I'm Hannah Pritchett, Head of Talent Pipelines at Stripe. I joined Stripe 6 years ago and have led teams in Operations, Risk, Payments, and now Recruiting.Featured

Hi everyone! I’m Hannah Pritchett. As Head of Talent Pipelines at Stripe, I unify the top of the funnel for Recruiting: sourcing, market research, diversity, talent branding, and referral programs.

When I joined Stripe six years ago, I was briefly a Manager for User Operations Insights before moving over to lead the Risk team. After a few years there, including a stint as Head of Risk, I moved over to found and grow a Payment Operations team, and after a few years there I’m now on Recruiting.

Before Stripe, I spent five and a half years at Facebook, mostly on risk and trust & safety teams. I have a BA and an MA in linguistics, and, as much as I want to joke that they’re useless, I’ve used my linguistics training more than you’d expect. Outside of work, I enjoy reading, travel, sewing, and spending time with my husband and three-year-old. I’m also a trivia nerd and appeared on Jeopardy! earlier this year.

Ask me anything about leadership, data-driven problem-solving, change management, hiring, collaborating with product and engineering teams, people development, organizational structure, making career changes, or what I think you should read next.

Thanks so much for joining us @hannahpritchett!Elphas – please ask @hannahpritchett your questions before Friday, October 15th. @hannahpritchett may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites πŸ”₯πŸ‘πŸΎβž•
Hi Hannah, Thank you for offering your time and perspective! I currently work in systems operations and was just offered a position in people operations. I’m 5 years into my career. If you were offered a position in people ops that early in your career would you take it? Or was the experience you gained in business operations worth the wait?
I think this depends on whether your ultimate goal is people operations or system operations (or something else entirely!). My tenure on the business side before moving into people roles is both a strength and a weakness, as with anything--on the one hand, I understand the business really well and have been able to use that in how I guide my team, but on the other hand, there's lots of domain knowledge and "people team" styles of work that have been harder for me to adapt to. (For me personally, I wouldn't have taken the people job earlier in my career, but that's because as my career has progressed I've understood more about what I'm uniquely good at and what I want to do. I also had some internalized misogyny about working on people teams, which I think is sad but not uncommon. I'm very glad to have worked through it!) If I had to give general advice on a tradeoff like this, I'd suggest focusing on the company more than the role. Roles change frequently--for example, if you got a new manager you'd have a different experience, and likewise if you moved into a new role--but company dynamics are much slower to shift. I've made career decisions far more based on a company's mission, vision, leadership, and strategy than the details of a role at that company, and I think that guiding principle has served me well.
Hi @hannahpritchett! Thank you for sharing your background (I enjoy traveling, reading and have a 3 year old as well!) I left my job to pursue a few independent projects earlier this year which has been very exciting!With the holidays coming up and your interest in books, would you be open to trying out a book gifting experience? How it works:- You select books you like (ie "Hannah's favorite books")- Share a link with your team with a personalized note- Individuals on your team pick which one they would like to receive and enter their shipping info- We take care of the shipping and you only pay for the books that were chosenIt's a simple solution to the age old problem, what should I buy? It gives the receiver the ability to choose and best part for you is you don't have to manage shipping (the receiver enters this info) and you only pay for the ones that are chosen. Would you up for trying this out? Thanks Hannah!Best,Polly
That sounds like a good idea! Personally it's not something I'd be likely to use, though; I love recommending books but for me the fun is in personalizing recommendations to the individual(s), since I believe every book is a great book to someone. (OK, maybe not *every* book, but at least *most* books.) I'll also admit to being a little bit of a Luddite about my reading; all the time that I'd spend on tech-around-books (i.e. things like Goodreads) is time I'd rather spend reading!
Hi Hannah, Wow - If we ever get to play Trivia, I hope I'm on your team! I'd love to hear your thoughts on two things - firstly, as a current Project Manager, what are some pathways for me to transition into Product Management? Secondly, what should I read next? Thanks, Melody
The Product Manager role is defined differently at each company, so I'm not sure how generalizable my advice will be, but I think in most companies Product Managers are expected to 1) know the product well, 2) know the market well, and 3) know customers well. If you're a project manager you're probably already adept at getting things done and working with engineering teams, so I'd focus my learning on those more nebulous parts of the PM job--how do you create a vision for a product? How do you know what your customers want? What might customers not be telling you? This is a little self-serving since he's a former Stripe, but I'd suggest checking out Shreyas Doshi on Twitter, since he's got a lot of really great content about the role and mindset of a Product Manager. As for the actual pathways, lots of companies these days offer rotational PM programs, either internal or external, and I've seen those be great programs for folks looking to get into the field!
