Spotlight On: Rockstar Women Engineers

Published on: 3/27/2019. Revised on: 3/27/2019.

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we remain grateful and inspired by all the strides women have made in financial services, engineering, technology, and beyond. As a company, we pride ourselves on building teams that come from all walks of life and help us foster a culture where everyone is accepted, and differing viewpoints are heard. Our selection to Bloomberg’s Gender-Equality Index illustrates our continued efforts to increasing diversify our workforce, but sadly there are industry-wide realities we must continue to make progress toward.

As the leader in marketplace lending, we make a concerted effort to promote our female employees throughout the organization. Their stories help inspire and usher in the next generation of leaders. In this spirit, we spoke with a few of LendingClub’s female engineers to learn more about their experiences and share advice for those advancing in any traditionally male-dominated field.

Michelle Wang, Senior Software Engineer

Who or what inspired you to begin an engineering career?

I was good at math and science as a kid, so it felt natural to continue pursuing a STEM field, but I didn’t want to do research or work with living things, so I ended up choosing computer science because it was the most fun. If you’ve never tried it, writing code is pretty instantly gratifying.

How have you navigated a traditionally male-dominated field?

This isn’t just applicable to gender imbalanced fields, but finding allies (or friends!) and being a good ally has been really important to me. It helps foster belonging, and it just makes things so much better when you’re able to work in coalition with people who care about you and have your back.

What are your key pieces of advice to women seeking to enter this specific field?

You belong here. Most people you’ll meet, both men and women, are friendly and supportive and inclusive and want to actively help you succeed.

How has LendingClub supported your career goals and development?

The people around me at LendingClub have been amazingly supportive and are a big reason that I work here. I work with colleagues who listen, value my contribution, and give me space to step up into leadership roles. I always feel like I have a seat at the table and have learned a lot about being a responsible code owner, pragmatic engineer, and generous team member, from others across the organization who lead by example every day. My managers and directors up the ladder have also been great. They have actively asked me about my immediate and long term goals, pushed me to take opportunities that align with where I want to go, and fostered an environment where I don’t hesitate to share concerns or ask for things. I have grown immensely during my time at LendingClub and look forward to continuing on that upward path.

Alejandra Tonda, Senior Manager, Engineering

Who or what inspired you to begin an engineering career?

One of my professors at high school. He was the kind of person who cares about his students and really taught us to think critically. He pulled me aside and invited me to join a group of students to help him at the school so we could start getting familiar with the environment as well as learn about computer science. That experience really made the difference for me.

How have you navigated a traditionally male-dominated field?

Initially, I didn’t feel comfortable about it. Especially back in the days, at school. I was shy about asking my teachers questions and it was hard for me to build relationships with my peers. It took me quite a long time to find other girls and finally join a student group. From then on, things were much easier.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced, and how have you overcome them?

For me, the hardest part was changing my attitude to “I can do this, I can own this, I am capable as well.” To prove to myself that I can succeed. In the environment I grew up in, there weren’t ton of examples of woman leaders who inspired me, so that made it more challenging at the beginning.

What are your key pieces of advice to women seeking to enter the field?

Network—that has helped me tremendously. Being connected with women, sharing same pain points, learning from each other and developing somewhat of a sorority has empowered me and helped me to grow at a completely different pace.

How has LendingClub supported your career goals and development?

My managers and peers have been very supportive. They challenge and guide me by providing all the tools and trainings I need. Networking within LC has been very helpful as well, and LCWIN (LendingClub’s Women’s Internal Network) especially has opened a variety of options for me. Programs like Elevate were such a great experience, I wish every LendingClub woman manager would get a chance to participate.

Anything else you’d like to share to help empower the next generation of female leaders?

Connect, and don’t be afraid to speak up. There are others like you out there with the same questions and concerns. In diversity, there is strength.

Triveni Gaba, Lead Software Engineer

Who or what inspired you to begin an engineering career?

Engineering is a field that allows us to challenge real world problems by designing practical and efficient solutions. We can dive into problems and approach them in hands-on manner. I love doing that. My parents were the key force in motivating me to pursue this career.

How have you navigated a traditionally male-dominated field?

Most of the times, teams are looking for people who are best at what they do. With hard work and self-confidence, it has been a great journey, where people respect you for the work you do and also empower you to grow in your career.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced, and how have you overcome them?

Being taken seriously due to gender perceptions. I think this is a challenge most women in this industry face, especially during the first few years. This isn’t something that will change overnight; it takes confidence and a positive attitude to build that rapport.

What are your key pieces of advice to women seeking to enter the field?

Believe in yourself. Trust that your opinion matters and don’t fear sharing your ideas. Every idea deserves to be brainstormed.

How has LendingClub supported your career goals and development?

LendingClub has a positive diverse culture. Here, I work with colleagues and managers who are super supportive of women in tech. I have been treated like any other teammate, given credence for my expertise, and my voice matters!

Anything else you’d like to share to help empower the next generation of female leaders?

Love what you do and do what you love. If you use your talent for something you are passionate about, there is no stopping you! Each generation is responsible for paving the way and bettering the next.

LendingClub is helping millions of Americans take control of their financial lives. We strive to treat people with respect and fairness, and that ideal shapes how we work, how we treat each other, and how we invest in our employees and our community. Join us in using data, bold thinking, and a commitment to innovation to help put millions of Americans on a path to financial success. Search for available openings on our Careers page.

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