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Yelp Inc.

Hosting Our First Awesome Women in Engineering Summit in SF

Below is an article originally written by Dorothy Jung, Software Engineer at PowerToFly Partner Yelp, and published on October 4, 2019. Go to Yelp's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

Last month, we held our first Awesome Women in Engineering (AWE) Summit at our headquarters in San Francisco. AWE's mission is to build a strong community for women and allies in our engineering and product departments by facilitating professional career-building activities, leadership, and mentorship opportunities. As a resource group, we provide support and organize activities targeted towards professional growth for women, helping them to maximize their potential at Yelp and beyond.

The summit was an internal, half-day event for women and allies in engineering and product at Yelp. We had previously hosted a summit for our EU offices, but this was our first time organizing the event stateside. During the event, we shared our experiences with one another and learned about the amazing work done at Yelp by women through a packed agenda of technical and career-based talks, workshops, and a round table discussion.

Overview of the Day and Session Highlights

We kicked off the summit with lunch and an introduction from Rachel Z., a group engineering manager and leading member of AWE at Yelp.

We followed with a series of sessions in parallel tracks, which ran the gamut from lightning talks to hour-long workshops. Some sessions were highly technical, including a lightning talk on PaaSTA, our open-source, distributed platform-as-a-service, by Qui N., and a workshop on machine learning and data mining using the Yelp dataset by Xun T.

Other sessions were focused on career growth, diversity, and inclusion. For example, Maria C., one of Yelp's group technical leads, detailed her career path as an individual contributor, and Jenni S. led a workshop targeted toward allies that focused on real-world scenarios in which an ally could take action to promote a more inclusive workplace environment.

The round table discussion, facilitated by Annie W., presented opportunities for women to have open, honest discussions about their experiences and any challenges they were facing.

We closed out the day with refreshments and a few parting words from our SVP of Engineering, Sam E.

In Our Own Words

"I was proud to see my coworkers–women and men–coming together to discuss and learn about these important topics. Only with everyone on board can we make a change towards a more equal industry."

"My favorite part was the round table discussion! I felt at ease to share the difficulties I'd faced. It was very enriching to share career and personal development tips with others."

"I feel inspired to use the takeaways from the [technical leadership talk] as a springboard for leading my own projects. It was clear how the takeaways emerged from practical situations."

"As an ally, I'm glad to be able to participate in the event, it was great! My favorite part was the Ally Skills Workshop discussions and hearing different viewpoints."

Conclusion

Holding this event allowed women across different technical departments at Yelp to come together, feel a stronger sense of belonging, and walk away feeling empowered and inspired. We plan to hold this event again in the future, and are proud of the progress that has grown AWE from a small social group when it was founded in 2013, to a thriving organization with hundreds of members today. Organizing this event with the brilliant, motivated women in engineering and product has been a highlight of my time here at Yelp.

This event further demonstrated Yelp's ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as the importance for women to have opportunities to connect with others in the workplace to learn and grow. For more information about how Yelp supports women in tech, check out our website!

Interested in joining the awesome women in engineering and product at Yelp?

We're hiring! Check out our PowerToFly page for more open positions.

Yelp Inc.

Celebrating the Women of Yelp: AWE the Book

Below is an article originally written by Grace Jiras, University Recruiting Manager at PowerToFly Partner Yelp, and published on February 14, 2018. Go to Yelp's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

As a recruiter, I talk to a lot of people about what it's like to work at Yelp. Most often, I find myself answering questions about the work environment and individual growth opportunities. During my four and a half years at Yelp, I would summarize the people here as very sharp and intelligent, while also humble and open minded. This spirit has fostered an environment that encourages individuals to learn by trying things for themselves (new hires get to push code out their first week!) and empowers them to ask questions.

This collaborative work culture invites tremendous opportunity and gives employees the power to participate in the projects they are most passionate about, whether it's specifically related to work, technology, community or otherwise. This attitude is core to Yelp's values and allows employees from every walk of life and every skill set find opportunity and growth.

In an effort to foster community and build relationships across the organization, Yelp has a number of Employee Resource Groups. One of the groups that I'm actively involved with is Awesome Women in Engineering (AWE). AWE is focused on building a strong community for women in engineering and their allies by facilitating professional career building activities, networking, leadership, and mentorship. Over the years, I've had the privilege of learning more about this groups' experience working in the tech industry as well as their experiences here at Yelp. As I heard more stories, I felt inspired to collect and share them with others outside of Yelp. Thus began the start of our hackathon project: AWE the Book.

