Startup Stories: Q&A With Thrive Member Services Trainer, Dillon Ryan

October 12, 2018

Welcome to Startup Stories, a series that takes you behind the scenes to share what working at a startup is really like. Our mission at Thrive Market is simple: to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. But fulfilling our big dreams takes a team of dedicated, inspiring, funny, and tenacious people who show up to work every day eager to make a difference.

Today we’re introducing you to our member services trainer, Dillon Ryan, who knows his way around a bag of protein powder, and loves empowering his team every day! Read on for our interview!

Let’s start with the basics. Can you describe your role at Thrive Market?

My primary role at Thrive Market is to ensure that all of the new specialists who join the Member Services team are well equipped to handle any question a member may have about an order, their membership, or the website. This involves leading new employees through a three-week training program focusing on three key areas: First, providing solid background information on Thrive Market as a company, which includes our values and mission. Second, teaching the specialists how to use all of our internal systems. And third, providing basic training on the many diets and lifestyles all of our members follow.

Startup Stories: Dillon Ryan

When I’m not training a new group of specialists, my time is focused on keeping the Member Services team updated on new product launches, website changes, policy updates, and much more. In hopes of having a more engaging and thoughtful conversations with our members, we’re always developing supplemental trainings to further everyone’s knowledge. On top of that, I also help ensure our team has what they need to be successful in their role, and provide any coaching and guidance that can help create a more amazing member experience.

Is there anything people misunderstand about your job, or something that might surprise members to learn about your work?

When most people imagine customer service training, they often think of simply covering the company’s main basics, how to use the systems, and what the policies are. In reality, things are constantly changing across the company, so it’s important to make sure everyone on the member services team is updated on what’s new and coming on the horizon. A lot of information is passed between different departments daily, much of which is very relevant to the member services team. Taking that information and breaking it down to what is most important for the member services team to know, and how to communicate it to all of our members in a digestible way, is a huge part of the role.

You’re one of the O.G. Thrive Market employees! What have you enjoyed most about being part of the growth, and now, training our member services team?

Overall, just looking back at how far we have come since the beginning has been incredible. Everything from the development of the website, to launching our mobile app, to creating new features on the site that add more value to our members (like choose your own GWP and Thrive Cash) has had a huge impact on our members’ lives.

On the training side, I’ve enjoyed being able to meet each new specialist that joins the member services team. Being able to impart what knowledge I’ve gained since the beginning, and to see my peers continue to grow professionally within the company has been truly amazing to be a part of, and I could not be more grateful.

What does a typical day look like? Do you have any routines or rituals that help you feel your best? Or a favorite nibble to grab from the kitchen, perhaps?

I try to keep a very consistent daily routine that starts with me touching base with every specialist on the team. I like to make sure everyone has what they need and is feeling good for the day. In the afternoon, I try to disconnect for a bit and read while I eat lunch—it’s something I enjoy and always helps me relax. I prep a lot of my weekly meals over the weekend and don’t really snack during the day, however, we’re lucky to have kombucha on tap in the kitchen, so I do like to pour myself a cup in the late afternoon. I find it very refreshing! Also, I feel like it provides a bit of a pick me up that helps me power through the rest of the day, even though it’s a very small dose of caffeine.

Startup Stories: Dillon Ryan

What inspires you to live a healthy lifestyle? Is there something in particular that drew you to Thrive Market?

I’ve always felt that it’s essential for everyone to take the time to care of themselves, both mentally and physically. In order to do that, it’s important to make sure that what you’re putting in and on your body is made with high quality and natural ingredients. Over the last five years or so, I’ve been very conscious of the food that I consume, as well as the essential products I use, which is what initially drew me towards Thrive Market. My lifestyle and values aligned perfectly with the company, and I felt it would be a perfect fit.

As I learned more, something else that drew me in was the overall mission and work done through the Thrive Gives program. Allowing low-income families and individuals across the country access to all of our natural, non-GMO, organic products for free is absolutely incredible. All of this makes me feel great about the work I do on a daily basis.

When do you feel most successful or proud of your work?

We strive to provide the best member experience around. When I hear how someone on the team was able to make a member feel taken care of, even if they started the conversation because of a less-than-positive experience, I get really energized. There are so many cases of our member services specialists going above and beyond to make sure members feel heard, and that makes me feel wonderful about the work we do as a team.

Give us a peek at what you eat during the day—breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack!

I like to work out before I come to the office, so I’ll have a small breakfast of Greek-style yogurt mixed with berries and protein powder. This gives me enough energy to power through a workout without feeling full. Next, I’ll have a high-carb and high-protein meal to recover, like protein muffins that I bake over the weekend, which consist of egg whites, oat flour, blueberries and protein powder. For lunch I’ll eat chicken, sweet potatoes and green beans, which gives me enough energy through the afternoon. Then, I like to have one more full meal in the evening, which always consists of a six-ounce piece of salmon and a few cups of brussels sprouts. I finish my day with a nice high-protein dessert before bed. Usually it involves melting 100% dark chocolate and stirring it into some yogurt and protein powder with some rolled oats added in for a little texture. I look forward to it every night!

Startup Stories: Dillon Ryan

What’s one thing you want others to know about Thrive Market, that they might not learn from ordering, reading the blog, or visiting the website?

Every single person I’ve worked with at Thrive Market never settles. We’re always looking at ways to improve the experience of our members. Take our new “Choose Your Own GWP” feature. For the longest time, we’ve offered members the ability to receive a free gift when they place an order on the website. This is an awesome feature, but it’s always been limited to the day’s promotional offer. We now allow members to choose from a variety of free gifts, any day of the week, which allows members to try new items they may fall in love with, or get some of their favorite items for free!

Last but not least, what’s your favorite Thrive Market product and why?

I honestly think this one product has been in every single one of my orders: Thrive Market Organic Coconut Amino Sauce! The flavor is fantastic, with the perfect balance of salty, savory, and sweet. For me, the consistency is perfect. It’s thicker than some of the other aminos out there, but not so much that it feels like a heavy sauce. Lastly, it’s super versatile—I’ve yet to find a savory meal that the aminos don’t complement perfectly.

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Nicole Gulotta

Nicole Gulotta is a writer, author, and tea enthusiast.

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