The CEO Shadow Program at GitLab is not a job title but a temporary assignment to shadow the CEO. The shadows will be present at all meetings of the CEO. Like all meetings at GitLab, meetings will begin promptly regardless of shadow(s) attendance. GitLab is all remote but the CEO has in-person meetings with external organizations. Therefore, you will stay in San Francisco during the entire rotation and travel with the CEO.
The goal of the shadow program is to give current and future directors and senior leaders at GitLab an overview of all aspects of the company. This should enable leadership to better perform global optimizations. Achieving this overview will come from context gained in meetings attended and learning while performing short-term tasks from across the company. The program will also create opportunities for the CEO to develop relationships with team members across the company and to identify challenges and opportunities earlier. As an additional benefit, Shadows will often connect with one another, developing cross-functional relationships as a positive externality of the Program.
Apart from creating leadership opportunities, the CEO shadow program:
It is because of these additional benefits that the program is worth the extra overhead on the CEO and EBA team.
For now this role is called a CEO shadow to make it clear to external people why a shadow is in a meeting.
Other names considered are:
You are eligible to apply for the program if you are currently or have accepted an offer at GitLab as a:
Considerations are cumulative and can be:
You're also eligible if you work(ed) as an investor or helped with an investment in GitLab in a private round.
Being a CEO shadow is not needed to get a promotion or a raise and should not be a consideration factor for a promotion or raise, as diverse applicants have different eligibilities.
Please keep in mind when selecting dates that the CEO's schedule is fluid and subject to constant change, which in turn means that the CEO shadow rotation is also subject to constant change. The posted dates are not guaranteed. We will work with you to reschedule your rotation if a conflict should arise.
We want many people to be able to benefit from this program, therefore we rotate often. It is important that an incoming person is trained so that the management overhead can be light. Currently, a rotation is two weeks:
The shadow should be available for the full two weeks.
When the CEO has a week or more of paid time off or during Contribute the shadow program will pause, one shadow will "see one" before the break and "teach one" after the break. The rotations with breaks of one or more weeks without a shadow are great if you can't be away from home for more than one week at a time.
If you need childcare to be able to participate, GitLab will reimburse you for it.
This program is not limited just to long-term GitLab team members. For new team members, this might be the first thing they do after completing our onboarding. Exceptional community members may be able to participate, as well.
|Start date||End date||See one||Teach one|
|2020-01-13||2020-01-17||Keanon O'Keefe - Senior Product Manager||Dov Hershkovitch - Senior Product Manager|
|2020-01-20||2020-01-24||Dylan Griffith - Staff Backend Engineer||Keanon O'Keefe - Senior Product Manager|
|2020-01-27||2020-01-31||Brittany Rohde - Manager, Compensation & Benefits||Dylan Griffith - Staff Backend Engineer|
|2020-02-03||2020-02-07||Nadia Vatalidis - Manager, People Operations||Brittany Rohde - Manager, Compensation & Benefits|
|2020-02-10||2020-02-14||James Ramsay - Sr. Product Manager||Nadia Vatalidis - Manager, People Operations|
|2020-02-17||2020-02-21||Chase Wright - Manager, FP&A||James Ramsay - Sr. Product Manager|
|2020-02-24||2020-02-28||Sarah Waldner - Product Manager||Chase Wright - Manager, FP&A|
|2020-03-02||2020-03-06||Shaun McCann - Support Engineering Manager||Sarah Waldner - Product Manager|
|2020-03-09||2020-03-13||AVAILABLE||Shaun McCann - Support Engineering Manager|
|2020-03-23||2020-03-27||NO SHADOWS - CONTRIBUTE||NO SHADOWS - CONTRIBUTE|
|2020-04-06||2020-04-17||NO SHADOWS - PERSONAL||NO SHADOWS - PERSONAL|
|2020-04-20||2020-04-24||David DeSanto - Director of Product, Secure & Defend||AVAILABLE|
|2020-04-27||2020-05-01||AVAILABLE||David DeSanto - Director of Product, Secure & Defend|
If you have questions regarding the planned rotation schedule, please ping the Executive Admin to the CEO. The EBA to the CEO manages the rotation schedule, please do not add new dates to the schedule when adding in your rotation.
