A day in the life of a Lyft vice president, who wakes up at 6 a.m. and rarely spends a minute at her desk

Nilka Commute1.JPGNilka Thomas

  • Nilka Thomas is vice president of talent and inclusion at Lyft.
  • Thomas' day starts at 6 a.m. and involves onboarding new Lyft employees, planning ways to improve the company's diversity practices, and making time for family after she leaves work.
  • Thomas walked us through a typical day for her.

Nilka Thomas, Lyft's vice president of talent and inclusion, has a busy day.

Working out of the rideshare company's San Francisco office, Thomas oversees recruiting, employee relations, and diversity at Lyft.

That means onboarding new Lyft employees, educating workers on how to create a more inclusive work environment, and making sure Lyft's hiring and promotion practices are in line with the company's goal of a diverse workplace.

Thomas joined Lyft in 2018 and recently celebrated her anniversary at the company.

"It's a pretty big job and a lot of responsibility," she told Business Insider. "But I'm leaning in and loving it."

Here's what a day in Thomas' life looks like.

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Thomas wakes up around 6 a.m. — an hour before her 18-month-old daughter Ophelia. She checks a few emails, takes a shower, and then she spends time with Ophelia until her nanny arrives. "The mornings tend to very much revolve around her," Thomas said.

Thomas wakes up around 6 a.m. — an hour before her 18-month-old daughter Ophelia. She checks a few emails, takes a shower, and then she spends time with Ophelia until her nanny arrives. "The mornings tend to very much revolve around her," Thomas said.

Thomas lives close to Lyft's office in downtown San Francisco, so she's able to walk or take a public Ford GoBike to work each morning for a commute of 15 to 20 minutes.

Thomas lives close to Lyft's office in downtown San Francisco, so she's able to walk or take a public Ford GoBike to work each morning for a commute of 15 to 20 minutes.

Thomas is at her desk, "coffee in hand," by 8:30 a.m. But she spends hardly any time sitting down — she's in meetings and working face-to-face with coworkers for much of the day, she said.

Thomas is at her desk, "coffee in hand," by 8:30 a.m. But she spends hardly any time sitting down — she's in meetings and working face-to-face with coworkers for much of the day, she said.

Thomas is Lyft's vice president of talent and inclusion. Part of her job is to oversee diversity at the company, which sometimes takes the form of educational workshops like this one on unconscious bias in the workplace.

Thomas is Lyft's vice president of talent and inclusion. Part of her job is to oversee diversity at the company, which sometimes takes the form of educational workshops like this one on unconscious bias in the workplace.

Thomas also oversees recruiting and employee relations at Lyft. She onboards new Lyft employees once a week, and often eats lunch with new team members in the company's kitchen.

Thomas also oversees recruiting and employee relations at Lyft. She onboards new Lyft employees once a week, and often eats lunch with new team members in the company's kitchen.

Thomas sometimes makes her way to other Lyft offices, like the driver support hub in San Francisco, where she meets with other leaders at the company. The painting of a tree on the wall contains facts about the employees at the driver hub. "It underscores our value of being yourself," Thomas said.

Thomas sometimes makes her way to other Lyft offices, like the driver support hub in San Francisco, where she meets with other leaders at the company. The painting of a tree on the wall contains facts about the employees at the driver hub. "It underscores our value of being yourself," Thomas said.

Thomas sat down with employees for a roundtable discussion on their experiences with inclusion and diversity at Lyft. Ideas that have come out of chats like this include gender-neutral bathrooms in Lyft offices and services for deaf Lyft drivers, like notifications that tell users how to communicate with a hearing-impaired driver.

Thomas sat down with employees for a roundtable discussion on their experiences with inclusion and diversity at Lyft. Ideas that have come out of chats like this include  gender-neutral bathrooms in Lyft offices and services for deaf Lyft drivers, like notifications that tell users how to communicate with a hearing-impaired driver.

Thomas leaves the office at 6 p.m. — she tries to squeeze in as much family time as she can before her daughter's 7:30 bedtime. She'll eat dinner and enjoy a glass of wine with her partner Josh, but then she said it's back to the computer to answer a few more emails.

Thomas leaves the office at 6 p.m. — she tries to squeeze in as much family time as she can before her daughter's 7:30 bedtime. She'll eat dinner and enjoy a glass of wine with her partner Josh, but then she said it's back to the computer to answer a few more emails.

As for the weekends, Thomas spends time with her family exploring her new surroundings. She especially loves discovering new parks, restaurants, and local attractions with her family.

As for the weekends, Thomas spends time with her family exploring her new surroundings. She especially loves discovering new parks, restaurants, and local attractions with her family.

A year into her new job, Thomas said she's grateful to help Lyft live up to its values of inclusion and diversity. "It's a pretty big job and a lot of responsibility," she said. "But I'm leaning in and loving it."

A year into her new job, Thomas said she's grateful to help Lyft live up to its values of inclusion and diversity. "It's a pretty big job and a lot of responsibility," she said. "But I'm leaning in and loving it."
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