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An inspired career: Mentorship

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Written by Life at Pinterest Team

An inspired career starts and continues at Pinterest. One key component of growth and development is mentorship. We sat down with our Mentors of the Year, individuals who were mentors to our Pinterest interns and displayed outstanding dedication and commitment to guiding our interns throughout their journey. You’ll learn what it means to be a mentor, how this opportunity has helped each of them further their career paths at Pinterest and what they’re currently Pinning. 


Skyler Anderson, Machine Learning Engineer II 

Hi, I’m Skyler, an ML Engineer based in Seattle. I’ve been at Pinterest for a year and a half working on the Ads Identity Modeling team, where we build models foundational to our advertising platform to improve the Pinner experience and advertiser performance. From the data collection to model serving, there is never a dull moment working on our cutting edge systems. It’s what brought me to Pinterest, and it’s what keeps me excited every day.

I have been lucky to have incredible mentors that helped shape the direction of my career, so as a mentor myself, I aim to pay that forward. I’m always impressed by our Pinterns. They bring a new perspective and excitement that is refreshing for the entire team. As a mentor, my role is to help someone become the best version of themselves. That starts by ensuring that their time at Pinterest is fun and also productive towards their own professional development. By helping to channel their excitement and energy in the right direction, together we can start to identify what kind of work they are passionate about and form a vision for their career. 

After acclimating to the Seattle rain for a few years now, I am learning to embrace the weather and have been Pinning lots of holiday recipes and winter soups to get that warm feeling on a cold day. 


Madelyn Tavarez Reyes, Sr. Software Engineer 

Hi, I’m Madelyn, a Software Engineer working across API and Android. I’m currently living in Miami, after spending five years working in San Francisco at Pinterest headquarters. Throughout my time at Pinterest, I’ve worked on a variety of teams that make an impact across the product. Today, I work on the Inclusive Product team which focuses on making Pinterest a more inclusive place for everyone. Some of our features include skin tone ranges, hair pattern search and body type technology.

For me, being a mentor means helping someone find work they are passionate about, that excites them and helps them develop the skills they are interested in developing. This also includes simultaneously helping them expand their network and meet other people that can help contribute to their growth and professional development. It also means helping them feel like they belong at the company and in this industry. I’ve been so incredibly lucky to have amazing mentors like Sha Sha Chu throughout my time at Pinterest, who have helped me learn what it means to be a great mentor. I’ve also been blessed with incredibly talented mentees that I learn so much from and am inspired by - while they’re with us during their internship and beyond.

These days I’m Pinning a ton of holiday home decor content as I’m gearing up to redecorate for the holiday season. 


Nikil Pancha, Staff Machine Learning Engineer

Hi, I’m Nikil, a Machine Learning Engineer based in San Francisco on the Applied Science team. We differ slightly from other teams in that a large part of our job is working with other teams to advance ML and improve the user experience at Pinterest. As a result, I’ve spent almost five years working on whatever fun ML problems we’ve needed to solve. I have primarily focused on representation learning – learning embeddings to represent various entities, and from time to time, I work on other models. The last area I work on is optimizing things.

For me, mentoring someone is primarily about trying to ensure that everyone has as much fun as possible, subject to the constraints of meeting their own career goals and providing value to Pinterest. A good mentor should be able to help meet these constraints with minimal cost. I had a great mentor when I joined Pinterest, who encouraged me to solve interesting problems that impact the Pinner experience, while also helping me advance my career.

These days, I mostly surf Pinterest to find recipe ideas. I am very interested in finding new cake and cookie recipes (ideally involving tea in some form).


Jae Hyun, Software Engineer II

Hi, I’m Jae and I’m a Software Engineer living in Seattle. I’ve been at Pinterest for a little over four years and work on the Upper Funnel Measurement Products team. I am lucky to have some great mentors at Pinterest without whom I would not be where I am today. Being a mentor this summer meant that I got to carry that legacy forward by supporting and encouraging my own mentee in his growth journey. The experience of being a mentor has put me one step forward in becoming the mentor I strive to be one day. I want to be a mentor who remembers what it was like to begin a new career and a mentor who validates and celebrates even what might seem like the smallest wins. I think it’s easy to forget what support feels like at the beginning of a career. That time is fleeting. Being a mentor has helped me stay connected to that experience and remember that we all started in the same place.

I know I want to strive to be a better engineer. I’ll keep learning and evolving and someday hope to be an engineer that others look up to. What I know for certain is that I want my experience as I move through my career to be about helping to bolster others as I’ve been lucky enough to garner myself. The legacy I hope to leave is to have a positive impact on my workplace culture. Being a mentor at Pinterest has given me a chance to start to build that, and I can’t wait to see what other opportunities lie ahead. 

I’ve been Pinning small bedroom inspirations! Is it really that much of a design faux pas to have the bed against a wall?! 


We hope you enjoyed learning more about mentorship at Pinterest. Our internship and new grad applications are now open along with other full-time opportunities to join the team. Discover your next role here

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