Sponsored by Netskope
Photo courtesy of Netskope.
With competitive compensation, career growth opportunities and a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion, Netskope, a market-leading cloud security company, aims to see its employees achieve personal growth and success alongside their own.
That’s precisely why the company cultivated a thriving women’s group called the Awesome Women of Netskope (AWON). As part of AWON, Netskope’s women in tech meet for casual social events, host open forums with thought leaders, have opportunities to speak as industry experts and support each other's career growth.
We caught up with Christine Wu, Senior UX Manager, to find out why women love working at the company — as well as her best advice for women in engineering. Wu has been managing Netskope’s UX team for the last two and a half years, since her role as a senior designer on the team, and here’s what she had to say about her experiences.
Describe what you do in one sentence.
As a manager, I am the multiplier that ensures that my team’s work is more productive, more effective, more impactful and more rewarding.
What projects or programs are you currently working on? What about this type of work most excites you?
I’m currently working with the user researcher on my team to build personas that can be used to drive the entire product development process. The Netskope platform has many products with lots of moving pieces, so we must be clear-eyed about whom we are building the product for so that we can design for the best user experience possible.
Another project that I’m working on is related to operationalizing the Design System that our team designed. We are at the point where folks, designers and developers alike, understand the value, but we need to take additional steps to improve quality, encourage adoption and embed it into the product development process.
These types of work excite me because while wildly different in nature and execution, they point back to my goals, which are to evangelize the design process and make it easier for my team to do their best work.
How do you prioritize and deal with your to-do list each day?
Ever since the pandemic, it’s become more difficult to keep a separation between work and home. I don’t want anyone to be blocked in their work, but at the same time, if I get back on my computer to respond, I know that it’ll be hours before I get off. One of my strategies is to check messages and email, sort them so that I know which are the more important ones, but do not respond until the next day.
Also, rather than plan my day, I look at the whole week and decide what I am trying to accomplish during the week: which ones are top priorities, which ones should be happening in parallel or serial, and which ones are nice-to-have.
How have you used your role to help bring up other women behind you? How do you build time into your schedule for this kind of work?
I have a young son and daughter. For me, feminism is freedom for both genders. My hope is that regardless of gender, my children can grow up with the freedom to do whatever it is that they want to do. As a manager, I’ve encouraged my male colleagues to take paternity leave because bonding with a new baby is not something exclusive to the mother. I’ve also stepped in when another manager, albeit well meaning, wanted to leave a pregnant team member out of consideration for the job of a team lead. I reminded the other manager that it should be the pregnant team member’s choice and that the rest of us shouldn’t prematurely decide for her.
Honestly, as a working mom with two young children, I don’t have the luxury to carve out time for “this type of work,” but I make it standard practice for me to encourage equality and speak up against inequality.
How does Netskope empower women who are pursuing careers in engineering?
Netskope has a wonderful organization called #AWON, Awesome Women of Netskope. I believe that Netskope sets aside a budget for this organization. It’s run by a group of intelligent and kind volunteers. The organization invites speakers to present, and holds social events semi-regularly. I find inspiration from the speakers, where the topics include impostor syndrome, speaking truth to power, mental health and LGBTQIA+ movements.
Do you participate in any employee networks or programs for women in engineering?
I participated in an engineering recruiting event called Women Impact Tech, which is more engineering focused. I have also participated in mentorship programs for designers, both as a mentor and mentee. These mentorship programs aren’t exclusively for women, but many designers are women.
What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?
Don’t give away something that is valuable for free. (This usually means our skills and/or time.)
What advice do you have for women in engineering who want to take their career path to the next level?
My advice would be to find a mentor and be a mentor. A mentor is simply someone more senior that you feel safe getting career-related feedback from. It’s important to know what kind of questions you have (e.g., portfolio review, manager vs. IC) before you embark on that relationship.
The second part about mentoring someone else might sound surprising, but often it is through helping others that we discover who we really are. Even if you are just starting out in your careers, you can reach out to your alumni associations or underserved communities.
In both cases, the relationship might blossom into a lifelong friendship, or it might wane after a conversation or two, but that’s perfectly OK!
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