Hey Hannah, thank you so much for taking out the time to do this :)I'm a Computer science engineering student, will be finishing college in May 2022 with some good experience in Product management. Things are going good here in India but I want to get out of my comfort zone, maximize my learning curve and growth opportunities. To be able to do this, I am looking for some opportunities to work internationally. Remote work and relocation both would do. If you could guide me a bit here as in how to get started, what are the challenges I might face and how to navigate them. Since you have been in leadership positions as well, so what would you look for in a candidate for her to stand out and get hired by you?Thanks bunches!
@hannahpritchett I might be too late, yet thank you so much for gracing the Elpha stage! As a professional who works alongside teams feeding the ever-growing consumer insight beast, I want to be a better partner to my lovelies by better understanding their priorities. What have been your typical challenges when working with/in product and engineering teams as it relates to keeping the consumer at the center of decision making, while also keeping an eye on how things are shifting in the world and doing your "job job"? What's the best way to learn about the priorities of product/engineering team leaders? Are there associations or groups that support you in these roles?
Hi @hannahpritchett! Thank you for sharing with our community. I have over a decade of experience working for SaaS Tech and Healthcare companies, mainly in roles that manage the relationship between Sales/Operations, Customer Success, and Billing/Finance. I've been through more company acquisitions than I can even count, and have always had a hand in gathering data during those processes and helping to translate that into insights for these organizations. My experience is broad, but I'm looking to make my technical skills more advanced and focused. Right now I am working for a nonprofit but I am looking to go back into the SaaS world in some capacity but I am having a hard time defining my role or what to look for in a new one. I would like to take a course to have more skills when re-entering that world. Revenue Operations is growing so much but I'm not sure which skills to focus on that would be most beneficial to my growth and to have when looking for these roles whether that be SQL, data analytics, data science, I get lost in the terms and not the actual application in a real job. Do you have insight into which data-driven and analytical skills are most in demand but don't take years to learn? Most job roles state 'analytical skills' without much definition.Thanks in advance!
My take--although I'm by no means a data scientist, so take this with a grain of salt--is that most of the technical tools of the data trade are relatively easy to learn and therefore not very impressive, while the cognitive skills of the data trade are where candidates really stand out. Can you frame a business question in a measurable way? Can you make sense of ambiguous information? Can you spot trends in a data set and interpret what they might mean? I think it's highest impact to make sure your resume/portfolio clearly showcases these skills first. That said, if I were in your position and were very confident in my analytical reasoning skills, I'd focus on picking up 1) SQL, and 2) Python, probably in that order. Not every company uses those languages, but many do, and having solid skills in those languages demonstrates your ability to learn others.
@hannahpritchett - Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! ☺️I’m a nonprofit professional with 6 years of experience in event planning and program management, and I'm looking to transition into an employee experience role at a values-based tech company.As someone who’s made the leap to HR without a formal background or degree, do you have any recommendations for how to get there? I would greatly appreciate any insight you’re able to share.Thanks so much!Sarah
Hi Sarah, that sounds like a great goal! Transitioning into HR is like transitioning into any other field: to succeed, you need a compelling narrative about your motivations, evidence that you have the required skills (if not the experience applying them in that space), and a hiring manager willing to take a chance. That last one can be tricky, so networking is key here, as is choosing the right company; as you identify companies you're interested in, look for places that encourage internal mobility and are loyal to their workforce, as those are often good signs of companies that can think more creatively about talent acquisition. Best of luck!
Those are all great points! I haven’t prioritized internal mobility in my company research, but I’ll be sure to do so moving forward. Thank you for your recommendations!
Hi Hannah, thank you for sharing your stories! It's really interesting to see the many different areas that the Talent Pipelines team is responsible for. I've been working in talent acquisition for a few years, and it seems like no one wants to do sourcing, because they perceive it as spammy & the job of an entry level recruiter. How do you attract talents and build your team?
I love this question, since it gives me a chance to a) preach the gospel of sourcing, and b) give a shout-out to my *excellent* team. Sourcing can be spammy, but that's only when it's sloppy. When done right (i.e. informed by market research, highly targeted, informed by the needs of the company and not just a role, and with a focus on relationship-building), I think sourcing is incredibly rewarding: it's got all the thrill of solving a puzzle, with the fun of meeting new people and the warm glow of helping people navigate their careers. I think it's short-sighted for companies to treat sourcing only as an entry-level job, since that will always limit the caliber of talent in the role as the most experienced people churn to other roles, and that in turn will threaten a company's talent brand on the market. I've attracted great talent to my team by making sure that sourcers and recruiters are equal partners, with the same pay bands but distinct growth paths and career ladders, and by giving folks lots of room to get creative in their jobs, whether that's building new processes for the team, influencing our hiring strategies from their research, or working with our brand team on how we're telling the Stripe story. We're just getting started with what great sourcing can do for our hiring!
