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Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day at Asana

Asana Engineering TeamEngineering Team
June 25th, 2019
3 min read
Asana Engineering community update: August 21-25

This Sunday was International Women in Engineering Day, a celebration of women in engineering and their achievements, now in its 100th year. This year we thought we’d celebrate by spotlighting an incredible group of women engineers who work here at Asana.

We’ve cultivated an inclusive environment to ensure that women in engineering can thrive at Asana, from providing coaching benefits and mentorship at every career stage to a monthly Gigabytes lunch. Here’s what this group of Asana women had to say about why they love working in engineering and how to grow—personally and professionally. Check out their stories!

Why do you love being an engineer at Asana?

“I love being an engineer at Asana because I like seeing how I impact our users. It’s so much more than just changing the UI. We’re empowered to iterate and think about customer usage as well as product strategy.” – Sophia Yao, Software Engineer (San Francisco)

I’m empowered to make things better. In addition to program work, Asana has off sprints, where, for a one week every quarter, engineers are free to work on anything beneficial to Asana. During one off sprint, I noticed a scheduling problem our team coordinators face every year. My manager not only encouraged me to talk to my program lead to get more time to work on this project, but also helped me clean up the data set that will be used in my project.” –Chi Tong, Software Engineer (New York)

Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day at Asana (Image 1)

“‘Fix problems even if they’re not yours’ is still one of my favorite commitments. While this has been more challenging to uphold as we get bigger and each team has goals that they are accountable for, we still celebrate this. It helps that it’s a commitment that we keep repeating and can be used as motivation to do work you wouldn’t have otherwise!” – Bella Kazwell, Core Features Engineering Lead (San Francisco)

“I love working at a company where we use our own product. All the beta features are at my disposal, which is really fun because I can play with the new things as they’re being designed and tested. I can put myself in the shoes of our users, feel their joy and their pain, and learn that not all users are like me.” – Kate Reading, Engineering Manager (San Francisco)

“I like how much ownership over projects you have at Asana. I like being able to find ideas for features, talk to PMs and get to run with them.” – Denise Sanders, Product Engineer (Vancouver)

“I love that the Engineering team at Asana encourages a thoughtful and collaborative decision-making process. Instead of defaulting to the easiest route, we make informed technical decisions through written proposals and discussions with other engineers.” – Michelle Shu, Product Engineer (New York)

What comes to mind when you think of growth as an engineer?

“I think about growth and development as a tool to cultivate ownership. The more responsibility you give someone, the more ownership they have. Asana provides a wide range of growth paths for engineers. Engineers at Asana get to really think about the details of what they want to do, instead of feeling like there are limited ways for them to have high impact. Having clear goals and direction are important tools as well, so that each person knows what success looks like and how to get there.” – Rachel Miller, Engineering Manager (New York)

“Growth in my role means leading larger initiatives, having a bigger say in the technical direction and growth of the team, and delivering a site that has more significant business impact. It also looks like learning to be a better mentor, leader, and resource for my team members!” –Cait Powell, Lead Web Engineer (San Francisco)

Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day at Asana (Image 2)

“I value the emphasis on personal development. Whether it’s learning new technical skills or improving my communication and relationships with others, Asana has supported my growth.” – Michelle Shu

“There are a lot of other engineering managers to learn from and share perspectives with, but they’re also interested in learning from me because my background is different. When I have different ideas to offer, I’m able to discuss these openly with the group. Part of this comes from Conscious Leadership training, which Asana offers to everyone, not just managers. – Kate Reading

Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day at Asana (Image 3)

What is the best advice that you’ve received, or want to share?

“Decide what your priorities are, then make your calendar match. Want to go deep on a technology? Set aside time to play with it. Want to learn more about how the systems you work on are used? Ask folks outside your team to show you!” –Ruthie BenDor, Head of Web Development (San Francisco)

“Make sure you’re actively looking for growth opportunities. Pick the ones that are exciting to you and focus on those. Once you’re working on them, actively solicit feedback from the people around you. How are you doing? What could be better? Find a mentor and ask them how they approach the same sorts of problems. Continuing to grow keeps work rewarding!” –Megan Daly, Software Engineer (San Francisco)

Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day at Asana (Image 4)

We hired you for a reason and if you don’t know what it is, ask. Don’t lose sight of it. There’s this balance between sitting back and learning the culture and the perspectives of those around you and then offering up opposing opinions. Also, bring it! Your unique experience and ideas are why you’re here!” – Kate Reading

“I once heard this joke, ‘Weeks of programming saved hours of planning’ and I realized it was true. Planning out what I wanted to make and how I was going to test it made me a faster, more thoughtful engineer.” – Denise Sanders

Supporting and celebrating women engineers worldwide

We’re thrilled that we get to celebrate the accomplishments of women engineers around the world—and within our very own offices at Asana. See how you can take your engineering career to the next level at Asana: We’re growing our engineering teams in San Francisco, New York, and Vancouver!

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