This past Wednesday, I was lucky enough to attend YieldMo’s #WomenCrushWednesday event. It was the second in their Sizzling Summer Tech Series. The series includes panel discussions with some of the brightest and most successful women in the tech industry today.
Gleaning their knowledge on the panel this time around was: Amy Coveny, a Senior Director at Rubicon Project, Daniela Chunga, Vice President of Front End Development at Boyle Software (she’s also the Pop Culture editor for an online magazine called the Royal Flush in her downtime…), Jane Kim, Head of AB Testing and Optimization at Yieldmo, Cecilia Lang, Global Vice President of the Washington Post, Sarah Tran, Stategic Partner Lead at Google, and Dheerja Kaur, Head of Product at theSkimm.
I was in awe of these women, who all hold extremely impressive current roles and have had really interesting career paths. I consider myself lucky to have come away with the wisdom that they bestowed upon all of the attendees.
A common theme that all of the women stressed was the importance of speaking up. Cecilia Lang highlighted that whether you don’t understand something everyone else seems to be talking about and are hesitant to ask for clarification, or want to ask for someone’s help but are nervous that they might not respond well, you will never solve anything unless you make your voice heard. Just be sure to be succinct, get to the point, and know exactly what you are asking for!
Another great point that was brought up by Daniela Chunga, is that even when something seems impossible, the only way you will ever grow is if you give it a shot. Chunga explained how early in her career she was overwhelmed with an extremely difficult project, but after challenging herself to figure it out, she was only that much more confident in her abilities and felt very accomplished.
The importance of work-life balance was also noted. Amy Coveny insists that it is essential to make time for a personal life, and that it adds more value to your professional growth. She mentioned how some of her best ideas come to her when she is enjoying her favorite things, like yoga and snowboarding.
Dheerja Kaur added to this and agreed that, as difficult as it may be in startup life with everyone working around the clock, it is necessary for your sanity to step away from the computer and shut down every once in awhile.
Something else that inevitably came up was the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. Jane Kim has been around this, as one of few females in her field, and said if one is ever confronted with a situation like this, writing an email is usually the best approach, so the exchange you have is backed with a record.
Sarah Tran also touched on this, mentioning that it is always best to seek advice from someone that you trust in your office, whether that is a peer, manager, or someone in HR. Further reiterating the importance of speaking up!
Tran also said that whenever you are having any type of issue, it is best to flip it to your team for guidance. She sited one particular incidence when her coworkers helped her through a difficult problem she was having over lunch!
This just scratches the surface of everything that was discussed last week. All of these women are great role models, and great examples of people to emulate both professionally, and as people.