Before your scheduled rotation, try to schedule coffee chats with your co-shadows before you start the program. This will give you the opportunity to get to know them and help set goals for the rotation.
Outgoing shadows are responsible for training incoming shadows. We currently track on-boarding in the ceo-shadow project.
The incoming shadow is responsible to create an issue using the
on-boarding template. Assign both incoming and outgoing shadows to the issue.
You will attend all meetings of the CEO, including but not limited to:
You will travel with the CEO to meetings, team off-sites, and conferences outside of San Francisco per the CEO's schedule. Executive Business Admin to the CEO will assist you with conference registration and travel accommodations during these time frames.
The CEO's Executive Business Admin will ask external people if they are comfortable with the Shadow joining prior to the scheduled meeting and will share a link to the CEO Shadow page to provide context.
Meeting agendas should be shared with
firstname.lastname@example.org, as shadows will be added to this email alias prior to the rotation and removed at the conclusion of it.
For agendas that contain sensitive information, the sensitive information should be removed and the document shared with "View only" access to restrict access to the document's history.
Not all agendas will be shared, though, and the CEO Shadows should feel empowered to ask for access if that is the case.
Sometimes the answer will be no for sensitive reasons.
These meetings can have different formats:
You will not attend a meeting when:
The CEO may occasionally invite you to optional meetings that may not be explicitly GitLab related but can help provide insight into his day to day activities. In these activities, it is asked that you not take notes because we don't want you to do work that isn't for GitLab. Also these meetings are optional and you can leave at any time.
This is probably the most open program in the world. It depends on the participants respecting confidentiality, during the program, after the program, and after they leave GitLab.
The value of the CEO shadow program is obtained via the broader context you will derive and the interesting conversations you will witness.
Since a rotation is over a short period there are no long running tasks that you can assume. However, there are many short-term administrative tasks you will also be asked to perform, for example:
#thankschannel in Slack when it comes from a customer or wider community member in a meeting.
CEO Shadows maintain a project called CEO Shadow Tasks. It is linked in the #ceo-shadow Slack channel description. Collect tasks using the first name of the shadow who captured it. Add at the end to indicate who will action it. Once those items have an open MR against them, post in the #ceo-shadow channel.
+next to "Other Calendars". Then click
Subscribe to Calendar, search for the CEO and click enter.
You should always assume that you are taking notes in a meeting unless it is a 1:1 between the CEO and his direct reports or it is explicitly stated not to. If unsure whether or not to take notes, default to taking them or ask the CEO. It is better to have too many notes, than not enough. If there is not already a notes document, see the templates available here.
It's important that everyone encourages others to follow the communication guidelines, not just the CEO. As Shadows, in Group Conversations and other settings, you should remind team members to:
CEO Shadows label the handbook MRs they create with the
It's a point of competition between CEO Shadows to try to best the previous shadows number of merge requests.
In order to ensure continuity across CEO shadow participants. Always, cc
email@example.com on emails as part of the program. This ensure that even after
you've left the program the response and follow up can be tracked.
Shadows are encouraged to follow the CEO's activity on various platforms to gather a complete picture of his everyday engagements and to get additional details on where he directs his attention.
Go to the Slack search bar and type "from:@sid" and it will populate the results.
Follow Sid's Slack activity to follow his everyday engagements
This can be seen on the CEO's GitLab activity log.
See what issues and MRs Sid is interacting with
Go to Sid's twitter account.
Sign up for twitter notifications (twitter account required) to follow his everyday engagements.
An ongoing shadow program with a fast rotation is much more time consuming for the CEO than a temporary program or a rotation of a year or longer. Therefore most organizations either have a shadow for two days or have someone for a year or more. We want to give many people the opportunity to be a shadow so we rotate quickly. To make this happen without having to invest a lot of time to train people coming in we need great documentation. Therefore a quick turnaround on documentation is of paramount importance. And the documentation will have a level of detail that isn't needed in other parts of the organization.
