Three Minute Squiz with… Jodie Auster

Jodie Auster is Uber Eats General Manager for Australia and New Zealand – and she’s taken an unexpected career road to get there… By that we mean she’s been an emergency doctor, a management consultant and is now knee deep in tech and innovation. Needless to say she has some great advice on career changes… And she brings us up to speed on the latest food trends. Artisan ice cream anyone? 

How and where do you Squiz?
While I’m waiting for my morning latte. I subscribe to The Squiz because I love standing in the cafe and watching the world while I wait and read.

Where did you grow up?
In Melbourne. I’m a huge fan of this city.

Your initial field of uni study was medicine and you worked as an emergency doctor. You then went into management consulting, and dived into tech innovation. Has each step prepared you for the next?
Absolutely. Every experience has given me something useful, even if I don’t realise it until later. Emergency medicine taught me hypothesis driven problem solving, triage (prioritising by urgency and severity) and keeping cool under pressure. Management consulting exposed me to customer experience strategy, commercial thinking and effective decision making frameworks. Working in tech has given me exposure to just about every business function in a very compressed timeframe! I have learned a lot about leadership, risk, and building great teams, amongst a million other things. And I am still learning every day.

The common themes in your career seem to be problem solving and resilience. Great skills to have… What’s your advice to anyone wanting to change direction in their careers like you have?
Do it. Find your transferable skills and learn to tell your story to highlight those skills. Be persistent. Know which one or two attributes of a job are really important to you and go after them (for me right now it is the quality of the team above all else). Don’t try to search for 12 things you’d really like because you’ll probably never find all of them in one job.

Most decisions are two way doors – so you can give a new direction a go and walk right back through that door if you think you’ve made a mistake. I have made a great career out of saying yes to opportunities and taking moderately sensible risks.

The business you lead – Uber Eats – launched in Oz two-and-a-half years ago, but it’s one of those innovations that feels like it’s been around forever. Tell us something that will blow our minds about its operation.
On Sunday, June 10, 2019, 173 trips and deliveries started simultaneously at 10:12pm GMT, putting us over 10 billion completed trips globally since Eats first began. These trips happened in more than 21 countries across five continents!

Uber Eats’ aim is to make eating well effortless for everyone, everywhere. What’s your on-repeat order?
Since the expansion of the Coles trial in Melbourne, my family and I have been doing our top up shops on Uber Eats. We can get ready-to-eat meals like roast chicken and salads, and order our fruit and veg, milk, bread, eggs and even toilet paper and toothpaste! It has been a total game changer for working parents like my partner and I who sometimes run out of things to put in the kids’ lunchboxes.

What’s the food trend we should be on top of this summer?
Artisan ice cream on Uber Eats. It is honestly the best treat at the end of a summer meal. I am really into Piccolina at the moment. Their mint chip is divine.

What do you do in your down time?
We spend most of our weekends in the Macedon Ranges in Central Victoria and home to the iconic Hanging Rock. My son is really into board games at the moment (he’s 8yo) so there are some fierce Monopoly, Othello and Scrabble showdowns over the weekends. I love reading the newspaper cover to cover (old school!) and sitting in front of the fire with a stack of magazines – I love New Philosopher, Vogue and just about any design mag.

Your first album?
Someone gave me 1927 …Ish for my 12th birthday. It was my first vinyl record and it felt so special.

Your favourite book/writer?
Tim Winton. His writing is so Australian. It really evokes the experience of Western Australia so palpably.

The best piece of advice your mother/father/good friend gave you?
That it’s really empowering if you can earn your own living and pay your own way. Seems strange now but in my parents’ generation, it wasn’t a given that women would have good careers and be able to support themselves.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Oooh. That is hard. Probably patience. But I like moving fast especially when I know the outcome I am trying to achieve.

What’s your worst and best habit?
I am a giggler. It’s fun to laugh, but sometimes I giggle at inappropriate moments 🙂 I thought I would grow out of it but that hasn’t happened.

What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story Australians should know about but don’t?
Single use plastic waste and effective recycling are really important and hard problems to tackle. At Uber East we’ve removed the automatic inclusion of single use cutlery as a first step on this journey, which means people have to request it with their order. We are also working with Detpak to provide access to competitively priced sustainable packaging for restaurants.  It’s early days and we have a lot more work to do.

This interview is presented by our partner at The Squiz, Uber. 

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