Babba Canales worked for Uber before she started her job at the luggage brand Away: Get to know this inspiring New York based woman
Babba Canales is 26 years old, based in New York City, and just recently started to work for Away, a new luggage brand with a direct-to-customer approach that functions both online and in pop-up shops – like the one that opened yesterday, December 1st, on Torstraße in Berlin Mitte. We spoke to Canales, the brand’s marketing director, who also happens to be our next “Woman We Love”. In her own words, she talks about how she got her start, leaving Uber, and what she’s learned along the way.
My career actually started in Berlin – I began working at the eyewear brand MYKITA straight out of school. Then I moved back to Stockholm to start my own digital media agency, which aimed to have a data-driven approach to social media and PR.
I spent several weeks finalizing my business plan and meeting with advisors and potential clients, which led to me receiving an email from a company called Uber. They were looking for someone to help launch Uber in Sweden and run their marketing, and my name had been recommended. Although I wasn’t looking for a job, I figured I should at least meet with them to see if they would be interested in hiring my agency. I met up with their launcher, who was in town from San Francisco, and their recently hired Swedish operations manager. I remember coming out of the meeting full of energy, convinced that Uber was the next Google-type rocketship and that I had to join the company immediately.
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While my digital media agency never made it to the real world, I had the time of my life working at Uber. I spent the first two years in Stockholm, where I helped launch Uber in Sweden. Stockholm quickly became our fastest growing launch market, which gave me the opportunity to help mentor other marketing managers in Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa. Then Uber relocated me to New York, where I’ve spent another amazing two years building our strategy for fashion and lifestyle partnerships. I was part of spearheading and executing some of the most viral campaigns we ran, including a partnership with rag & bone during New York fashion week – that became the #1 story in Women’s Wear Daily, and it got me featured in Forbes’ “30 Under 30 2016”. I love New York so much and the opportunities here are literally endless. It inspires me and fills me with energy.
I recently decided to leave Uber and join Away, where I lead our brand marketing team. I feel extremely excited to go back to the crazy fast-paced startup world and build something up. I love the creative spirit of Away. The company inspires me so much and truly makes me feel like everything is possible. I also really enjoy building and managing my own team, seeing young talent thrive and grow with a business. I’m forever thankful for the opportunity Uber gave me, and I think I secretly seek to give that same opportunity back to other young people.
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My secret trick for getting everything done in time lies in prioritization, planning, and – of course – a lot of hustle. I make priority plans before I do anything. The biggest mistake I used to make was getting caught up in just doing things, rather than thinking first. As I’ve matured in my role, I’ve gained a better understanding for what moves the needle – and what doesn’t. I’m also more realistic and know how long time things actually take to execute. Those are crucial things for planning ahead. That said, it’s also important to maintain a level of hustle, because you can’t plan out everything; things change and things go wrong along the way, and that’s when you need to be a hustler and make magic happen out of thin air.
I don’t have a “typical day at work”. My daily routine either exists of time spent on work trips, or in meetings; being in internal planning meetings with my teams, or external meetings with potential brand partners. At Away, I feel very lucky to be working with one of my closest friends, who also happens to be one of the founders of the company – Jen Rubio. She truly is a creative genius. Her creative vision for Away really inspires me to be the best I can at work. I look forward to building a company from scratch one day, and Away couldn’t be a better school for that – built and driven by two of the most inspiring females one will ever meet.
If I could switch jobs with someone for a week or month, I would love to work at a shelter for dogs and learn all about the hard work they put into helping animals in need, and help spread awareness about dog adoption. I would find that extremely fulfilling I think.
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Translation: Melissa Frost
Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.