When introducing yourself in a meeting as the first shadow say:
When introducing yourself in a meeting as the second shadow say:
Meetings come in many different formats, and your responsibilities will change based on the kind of meeting.
In video calls, speak up when the CEO's camera isn't working or when the green screen isn't working correctly because of the sun angle.
CEO Shadows should attend the company call if the CEO does. When it comes time for the breakout call, CEO Shadows should attend their own breakout calls. You are encouraged to share your experience as a shadow with your breakout call groups while you are shadowing.
CEO Shadows may be the point of contact for helping coordinate (not schedule) media briefings. Take initiative, for example finding a quiet space for the CEO to take the call, if it is done while traveling. When participating in media briefings, CEO Shadows are to act as silent participants, except when directly asked a question.
When attending events with the CEO, keep the following in mind:
The CEO often has work events that are also social events. In Silicon Valley, social and work are very intertwined. These mostly take the form of lunches or dinners. CEO shadows are invited unless otherwise specified, but there is no expectation or obligation to join, this is an optional part of the program.
If the candidates consent, CEO Shadows will attend interviews performed by the CEO. When scheduling an interview with the CEO, the EBA to CEO will create a shared GoogleDoc for notes between the shadows and the CEO. The doc template can be found by searching "Notes Doc for Candidate Interviews" in Google Drive. If you have any questions, please @ mention the EBA to CEO in #ceo-shadow in slack This notes document is then added to the Scorecard for the candidate in GreenHouse. Shadows should ensure they mark comments they provide with their full name.
When traveling with the CEO, keep the following in mind:
You are welcome to work from Mission Control but it is not required to be present in-person unless there is an in-person meeting, event, or dinner. It's up to you to manage your schedule and get to places on time. If you are traveling somewhere, meet the CEO at Mission Control at the beginning of the allotted travel time listed on the calendar.
If there is a day during your program where all meetings are Zoom meetings, you can work from wherever you want, as your normally would. You can work from Mission Control if you prefer. If you decide to split your day between remote work and working from Mission Control, make sure you give yourself enough time to get to Mission Control and set up for the guest. It's OK to join calls while mobile. In addition, feel free to coordinate or join a co-working day with GitLabbers in the Bay Area. To coordinate join the #loc_bayarea Slack channel.
Shadows are welcome at Mission Control 10 minutes prior to the first meeting until 6pm. Feel free to ask if you can stay later. Don't worry about overstaying your welcome, if Karen or Sid would like privacy they will ask you to leave explicitly.
One more thing: the cat feeder is automatic and goes off daily at 10:22am PT (as well as another time, it's a surprise!). No need to be alarmed by the metallic clanging sound.
Outside of Mission Control hours, shadows have the following options:
When entering the building, the doorperson may ask who you are there to see. Don't say "GitLab" since there is no GitLab office. The doorperson will direct you to the correct lobby.
While there are two sets of keys, it's worthwhile coordinating access to Mission Control with the outbound shadow on your first day. Meeting up on Sunday evening or, at a specific time on Monday morning. This will enable the incoming shadow to be introduced into Mission Control without impacting Sid and/or Karen.
We have six monitors at Mission Control. They should be configured as follows:
Clari Sales Dashboard - This Quarter
Who we replace
Clari Sales Dashboard - Next Quarter
Turning all screens on or off might be challenging since a single remote controls all of them, the easiest way to do that is by covering the tip of the remote with your hand and getting as close as possible to a single screen while turning it on or off.
To configure the sales dashboards:
The wireless mouse and keyboard are connected to the bottom left TV by default because that one is visible from both sides of the conference table. To update the view on another TV, you have to connect the wireless keyboard and mouse to the desired screen. Afterwards don't forget to return it to the bottom left position for use during meetings.