Thanks for doing this AMA @hannahpritchett ! What advice do you have for someone looking to switch industry and join a FinTech company? I have experience in Strategy & Partnerships in mobile gaming and it seems every company out there is looking for specific FinTech experience.
Hello! I gave similar advice to someone else on the thread, but making an industry switch often depends on finding a hiring manager willing to take a bet on someone (as well, of course, you being able to make a case that your skills are transferrable). For any career change, you might have to either 1. go into a slightly different role than your long-term target and then move internally, or 2. go to a small company or startup, where hiring managers are much more open to different backgrounds. My experience is that FinTech companies often want folks with payments or finance experience in Strategy & Partnerships roles, but are much more open to different backgrounds in other (related) roles (say, partnerships program management or operations, or anything customer-facing), and so you may be able to gain the domain expertise in one of those roles as you work your way back into Strategy & Partnerships teams. Best of luck!
@hannahpritchett great to e-meet you! You’re exactly who I want to ask advice from. I’m an early stage founder of a health tech SaaS company. I’m a physician-MBA so I do not have a technical background. I’m assembling my team and my question is about identifying talent especially for this early team formation stage. I’ve heard the first 10 hires shape the company. I have one teammate/hire who is technical and very aligned with me on our mission. But for our next 2,3,4 hires how do I select for culture fit and talent, given that I’m not technical , and one of my (self perceived) weaknesses is picking up on those social-emotional cues that will forecast we will form a good team? (I tend to see the best in people and optimistically work with people despite difficult behavior). Thank you!
Great question! Hiring well is challenging and it's great to see you take this seriously from the start. There's not a single magic key I can give you for this, since it will take work, but I'd advise you to start with the question "what do I mean by 'culture fit'?" (And by "talent", for that matter.) Culture fit is a concept that's both incredibly important, since an organization's culture has a strong impact on its success, and incredibly dangerous, since it can get weaponized, especially against people historically under-represented or marginalized groups. When I create "behavioral" interviews for my team (what I tend to call the "culture fit" interviews instead, since then it focuses on a person's demonstrated behaviors, which are more concrete and measurable), I list out the behaviors or traits I want to see (curiosity, critical thinking, humility, openness to feedback, etc) and then devise interview questions that evaluate those specific behaviors or traits, as opposed to a more general "do they fit" approach. I also tend to simply ask people how they've handled certain kinds of situations in the past, as opposed to making up hypotheticals or any "gotcha" questions, because a person's past behaviors are a reasonably good predictor of future behaviors and because most research into hiring has indicated this is where you'll get the most signal. I hope that helps! And by the way, your thinking about this shouldn't stop when you've made the hire. How people behave is shaped by their personalities and experiences but also by the context, and as a leader you can create contexts in which people will collaborate well and build each other up or contexts where they'll be at each other's throats. If you see the best in people and want to work with them, that's a great start!
Incredible advice! Taking serious notes. Thank you @hannahpritchett!
Hi Hannah, your career journey is so inspiring! I'd love to hear your insights on two topics: 1) How did you not let "negative" emotions (e.g. fear, anxiety) about putting your career on pause stop you and your husband from deciding to start a family?2) How has your perspective on leadership changed throughout different stages of your career (e.g. different roles, teams, domains)? Thanks for your time and insights!
Ooooh, tough ones! 1) This is really an impossible question to answer for anyone else since it's so personal. For me, I like to do a periodic life-planning exercise where I write what I want my obituary to say and then evaluate whether I'm living in a way that would make that true. It's a very useful forcing function for life priorities! Not everybody wants children, but I did, and so I just had to take the obituary view. Was it scary to get pregnant? Yes, definitely; I knew it meant a lot of change in my life, a whole new skillset I'd have to learn, and lots of long days of work and parenting. But in the context of my whole lifespan, would it be worth it? I thought (and think) so. When I got too anxious about the decision, I just had to keep reminding myself that, when I am (hopefully!) 90 someday, my pace of career growth for a few years in my 30s and 40s probably wouldn't matter at all, whereas (again, hopefully!) getting visits from my on would matter a lot. 2) This is a really great question but I am running out of time to give it the deep answer it deserves. I'd just say the basic concept of leadership is always the same to me: it's helping people achieve a goal together. In some contexts I've had to focus more on the goal (defining it, measuring it, motivating us towards it), and in others I've had to focus on helping people (coaching, mentoring, developing), and in others it's the "together" part (systems and norms for a team), but it's all felt like naturally related parts of the same basic (but not simple!) task.