Vanessa Lawson

Senior Facilitation Developer

Las Vegas, NV

For me, learning to lean in to adversity and challenges is the only way to do something truly great.

I’ve been at Zappos for six years and have enjoyed every single crazy and amazing minute.

One of my most memorable lean in moments occurred back in 2008. Several employees, including myself, were moved from our current departments into a brand new department. We were tasked with creating and facilitating courses for all internal employees. The goal was to develop classes that taught our fellow employees new skills and subjects, which in turn would enhance our culture and inspire team growth.

As I look back, it was a monumental task for the three of us. The company employed 800+ people and none of us had any prior experience with corporate training and curriculum development; we didn't know where to even begin. It was frustrating and confusing.

Eventually we decided to start small, so we launched our department with only two courses. By the end of that first year, we had 15 classes. To date, we offer over 45 classes, have a department of 15 trainers and are the main training resource for the company.

Throughout that experience, we never lost hope or faith that we could make it work. The main thing that still sticks with me to this day was when we finally realized we were trusted; our company shows implicit trust in its employees, which creates an environment of trying, failing, learning and growing.

For me, learning to lean in to adversity and challenges is the only way to do something truly great.

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