Turning all screens on or off might be challanging since a single remote controls all of them, the easiest way to do that is by covering the tip of the remote with your hand and getting as close as possible to a single screen while turning it on or off.
Each of the screens at Mission Control use an Asus Chromebit to display the preferred content and are connected to the HDMI1 port of each TV. If you turn on the TVs and one displays a blank screen while on the HDMI1 input, the Chromebit may need to be reset. You can do this by power cycling the Chromebit (they are located behind the bottom right TV and and are labeled) connecting the Chromebit to the Keyboard and Mouse and logging into it using the credentials in the "CEO Shadow Vault" via 1Password. Once you have logged into the Chromecst you can quickly find the proper content as listed in Configuring the Screens via the browsers recent history.
To screencast from an iPad or MacBook to the top left screen, switch the "Source" on the top left screen to "Apple TV" (HDMI 2).
Using the larger remote (with the white buttons), you can press the white, center button in the top row of buttons; this will bring up a list of sources. There is a direction pad on the remote towards the bottom that has
< ^ > v buttons as well as the selection button in the center.
When the TV is on the Apple TV source you may need to change the Apple TV to AirPlay mode. The Apple TV remote is the small black one with only 5 buttons. You can click "MENU" until it says AirPlay.
The printer at Mission Control is called
HP Officejet Pro 8610 and is available over AirPlay/Wifi. The printer is located in Sid's office.
Zoom Rooms is an application used for team members not in San Francisco to participate in meetings happening at Mission Control. There's a separate screen (the large one on wheels), a Mac Mini and, iPad at Mission Control for this purpose. The Mac Mini is connected to HDMI1 on the screen and, the iPad operates as a remote control for Zoom Rooms.
The CEO Shadow is often responsible for handling the technical details of coordinating Zoom meetings. If using a webinar, you will need to be a co-host in order to promote folks to panelists for them to be able to verbalize their own questions.
The devices in mission control are configured to auto-update when new versions are available. As a precaution, Shadows in their second week should confirm all software in Mission Control is update to date.
To check that a Samsung TV is up to date:
In preparation for guests (customers, investors, etc.) who will be meeting with the CEO or other team members at Mission Control, please note the following prior to the meeting start:
Lodging during the CEO shadow program is provided by the company. Executive Admin to the CEO books the accommodation based on availability and cost. You can express your preference (hotel or AirBnB) via email to the Executive Admin to the CEO in question, however the final decision is made by the Executive Admin based on the distance from CEO and costs. Executive Admin will provide the accommodation details no earlier than 1 month and no later than 2 weeks before the scheduled rotation.
Accommodation is provided only for the active shadowing period, it is not provided during the shadow program pause (cases when the CEO is unavailable). In case you are coming from a timezone that is more than 6 hours difference with Pacific Time, it is possible to book the weekend before the first shadow work day to adjust to the new timezone.
If your CEO shadow rotation is two consecutive weeks, it is expected you will be staying the weekend. Accommodation is provided during the weekend.
Airfare can be booked according to our travel policy or spending company money policy. In case your shadow rotation includes time without shadowing, it is possible to expense airfare to fly home and back within the continental USA. If you are from outside of the USA, it is also possible to expense airfaire during the time without shadow because of the possible high cost of lodging in San Francisco if you chose to stay at a different location.
At San Francisco International airport (SFO), all rideshare apps (Uber, Lyft, etc) pick up on level 5 of the parking structure. When coordinating travel from SFO to Mission Control with other Shadows, GitLabbers or Sid arranging to meet on level 5 of the parking structure is most efficient as each terminal has its own baggage claim area.
Childcare is provided during the active shadowing period and will be reimbursed via your expense report. You must book the childcare yourself and it is advised you reach out far in advance as childcare "drop-ins" can be limited depending on the week. Currently, GitLab doesn't have a "Backup Care" program so you must tell the childcare it is for a "drop-in". Depending on your hotel accommodations, finding a nearby daycare is most convenient or a daycare nearby the Millennium tower. Some childcare facilities will require payment at end-of-day or end-of-week via cash/check only so request an invoice/receipt for expense submission purposes.
