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Jill Hazelbaker takes control of Uber’s narrative to push for safety

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Jill Hazelbaker takes control of Uber’s narrative to push for safety

This interview is part of our latest Women and Leadership special report, which highlights the women who make important contributions to the major stories unfolding in the world today. The conversation has been edited and summarized.


Jill Hazelbaker, 40, a former political spokeswoman, is the senior vice president of marketing and public affairs for Uber.

You joined Uber in 2015, when it was examining a workplace culture where sexual harassment and discrimination against women was said to be common. Was that a factor in Uber’s first release? safety report Addressing incidents of ride-on sexual assaults and other safety issues in 2019?

There is no doubt that things happened in the company that were not right. We needed to organize our house internally and then fix it externally. I took this as an opportunity to try to make a deep impact.

Can you explain the working of the report?

We examined data from 2017 and 2018, when the US averaged 3.1 million daily trips. And we also collaborated with outside experts and third party organizations.

The report showed that Uber is safe, and statistically, incidents are rare: 99.9 percent of Uber trips ended without any safety-related issues, and 0.0003 percent of trips reported a significant safety incident.

But there is also a phenomenon too much, so it was about what new perspectives we could take.

And what were some of those approaches?

One of the big issues is verifying who your driver is, so Verify Your Ride allows riders to verify each ride with a four-digit PIN that they verbally provide to their driver, which is called It needs to be entered in its own app to start the journey. , We also have an in-app emergency button that connects riders and drivers to 911. In some cities, trip details and location can be automatically shared with first responders, or riders and drivers can send a text message to 911.

Another feature is Share My Trip, where riders and drivers can share with family members or friends who can follow their journey in real time and know when they have arrived.

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You have said that you are going to update the report. Can you be more specific about when?

We are committed to releasing a safety report every two years. We rely on data from the federal government, which has been delayed but is expected to be released soon. Once that data is released, we will finalize and release our next report, possibly this spring.

You also said that you would explore a way to share the names of drivers who were accused of raping competitors, so that they don’t just switch to another service.

Yes, since the release of the report, we have launched an industry sharing security program. This Enables companies to exchange basic information about drivers and delivery people who have been disabled for serious safety incidents to help prevent these individuals from working on other platforms.

You’ve led Uber through growth, challenging moments, and one of the largest tech initial public offerings in history (in May 2019). What do you see as the biggest challenge for Uber?

I think it is a big challenge and opportunity for people like us to make meaningful improvements to the status quo on platforms like us. Today, Uber is one of the largest sources of work of any kind in the world. From 2016 to 2021, more than 31 million people earned $177 billion at Uber, thanks to the freedom and flexibility of work.

This kind of flexibility during the pandemic is something others have appreciated, but drivers and couriers have always understood that being independent doesn’t mean being on your own. That’s why our policy teams around the world are fighting for better deals for gig economy workers; You can still be independent, but you also get benefits and security.

We have made a lot of progress, but it is going to take time. Ultimately, I believe we will be successful because this is what the drivers and the delivery people themselves tell us they want.

How important are Uber Eats and Uber’s others Services?

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Pre-pandemic, our distribution business was growing at a healthy rate, but was still the “little brother” to our mobility business. As Covid hit, and people stopped moving about in their cities, we really leaned in, and Uber Eats has grown even bigger than our global mobility business, which was before the pandemic began. Now we are leaning again to convert delivery into other categories like grocery, convenience, liquor, pharmacy and more.

Before Uber, you had a career in politics in which you worked under New York Mayor Michael R. Served as Bloomberg’s press secretary and director of national communications for Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign. You’ve also worked for Google and Snap. What do you think attracts you to politics and an aggressive business environment?

I like to be at the center of the action because that’s where the impact happens – and that’s where change is born. It’s easy to criticize from the edge, but it’s no substitute for involving yourself in the game.

What is your advice for women who can choose your path and pursue high-stakes jobs?

Be comfortable with yourself. And do things that make you happy. These are difficult tasks that require a lot of energy and attention. You’re not going to get it right 100 percent of the time, and if you can’t laugh along the way, you’ll drive yourself completely crazy.

As the parent of three children under the age of 6, you have advocated for women in tech. What advice do you give to moms who want to take on leadership roles?

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During my time at Uber, I’ve made six trips [fertility treatments] and three children. My family and my career bring me great joy, but I’m not going to pretend it hasn’t been incredibly difficult at some point. We have glamorized this idea of ​​”having it all” when, I think, we should be more transparent about reality: “balance” requires a lot of support and is often elusive.

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