In 7 Hours With, we explore the routines of leading professionals in their space to learn the when, why, where and how they work. In each diary, we will look at what they’re doing at seven different check-ins throughout their day.
Lisa Bernier is a Program Manager of Social Impact at BARK, makers of BarkBox, a monthly subscription service providing dog products, services, and experiences. BarkBox serves happiness to over 2 million+ dog homes.
4:30 AM, Brooklyn
My foster dog woke me up at 4:30 this morning to go to the bathroom, so I let him out into our backyard. I have two dogs of my own (a coonhound, Pepper Potts, and a doxie, Andi), but I also volunteer through Foster Dogs NYC, so I often have a foster dog that I help take care of. I’m a huge advocate of fostering, but foster dogs require an additional level of care and understanding (it’s a new environment for them). This morning my foster puppy wants to go outside at 4:30 AM, so I let him.
7 AM, Brooklyn
After going back to bed for a few hours, I now start my day at a normal time. I feed all three dogs and then let them out into our little backyard area immediately after everyone is fed. Sometimes I will also walk my bigger dog around the block if she decides to be super lazy and declines to go into our backyard area.
On any given morning, I either make coffee at home, or get a cup from And/Or near the Lorimer stop on my way to work. This morning I get coffee en route to the subway, with my doxie and foster dog in tow. I leave my hound at home because she is loud and a little bit disruptive — everyone is happier when she isn’t at work with me. It’s a win-win.
I grab a large drip coffee with room for milk at And/Or, since I don’t really have the time to wait around for a latte or something fancy. I’m also dragging two dogs into the coffee shop with me, so I’m really trying to make it as quick as possible. Then I get myself to the L train, which I take into Manhattan.
9:30 AM, BARK Office
By 9:30, I’ve finished my commute to work with the two dogs (it takes about 40 minutes when they’re both with me), and arrive at the BARK offices. Everyday I try to get in around 9:30 or 10. In my role at BARK, I help manage “Bark For Good,” our social impact group. BARK has over 1,000 rescue and shelter partners across the US and Canada, and one of our main goals is to help coordinate donations to shelters in need. We also work a lot on education. We feel very strongly that dogs are individuals and our goal is to make all dogs happy. A lot of our education is helping people learn how to communicate with their dogs better.
Once I get to work, I help the dogs settle in and immediately open my emails to see if there’s anything that needs to be dealt with right away. We also use Slack, so I check to see if there’s anything there that I need to respond to ASAP. If the coast is clear, I open my calendar to see if I’ve got any meetings for the day so I can start prepping. Today is Monday, and every Monday I have a check-in with my manager at 11:30 AM, so I think about what I want to review with her.
11:30 AM, BARK Office
I have my check-in with my boss, which also doubles as a dog walk for Andi and my foster. It’s so nice to have a walking meeting. After our check-in, I start working on organizing logistics of a volunteer team trip we’re taking to Puerto Rico to help with the Sato Project’s Spay-A-Thon. The main goal is to help residents of Puerto Rico get their pet’s health back on track. This is the third round of the event, and I think their goal is to spay around 20,000 animals. Right now I’m helping coordinate that and plan travel/schedule for several team-members. It’s only one week away, so I spend a lot of my time today getting those logistics sorted.
I also check my email again to see if anything else has come up. I generally check my email pretty often, especially if I’m coordinating something time-sensitive. At least 3-5 times a day. But I try to not dip into email too late in the evening, so I can shut off and prep for the rest of the night. With Slack, I don’t have it on my phone, mainly because I don’t want to be bombarded with work on the weekends.
Andi and my foster also hang out with my at my desk while I do work.
1 PM, BARK Office
Around midday, I look into our shelter database and check if there’s anything that needs to be updated. I work closely with our logistics team coordinating the donation of excess inventory, so I like to make sure I’ve got the right contact information for our partners.
I also usually eat lunch around this time of day, and by “lunch” I mean I grab some free food. We’re a start-up, so having lots of food around is pretty typical. Today I grab a PowerBar and some ramen. It’s perfect for a cold day. I eat at my desk, which I know isn’t the best. Sometimes I even forget to eat lunch, so setting aside even 10 minutes to grab some food is a win for me. It’s very rare that I go outside to get food — if I feel like I need to splurge, it’s usually through Seamless.
I feed the pups at my desk, too, and play with them a bit. There are lots of dogs at the office, and they rarely ever get bored. I have to watch the foster a bit more closely than my doxie, who is six years old, but he’s been doing great. I think having dogs in the office is amazing — it definitely relieves stress in general and injects a sense of humor into the day. You can only take yourself so seriously when you see a bulldog staring at you across the table. It also allows people who have a dog to stay in the office for longer, because then you don’t have to rush to get home to walk your pup.
6:30 PM, BARK Office
I’ve spent my afternoon sorting out logistics for the Spay-A-Thon and organizing travel plans, making sure everything is finalized.
I’ve also taken the dogs to the off-leash play area of the office as well a few hours ago, where they could play. I love working at BARK because it’s filled with dog-crazy people who are all so passionate about what they do. If there’s a cool project you’re interested in, you have the opportunity to go after it and take it on.
Around 6:30 or 7 I head back home on the subway. I try and always get home before 8, because while my hound does get a walker during the day, she usually needs to go out again in the evening. Once I’m home, I let my hound out first, and then I feed everyone. My dogs eat abnormally fast.
While everyone is eating, I start to make my dinner. These days I tend to cook at home, versus ordering out, which helps me budget better. I’ve been trying to make very simple soups or chicken, even a frozen dinner. I usually block the kitchen off from the pups while I eat, since they’re super food-motivated and if I let them in while I’m eating, I will have no peace. I like to watch Netflix (I’m recently very into Korean variety shows) or YouTube while I eat my dinner, it helps me relax after a long day.
11 PM, Brooklyn
I head to bed around 11 PM after cleaning up the kitchen after cooking dinner, watching some TV, and spending sufficient time with the dogs. I typically try to stay off my computer when I’m home, and my hound really helps me because she doesn’t like when I’m on my computer. She sees me typing and smacks me with her paw, which helps me relax and remind me that I can get to all of this work tomorrow!
When I head to bed at 11, my dogs do too, and we’re out for the night (until my foster has to pee in the early hours of the morning).