Past Childcare facilities that have been accommodating:
We understand that participation in the CEO Shadow program is optional and can cause hardships at home. To help overcome these challenges and to allow flexibility for parents to participate, there will be some weeks identified as "parent-friendly". These are weeks where Sid doesn't need a shadow for the full 5 workdays or where the program is split so the weeks are not consecutive.
Suzy likes attention and will invite you to pet her. Please don't pet her after/when she meows since that reinforces the meowing which can be annoying during calls and the night. You can pick her up but she doesn't like it much and will jump out after about 30 seconds.
If you are allergic to cats and don't want to wash your hands everytime after petting Suzy you can gently paddle pet her using ping pong paddles available in Mission Control.
The white pillow on the sofa in Mission Control is the only place to paddle pet Suzy. She really enjoys it when you gently pat her sides with the ping pong paddles when she is on the white pillow, if she steps off the pillow stop petting her. When she gets back onto the pillow you can resume gently paddle petting her.
The list is administered by the
ceo-shadow@ email address. Login to Yelp with the credentials in the CEO Shadow 1Password vault to add restaurants, update notes, or remove items from the collection.
Occasionally food trucks or restaurants have loyalty rewards cards. It is not required but if you get one and want to leave it for future Shadows to use please add to this list and put the reward card in the CEO Shadow drawer at Mission Control.
Prospective CEO shadows can read, listen and watch key takeaways from program alumni below.
CEO Shadow program alumni are welcome to join the #ceo-shadow-alumni slack channel to stay in touch after the program.
|Start date||End date||Name||Title||Takeaways|
|2019-03||2019-04||Erica Lindberg||Manager, Content Marketing||CEO shadow learnings video|
|2019-04||2019-05||Mayank Tahil||Alliances Manager|
|2019-04||2019-05||Tye Davis||Sr. Technical Marketing Manager||Without a shadow of a doubt: Inside GitLab's CEO shadow program|
|2019-05||2019-06||John Coghlan||Evangelist Program Manager||5 Things you might hear when meeting with GitLab's CEO|
|2019-06||2019-06||Cindy Blake||Sr. Product Marketing Manager||CEO shadow learnings video|
|2019-06||2019-06||Nnamdi Iregbulem||MBA Candidate at Stanford University|
|2019-06||2019-06||Clinton Sprauve||PMM, Competitive Intelligence|
|2019-06||2019-07||Lyle Kozloff||Support Engineering Manager|
|2019-07||2019-07||Marin Jankovski||Engineering Manager, Deliver|
|2019-07||2019-08||Danae Villarreal||Sales Development Representative, West|
|2019-08||2019-08||Daniel Croft||Engineering Manager, Package||GitLab, CEO Shadow August 2019 week one, mind blown|
|2019-08||2019-08||Emilie Schario||Data Engineer, Analytics||What I learned about our CEO's job from participating in the CEO Shadow Program|
|2019-08||2019-08||Kenny Johnston||Director of Product, Ops|
|2019-08||2019-09||JJ Cordz||Senior Marketing Operations Manager|
|2019-09||2019-09||Eric Brinkman||Director of Product, Dev|
|2019-09||2019-10||Danielle Morrill||General Manager, Meltano|
|2019-10||2019-10||Mek Stittri||Director of Quality|
|2019-10||2019-11||Kyla Gradin||Mid Market Account Executive|
|2019-10||2019-11||Clement Ho||Frontend Engineering Manager, Monitor:Health|
|2019-11||2019-11||Brendan O'Leary||Sr. Solutions Manager|
|2019-11||2019-11||Gabe Weaver||Sr. Product Manager, Plan: Project Management|
|2019-11||2020-01||Chenje Katanda||Technical Account Manager|
|2020-01||2020-01||Dov Hershkovitch||Senior Product Manager, Monitor|