Meet the Team: Diandra

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Diandra, SHRM-SCP, CPSP, is a member of Sparrow’s People Operations team. Let’s get to know Diandra!

How did you get to where you are?

Although I spent most of my undergraduate years at MIT pursuing computer science and mechanical engineering, I was drawn toward serving people through the various extracurriculars and leadership activities I was involved in in college. I graduated with a B.S. in Management Science, and started my career in technical project management at a small technology company. After almost a year in that role, I was offered an opportunity to take over and build out the recruiting function as we prepared for hypergrowth over the next few years across all disciplines, hiring hundreds of new team members. When the robotics side of the company spun off from the business with just 40 team members, I served as their Director of HR and built our functions and processes from the ground up. After years of working across a number of HR specialties with many talented professionals, I was thrilled to accept an opportunity to join Sparrow as its first People Operations hire. I’m able to leverage my wide range of experiences to continue building an amazing employee experience and serve as a resource to our growing, fully-remote team.

What is a fun fact about you?

I have been collecting vanilla beans from all over the world for the last few years, after finding an amazing co-op that buys direct from farmers. I primarily use the beans to make my own single and double-strength extract, but also to make vanilla paste, vanilla sugar, and vanilla salt. My current collection spans Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Hawaii, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, Uganda, Burundi, and Mexico. They each have a unique flavor profile based on the type of bean they are, where they are from, and the type of method used to cure them. In case you are wondering - I do own a single vanilla orchid after finally getting my hands on one at a rare plant sale last year. They vine in tropical climates although must be hand-pollinated to bear fruit (i.e. vanilla pods), if I am lucky enough for it to ever flower.

Why did you join Sparrow?

Leave is complicated, and I say that as a mom who has taken two birthing leaves of my own. It is a rare opportunity to be in HR tech as an HR leader, AND to be able to use the same tool internally that improves the lives of fellow industry professionals like me. So I jumped on the opportunity to join Sparrow! After working in high-tech and robotics for over a decade, I was so excited to contribute toward a mission of alleviating a problem that impacts so many individuals directly and indirectly in their time of need.

What is your favorite part of working at Sparrow?

The people here are my favorite part of working at Sparrow. Our mission draws team members who are truly passionate about making a difference not just for our customers, but also for our internal teams. I am impressed every day with how driven our team members are (from leaders to individual contributors) to make positive changes across the organization from: enhancing processes that allow us to better support our customers and our team; to sharing knowledge via office hours and other forums; and my favorite - creating an environment of fun. Although we are fully distributed across 35 states, the relationships our employees are building over everything from their pets to their plants to their cooking hacks is just incredible. I love that I get to spend the first week getting to know every new team member during their initial onboarding program.

What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy gardening and love the tropical Sarasota climate, so I can have a wide selection of edible plants all year long. We currently have our first bunch of bananas growing, and have babied them through our occasional “lows” in the 40’s this winter. We are carefully watching buds on our olive tree in hopes that this year will be the first for olives. I cannot wait to try making olive oil (at least once). Fun fact: my last name, Oliveira, means olive tree in Portuguese. I also enjoy decorating for the fall (very specifically just the fall), and going to concerts featuring EDM DJs.

What’s the last show you binge-watched?

It’s not quite a show, although some of the first few episodes actually did have accompanying images. I’ve been hooked on this audio series from Pocket FM called “Saving Nora” since October of last year. I won’t share any spoilers as there are a LOT of twists along the way, but the series follows 25-year-old Nora Smith on the hunt to find the child that was stolen from her at birth. Along the way, she also confronts The Mysterious Organization, which killed her mother when she was still a baby over research into a genetic modification serum. There are currently 1416 episodes ranging from 5-10 minutes each, and I am up to episode 974. Unfortunately, new episodes don’t release for another year because I caught up to everything released to date so quickly. I can’t justify buying coins to listen to more (except when I have long car rides and just can’t get enough), so I watch ads to unlock a few episodes for free every day.

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

For three months in college, I lived and worked in Valencia, Spain as a marketing intern for a technology company. It was an amazing summer practicing Spanish with my very patient coworkers, boss, and flatmates. Orange trees lined many of the streets, and I thought it was so neat to see Valencian (a local dialect of Catalan) on all of the signs in addition to Spanish. The European Grand Prix took place in Valencia the summer I was there. Although I watched the main race online, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a practice race in person. I still dream of drinking horchata de chufa (a creamy drink made with tigernuts) with fartons (elongated pastries) at the horchateria at the beach. I imported tigernuts that I found on the internet and tried making horchata myself, but it, of course, wasn’t the same or remotely close. I did manage to stuff a paella pan in my suitcase to cook the dish at home, although it doesn’t compare to the delicious paella from Valencia. I hope to bring my family to visit one day!

Want to join our team? Check out our careers page and apply!