As with any hackathon, the idea of creating a book was pitched to a group of engineers and those interested joined to help turn this idea into a final product! Our team came together to craft compelling interview questions ranging from childhood aspirations, what they love about Yelp, and helpful advice they wish they had received earlier in their career. We had over 60 women in Engineering and Product volunteer to participate! Along with the interviews we had (very talented) Yelpers take portraits of each individual. After Hackathon we had even more volunteers, men and women, across the entire engineering organization help transpose, type, and edit the interviews. It was so much fun seeing everyone work together to make the book come together. The finished product was incredible to read - over 120 pages of stories, experiences, and advice shared by women professionals in tech.

Here are some of my favorites!

Pictured above from left to right: Yue Wu, Product Manager; Ya-Lin Huang, Software Engineer; Marianne Gosciniak, Software Engineer

How did you get into tech?

I've always been interested in tech, a lot of my favorite products are tech products. I used to be in consulting and data, working on heavy data driven roles. Then I went to business school to try to find a career change outside of consulting. I found a lot of good opportunities in tech. This is an area I'm very passionate about. I had my favorite products as a consumer and Yelp was right on the top. Being able to work on one of my favorite products ever is awesome!

Yue Wu, Product Manager

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

When I was a child, my parents wanted me to become a teacher because they thought it would be a stable job. It's a very regular job from 8-4 and you deal with kids - what possible trouble could kids get into?! At that time, though, I didn't think too much about being a teacher. I played a lot of video games, a lot of Super Mario, so I wanted to be either the character Super Mario, or someone who creates Super Mario.

Ya-Lin Huang, Software Engineer

What is the most exciting thing you have worked on at Yelp?

I really loved my internship project. I added addresses and street suggestions to the location suggest service. When I was presenting during the intern project presentations, a lot of people said they were wondering why we never had this. It was really exciting to help make a feature that a lot of people had been wanting and then later got to use.

Marianne Gosciniak, Software Engineer

Pictured above from left to right: Alex Phillips, Engineering Manager; Jen Wang, Software Engineer; Ellen Heirbaut, Technical Recruiter

What do you love about Yelp?

When I was looking for a job, I was looking for four things that I really valued in a job. One was mentorship - I would love learning from other people's experiences and I find that I can do that a lot at Yelp. There are so many different people with diverse backgrounds and diverse experiences that I feel like I learn something new every day. Two is problem solving - within Yelp and within Yelp Reservations, it's a fun problem - It's relatable. Thirdly, I think the culture we have at Yelp is really extraordinary. The friendliness, the collaborative nature, the kindness, the relatability, and the welcoming feeling. We're always helping each other learn - that's so wonderful to have. The last thing was opportunities to grow and I think that's something that Yelp has been really focusing on lately. Those are the main reasons why I chose to work at Yelp and why I continue to work at Yelp.

Alex Phillips, Engineering Manager

Have you ever broken Yelp?

Oh, lots of times. I've caused lots of codedeploy rollbacks. I tanked SEO for awhile. I've also recommended changes that ended up breaking Yelp. I won't go into the specifics here, but one of the things I like the most about Yelp is the empathetic environment. It is OK to make mistakes, as long as you take responsibility for them and learn from them and don't keep repeating them. Better yet, teach others how to not make the same mistakes or build tools that safeguard against them. I've broken Yelp many times, but I've learned from all of them and made my peace. None of them give me nightmares now. Well, except, maybe the SEO one.

Jen Wang, Software Engineer

How do you balance a personal life and work life?

I'm a working mom, so I always feel like I should be doing more. I do a lot of events outside of work, like the Expat Women meet-up. It's a lot of time management and balancing priorities. Some days I will have my son and on those days I have to leave right on time. If I'm not on time, they can kick us out of preschool, which is not an option! I feel like Yelp makes it easier for me. My manager is very understanding when I have to leave early, and other days I work longer. The nice thing is I have a very happy, fulfilling life with many different aspects to it.

Ellen Heirbaut, Technical Recruiter

Make sure to ask the see the book in person whenever you come by our HQ in SF!

For more information about roles at Yelp check out our PowerToFly page.