International Women’s Day at Tulip

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Today marks International Women’s Day. At Tulip, one of our founding values celebrates Diversity, Inclusion, & Community. In honour of the day, we’re featuring some of our female talent in conversation about their careers, leadership, and who has inspired them in their careers and personal journeys. 

Happy International Women’s day to women of the world. Tulip is proud to be among the growing number of global entities shining a light on gender and diversity goals.

Souyma Shukla, Sr. Product Manager

1) What do you see as the role of female leaders in tech and business in general to move the dial for young women’s opportunities to grow in the work place?

It is absolutely heartening to live through this ongoing transformation of workplaces. I believe that we might be at the inflection point where women leaders could tip the scale for our future leaders (men & women):

  • Make more dents and break the glass ceiling

Young women need role models. Female leaders should continue working hard and aiming for the top job

  • Empathize and lend a hand

Play an active role as a mentor and in communities. If it is not always possible to find the time for coffee chats and lunch meetings, I would recommend female leaders to play an active role in online communities such as Facebook groups or Slack channels for women in tech, women in product, women who code et al.

  • Collaborate with male leaders to set the right examples

Both young women and men benefit from role models who respect family time, take vacations or have a hard stop to pick up their kids from day care. These small and seemingly innocuous changes in workplace habits make younger women feel like they won’t have to face a hard choice in their future. As they say, things change gradually and then suddenly

2) What are some traits in your career that have contributed to your success as a leader?

I joined the workforce over a decade ago as a program manager in an automobile manufacturing plant. Very quickly, I realized that in order to stay relevant, I would have to be both assertive and unabashed about asking for help. Since then, I have worked in many different sectors and roles with increasingly high responsibilities. It became possible because I had learnt that speaking up does not mean offending and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. These fundamental traits have allowed me to ask for the jobs I wanted and promotions I deserved. ‘Asking for help’ in particular made me more effective as I was able to build closer relationships with my colleagues to get things done faster and better.

3) Who is a fearless female leader you admire and wish to emulate?

Indra Nooyi became the CEO of PepsiCo in 2001 and remained President & CEO until 2018. For a woman born and raised in India of the 1950s, I find her rise spectacular and inspirational. I wish to inspire women from disadvantaged backgrounds or gender disparate societies to have faith and follow their dreams. The way Indra did for me.

Raine Qian, Director of Product Design

1) What do you see as the role of female leaders in tech and business in general to move the dial for young women’s opportunities to grow in the workplace?

Motivation and Mentorship! Motivating young women to think bigger and building action plans, especially for designers. The design leadership career path is not as clear as other professions. Many young designers don’t know that they have the potentials to be a future leader. Helping young female designers build vision and action plans will help them grow faster.

2) What are some traits in your career that have contributed to your success as a leader?

It’s empathy. I have been doing design for 11 years. As a product designer, empathy is important for designing the right solution for the user and business within constraints. As a leader, empathy helps me understand the needs and challenges of the organization and the motivations and strengths of my design team. With a deep understanding of the problem and reality, I can better empower teams and better collaborate with others to help the organization grow.

3) Who is a fearless female leader you admire and wish to emulate?

I am deeply inspired by fashion designer Coco Chanel (1883 -1971). She is hardworking, strong-willed and courageous. In the male-dominated fashion industry, she challenged the traditional norms of fashion design and revolutionized womenswear for comfort and liberating female identity. From a cafe singer to an iconic fashion designer, her success taught me that there is no shortcut to success but persistence hard work and determination.

Saira Zia, VP, Global Retail Excellence and Client Success

1) What do you see as the role of female leaders in tech and business in general to move the dial for young women’s opportunities to grow in the work place?

I think it’s important for female leaders to lead by example and mentor every individual the same regardless of gender. I think that inclusivity is an important thing for young women to look up to and emulate for future generations.

2) What are some traits in your career that have contributed to your success as a leader?

Being a manager of people has been one of the hardest but most rewarding parts of my career. I take pride in the people that I manage and the work that they do. I believe it’s important to always keep in mind that a team is stronger than any one individual, and I think this has been a big part of my success as a leader.

3) Who is a fearless female leader you admire and wish to emulate?

My mother is the reason I am the leader I am today. Watching her build our family business, while being a high school teacher and raising 3 kids was an inspiration to me. She’s very driven and has a way with people that I’ve always admired.

Wynne Elmitt, Senior Manager, Retail Excellence 

1) What do you see as the role of female leaders in tech and business in general to move the dial for young women’s opportunities to grow in the work place?

I believe that everyone has the potential to do great things. The role of female leaders should be to bring awareness to young people of the opportunities available, and support and mentor them as they continue to grow in their careers regardless of gender.

2) What are some traits in your career that have contributed to your success as a leader?

Some of my success as a leader comes from knowing that things never stay the same. Accepting change and embracing it has allowed me to pivot quickly and guide teams through the change management process and come out stronger on the other side.

3) Who is a fearless female leader you admire and wish to emulate?

I really admire Olympian and Aboriginal advocate Waneek Horne-Miller. Her messages of overcoming adversity and never letting your circumstances prevent you from fulfilling your dreams are incredibly inspiring and motivational.

Winona So, Senior Graphic Designer

1) What do you see as the role of female leaders in tech and business in general to move the dial for young women’s opportunities to grow in the work place?

I think the role of female leaders is to inspire and to mentor. Young women need to have someone to look up to, ask questions, and engage with at a higher level. Keeping that channel of communication open builds trust amongst peers and allows for greater growth.

2) What are some traits in your career that have contributed to your success as a leader?

My determination and drive have propelled my success as a leader. I’ve never been a person to sit on the sidelines, and I will try to take action where I can to drive projects and groups forward. This constant drive to do better and move forward has been key for my growth as a leader.

3) Who is a fearless female leader you admire and wish to emulate?

I admire Agnes Baden Powell and Olave Baden Powell, two key women in the creation of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides. They created opportunities for girls all over the world in a historically male-dominated area of adventuring, the outdoors, and survival. They had bravery in driving forward ideas and projects in areas where it may be difficult to do so.

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