Meet Colin, our Head of Partner Operations in Berlin

In our sixth edition of Meet the Crew, we chat with Colin about his career development, passions, and more.

Can you tell us a little about the work you do at Blacklane?

Partner Management is Blacklane’s second-biggest department. We are taking care of everything in connection to our supply base — our chauffeur partners. At the moment I am in charge of Partner Operations which consists of Partner Acquisition and Partner Support. The teams are taking care of our operations in the main regions of Americas, EMEA and APAC.

Our mission in Partner Acquisition is to grow our chauffeur supplier network, onboard the right partners, and ensure they are ready to deliver the Blacklane experience — bringing peace of mind to our guests around the world.

Among other things, the Partner Support Team is responsible for the newsletter, help center, and other communication channels like emails and chat. We want to ensure that all the partners get the support they deserve.

What made you want to join Blacklane?

I joined Blacklane in 2015 when I was very new to Berlin. I remember arriving at the headquarters almost two hours before the interview as I was unsure of the Berlin public transport system. I ended up drinking gallons of coffee and waiting for the interview.

Although the reasons might be different today, back then I was looking for a diverse and creative start-up company to proceed with my ambitions of joining the tech scene and pursuing a career.

The week when I was interviewed was the week of the big move (from the previous office — an apartment in the heart of Kreuzberg to this giant five-floor industrial building in Schöneberg), so the people were still busy unpacking all the boxes. The people were super friendly and made me feel very welcome and comfortable. The vibe was also very extraordinary, you would know that the company was fun and a place to be. To my surprise I got an offer on the same day in the afternoon so it was a very fast process.

How has Blacklane helped you with your career?

Blacklane definitely plays a major role in my career development. I have been in various roles and departments throughout my time at Blacklane. This enabled me to better grasp the needs of different stakeholders and see topics from different angles. It definitely helped me to grow into the person I want to be and also made it clear to me what my strengths are and what I want to achieve in the future. I believe my career at Blacklane is the foundation of my development.

I have also been actively pursuing university degrees in the past years so applying the learnings from my modules in real industry cases is very helpful. I am now finalizing my thesis on driver onboarding strategies which is another great fit with my current role.

How has your experience with Blacklane evolved over time?

Throughout my time here I was able to get to know many talented people and also learn a lot from them. I would say over the course of the last seven years both Blacklane and I have shaped our inner selves and went through different stages.

I remember how much effort and love our Office Management Team would put into organizing our “Freaky Friday” events to make sure that the Blacklaners can connect and celebrate weekly achievements and get to know each other for a drink or two. Many friendships have evolved through these events and many memories will stay.

Can you tell me about a project that you’ve been excited to work on?

There were definitely many exciting projects. To name a few, bringing our 24/7 operations in 2018 from Berlin to all kinds of hubs across the world in order to kill the night shifts was an exciting one! The senior leadership decided to open offices in the U.S., Australia, and Singapore to introduce a decentralized model and bring in more work/life balance to the crew. It always leaves me with a smile to see that even today our global teams are using the standup frameworks I brought in years ago.

Organizing and representing Blacklane at ITBs (Internationale Tourismus-Börse, a yearly travel trade show) were other amazing projects, but the most memorable business trip for me was definitely flying to Bologna and launching our Emirates services on the ground.

I am very passionate about structuring, optimizing, and building tech operations, so recently I am owning the OKR process in our department and steering the restructuring of Partner Management. This is a really great opportunity to apply lean and change management directly in my team and make sure we reach our ambitious plans of acquiring and growing our supply network around the globe.

What is the one thing you like most about working with your colleagues?

The people in Blacklane are super nice and caring. I absolutely adore my teams. They are just some really amazing individuals who make all the things fun and make the days fly by. Also people offer support and show proactiveness, which is something that should not be taken for granted. I owe a lot to my colleagues and ex-colleagues that taught me much. Also, Blacklane is strong about its core values, which every member of the team has to follow no matter their role. The values are about mutual respect and ensuring everyone feels welcome. I think this is really important and breaches are not tolerated.

What would you like people to know about Blacklane?

You never get bored here. The company is fun, you can learn a lot and you can really make a difference if you want. At the moment we are hiring two new roles for my team in Florida so if you are interested, check this out.

Do you have any tips for someone applying to join the team?

Be honest, authentic and read the core values. If you don’t comply 100% with the requirements, still do apply. But, do read the role description and have an understanding of what is expected.