By Megan Sayles,
AFRO Business Writer,
Report for America Corps Member,
In July, Baltimore native Camiel Irving became the first ever Black woman general manager of Uber, an aspiration she had since she was a young girl growing up in the Lauraville neighborhood.
As a kid, she looked to Joan Clayton on “Girlfriends” and Gina Waters-Payne on “Martin” as heroes, and she was determined to one day become a business executive.
“It meant that I was fulfilling a dream that I held for myself but also a dream from my mother and grandmother and dreams from my sorority founders and sort of fulfilling this mission of being who I am as a Black woman, as a girl from Baltimore in a position where I could truly influence change,” said Irving. “I think that’s what kind of drives me every day is that I can take my lens and use it to make this level of impact.”
Irving studied sales and marketing at Xavier University of Louisiana. Her coursework had a special emphasis on the role of analytics in driving sales.
She began her professional career in sales, but her desire to become a business executive endured.
Irving earned a master of business administration (MBA) degree at Northwestern University and joined Procter and Gamble (P&G) as a brand manager.
Irving moved to P&G Ventures, the company’s internal start-up element. Among the products she launched is Kindra, a lubricant used to treat menopause symptoms.
This experience sparked her interest in the tech industry.
At Uber, Irving manages rideshare operations in the U.S. and Canada with a focus on driver recruiting and safe operations.
In her role, she leads a team that focuses on recruiting more drivers, refining the driver experience and ensuring all riders receive safe and high-quality service.
She said she has zeroed in on increasing Uber’s pool of riders, targeting mobility around urban areas.
Since Irving became general manager, Uber has delivered its two most profitable quarters in the company’s history led by her division of North America rideshare.
Irving also serves as global career development leader for Black at Uber, an employee resource group for Black workers and allies. In 2020, Uber promised to increase the pipeline of customer service employees, many of whom come from diverse backgrounds, into corporate roles.
Under Irving, Uber customer service employees find it easier to seek a corporate position. She said she would like to expand the capacity for drivers to earn money and increase the use of electric vehicles.
“I want to usher Uber into a future folks don’t have to be burdened by needing to actually own a personal car…Whether you live in the most urban city or farther out in the suburbs, you can kind of plug into this connected mobility ecosystem and get wherever you need to go,” said Irving.
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