COOLEST JOBS IN TECH: An Instagram employee who works in sports partnerships on money advice, diversity, and the best company perks
- Shanae Dixon has a cool tech job: She works in sports partnerships at Instagram.
- The former high school football player works closely with athletes, teams, and leagues, and finds ways to incorporate Instagram in big sports events like the College Football Playoffs.
- Dixon spoke with Business Insider about the work project she’s most proud of to date, her best piece of money advice for young tech workers, and her favorite flavors of free Instagram gelato.
This article is part of Business Insider’s series, Coolest Jobs in Tech, which highlights people who work in unusual, exciting, or futuristic roles in the tech industry and provides an inside look at a day in the life.
Shanae Dixon works in sports partnerships for Instagram, but she never thought she’d end up working in tech or sports.
Dixon, who’s based in Instagram’s New York office, was on her 3rd internship at a bank when she realized it wasn’t a fit for her. An opportunity came up to work at Facebook, and the rest, she says, is history.
“As soon as I stepped onto the Menlo Park campus, I’m like, ‘This is the place for me,'” Dixon told Business Insider.
These days she works with sports media, athletes, teams, and leagues, helping to find ways to incorporate Instagram into big events like the College Football Playoffs. Dixon brings firsthand football knowledge to the job: She was a defensive end for her high school’s football team.
We talked to Dixon about everything from her best piece of money advice for young people starting out in tech to her favorite Instagram perks.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Walk me through your morning routine. When you wake up, what’s your morning look like? What time do you get to work?
We have these things called sacred cows — what are our sacred things are that the team should be aware of so we can plan around it. My sacred cow is that I need to work out in the morning, so no meetings before 10. I’ll wake up around 7 — I live in Brooklyn, so I’ll probably get to the city around 8, go to the Crunch at Union Square by 8:15, work out until 9:15, come to the office and shower, grab breakfast on [floor] 8, and then by like 10 a.m., I’m at my desk answering emails.
What do you wear to work?
I am literally wearing head-to-toe Nike — a sweatshirt and sneakers, very casual. And I love that. This is who I am. I love athleisure. I just love being relaxed.
What is one project or one thing you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of?
For the college football championship, we wanted to build a longer-form video series for a select few schools to highlight their football culture on IGTV. We selected 5 “playmakers” and tasked them with creating episodic content that highlighted their school’s football culture throughout the season. Then we had those 5 students take over the CFP Instagram account during the College Football Playoffs.
It’s a stepping stone for what I plan to work on moving forward, because I like elevating student voices or voices that you’re not typically used to hearing. This iteration of IGTV Playmakers — it was Year One — we worked with 5 “playmakers” who were all white men. Moving forward we’re being intentional about: How do we highlight women’s sports? How do we have women’s voices? To give the opportunities for education, mentorship, and exposure to women.
I have to ask because I have been to the Instagram office in New York and I know about the gelato: What is your favorite Instagram perk?
I am very close with the gelato team downstairs, so they know my order, which is black sesame and pistachio. But with company perks, I’m a huge foodie — a self-titled foodie — and I love that I don’t have to worry about breakfast, lunch, and dinner, because then I have a lot more flexibility with my disposable income on the weekends to explore different foods.
What’s a piece of money advice that you would give to someone just starting out in tech, or one thing that someone told you early on that has really stuck with you?
I think the biggest thing that I would say is definitely set a realistic budget. I think when I first started out I was dedicating a full paycheck and change to all of my savings: investments, my 401(k) — it was very restrictive. Setting a realistic budget allows you to have fun and live your life but also helps you accomplish those financial goals.
The second piece would be maximize. Take full advantage of the benefits here. Talk to the people who are veterans within the walls and have them tell you about the perks — the hidden perks — so you can take advantage of all of that.
Do you have any advice for people that want to make diversity a focus for themselves professionally, in any type of position?
What it boils down to is finding a lane. One of my great mentors said to me, don’t try to boil the ocean — it’s just about finding that little piece that you can work on.