of your day?
I typically split out my week into five different themes: team meetings; individual meetings with my direct reports; “grass,” meaning getting into the detail of some priority area or topic, like fundraising, our product road map or market access/insurance; “clouds,” meaning taking a step back, putting together the puzzle pieces for the next three, six, nine months and having a bit more of a strategic view; and “new new,” or how we extend our platform and grow our business. I also like clustering my meetings by theme. There will be some days where I have back-to-back individual meetings with direct reports so we can easily share feedback and kick around ideas that are hard to work through via email or Slack. Other days, I have open blocks on my calendar to have unbounded thinking or working time.
5:30 a.m.: Wake up! I try to get up before my three kids do, so that I have time to organize my day and set intentions and meeting agendas. I also try to articulate and organize my thoughts on some meaty topic I am wrestling with. Last, I craft and prioritize my to-do list for the day.
7 a.m.: Get the kids dressed, fed and ready for camp.
Almost every day, it is a rush to get the kids out the door. Breakfast for me is usually bits and pieces of someone’s uneaten or leftover meal. Today’s was pretty gross: soggy, half-eaten multigrain Cheerios! Inevitably, someone will have forgotten a sock or we need to apply sunscreen. This morning, it was a fighter jet that had to be carefully stowed in the waist-strap pocket of my oldest son’s backpack. I had the time today to drop off my kids, which I like to do when I can because it helps me have a bit more time with them. Here they are, not looking back after drop-off, which I tell my gooey heart is a good thing…
8:30 a.m.: Clouds.
Because I’m on the East Coast this week and most of my team is on the West Coast where I’m normally based, it is so nice to have some time to think about the bigger picture. We are currently refreshing the way we think about our mission and values, with the bigger vision we’ve created in tackling all areas of primary care, in a digital-first manner.
11:30 a.m.: Time for external calls. We have a number of advisers who specialize in, for example, public affairs and policy. Today, among other calls, I speak to a few folks who give us perspective on the insurance landscape and how we can advocate more effectively on behalf of our patients and customers for insurance coverage. I also sneak in a five-minute trip downstairs to heat some leftovers for a quick, off-camera lunch. Today’s lunch more than made up for the soggy Cheerios: Taiwanese beef noodle soup from dinner the night before.
2 p.m.: A company all-hands meeting. Typically we have all company meetings every two weeks on Tuesdays. Today’s all-hands focused on our return-to-office strategy and our company’s new policy regarding vaccinations, which we are requiring for all employees. I have tried to build a culture of feedback, and while this wasn’t a simple topic for most groups, I was really pleased to hear folks asking live questions to clarify the policy in real time. I also received a response from a note I sent after our meeting, which described how a high-risk individual felt deeply moved by our decision to issue a vaccine mandate.
Here is a screenshot of me presenting on the Zoom company all-hands! I didn’t pick the most flattering frame, because let’s be honest: Zoom is a reflection of our everyday selves!
2:30 p.m.: For the next few hours, I have recruiting calls and internal one-on-ones. I spend a fair amount of my time recruiting, and today is no different. I also have meetings to catch up with my direct reports and our engineering leads. There is no substitute for individual conversations with folks, where you can ask for feedback and better understand what’s working in their day-to-day and where we need to improve.
6:30 p.m.: Dinner and family time. Tonight, we pick up a BBQ meal, so we don’t have to prep dinner. After dinner, we watch the Olympics for 30 minutes before bath and bedtime for the kids.
8:30 p.m.: Back to work for my third shift. After my kids are in bed, I usually catch up on email and the to-do lists that result from a day’s worth of calls or meetings. My 5-year-old daughter usually wakes up an hour later and wants to hang with me for a bit while I work. Sometimes the other two kids wake up too, always needing one last smooch before they fall back asleep, so it is a bit of a juggling act.
11:30 p.m.-midnight: Lights out and off to bed!