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This VP of Software Engineering Strives to Make Things Better
Jan. 8th 2018
The reasons why a person embarks on a journey to become a software engineer are ample: unlimited employment opportunities, generous salaries and benefits, pursuing passion. But for Sha Ma, the VP of Software Engineering at SendGrid, what initially drew her to be a software engineer is the ability to make things better. Sha elaborates "Collaboration and working in teams are crucial aspects of engineering. Being able to effectively communicate is a huge part of our day to day."
Managing and facilitating effective communication across teams within the workplace is no simple feat. Sha and her colleagues at SendGrid take it a step further to actively promote a sense of well-being and community amongst its employees. "SendGrid focuses heavily on creating ways for our employees to connect with one another and to make an impact within our local communities. Whether it's our new office space layout or twice a year alignment offsites or interest groups, we provide employee opportunities to meet and to connect in informal settings as we continue to grow. SendGrid is also forefront in local community involvement. We are heavily involved in tech meetups, startup mentorship, giving back to the community and women in tech events."
One way SendGrid accomplishes its goals of open communication is by permeating a "4H" culture: happy, honest, humble and hungry. "Every employee lives and breathes these values. We've incorporated them deeply into our everyday vocabulary, where people are comfortable giving each other feedback by saying 'Honest H…'. We place a high emphasis on culture during our recruiting and hiring process, where each 'H' is vetted carefully during the interview process. Culture is one of the most difficult things to scale in a fast growing organization, and we work hard on keeping true to these values. I've never been at another company where the culture is so apparent in everything we do," Sha clarifies.
Although culture is an important part of any successful and rapidly growing environment, Sha's day-to-day duties consist of leading the software development organization at SendGrid, building and scaling their world-class email Infrastructure, delivering over 36 billion emails on a monthly basis. Sha is also responsible for continuously developing new products and features to create better experiences for SendGrid's customers.
Sha joined SendGrid as a Senior Director in 2015. Her journey from an individual contributor to a people leader has been a fortuitous and gratifying one. Sha says, "I'm an Engineer at heart, and am always interested in solving problems and making an impact. Becoming a people leader allows me to solve bigger problems than I can as an individual contributor. Enabling people to achieve their full potential has been a super rewarding experience; and being a people leader has challenged me to learn new skills and to become a multiplier for my teams. Growing from IC to Director to VP, my role transitioned from being able to execute, to tactical cross functional planning and providing strategic direction to my teams. At SendGrid, we are focused on growing the next generation of managers and leaders to continue empowering our teams to accomplish more."
Making things better both in and out of the workplace is a lofty goal for any software engineer. But Sha's drive coupled with SendGrid's support and values has made all that possible.
By the time I landed my first interview for a remote job, I already felt like an expert in Skype interviews. I'd done several throughout and after college, and I had my process down pat: go to my bedroom, find a white wall, prop my computer up so my interviewer wouldn't get any weird views of my nostrils, plug in my headphones, check my makeup and lighting in a test video call, and wait patiently for my interviewer.