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The latest candidate in our series of Q&As with influential women in the technology business in Canada is Shuo Wang, co-founder and CRO, Deel, a global payroll and compliance platform for international teams that recently launched in Canada.
Name: Shuo Wang
Job Title: Co-Founder & CRO, Deel
Years in the Industry: 7 Years
The Quote That Most Inspires You: “Valuable achievement can sprout from human society only when it is sufficiently loosened to make possible the free development of an individual’s abilities.” – (Albert Einstein)
What drew you to a career in the consumer and/or business technology industry?
What drew me to the tech industry was the idea and opportunity to create chances for others,
especially on a global scale. With regards to Deel, it has helped open access to talent globally for companies and given those all over an equal prospect for job consideration.
It’s all about opportunity. Tech creates an opportunity to make life easier, help people and businesses, and elevate how we live. When you take a company like Deel, it’s changing the way people hire, who they hire, and how they hire. It’s not just people in Silicon Valley working in Silicon Valley. That’s big.
Have you encountered any roadblocks along the way that were related to your gender?
Off the top of my head, no, not really. Nothing in my mind jumps out. I guess you could say I’m lucky, which is sad to say because it shouldn’t be about luck. As a female founder, I want the same opportunity, voice, equal playing field, and considerations as my male counterparts. That’s important. Coming from an international background has been beneficial. I have encountered all types of people and personalities. That’s helped me adapt in terms of making sure my voice gets heard in certain situations.
At Deel, we have a setting not most companies have. Many of my colleagues and teammates are female, and others come from diverse backgrounds across the world. A diverse team plays a huge role in communicating, treating each other with respect, and navigating issues. The Deel experience comparatively is a much better experience than the typical Silicon Valley one you read about.
What unique characteristics or perspective do you feel you bring to your organization as a woman?
Encouragement. Definitely encouragement. For everyone, but especially for female colleagues and teammates at Deel. I have received a lot of messages from AEs, SDRs, and direct reports about how it’s inspiring to see someone like myself getting things done, finding solutions to problems, and moving fast.
Encouragement and inspiration go a long way. It’s important to lead by example, but without ego. Motivation beats ego any day. No one wants that.
Technology is historically a male-dominated industry, yet the use of tech is fully embraced by women, and many studies even suggest that females are the primary buyers of tech in the home. What do you feel the technology industry needs to attract more women, particularly into high-level positions?
Tech needs to create equal opportunities and open more job positions, especially in male-dominated industry segments. Also, the gender pay gap should not exist. That’s undoubtedly a significant deterrent for women in tech, especially when it comes to what equally qualified male counterparts may be making.
More female founders and leaders in tech sharing their stories and journeys only help those considering a tech career. We need more success narratives that encourage and inspire females to get involved in software development, product management, marketing, and more.
At Deel, especially on the sales team, the ratio is pretty balanced. That’s crucial. Equal opportunities and space on teams are essential.
If you had to sum up what it is like being a woman in this male-dominated technology industry in just a few words, what would you say?
Disheartening, full of potential, room for change, and rewarding.
Women in tech face a lot of backlash when things go wrong compared to the males in the field.
Things like Theranos or Away tend to overshadow the good in the start-up world and the women making a change for good.
When it’s good, it’s great. But when it’s terrible, it just can really be discouraging. Here’s to more good, though!
Are there other women in the tech industry who inspire you?
When I look at the industry as a whole, many women inspire me. However, I think I draw most of my inspiration from those I’m surrounded by. In all honesty, it starts at Deel. I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by innovative, hard-working, driven females every day. Anja, Courtney, Ilana, Meltem, and Natalia, to name a few. Each has different roles at the company, and I’m constantly in awe of what they accomplish and what I can learn from them. The reality is that when you hire the best people for the job, you get to learn from the best.
What are some of the misconceptions/myths about women working in the technology space that you’d like to dispel?
In tech (and in general), women often get labeled as being overly emotional and that they don’t handle criticism well. Yes, we can all have our moments (male and female), but one could argue that our emotional intelligence is more positive than negative.
Being able to empathize, take a step back to consider things, and adjust how to tackle a problem to find a viable solution are actually good things. Instead of just running with the first option, we consider things and how they affect others. It’s not just all about being first and creating collateral damage.
What’s one thing you wish was done differently in the industry, and why?
I wish I started mentoring and motioning for change sooner. When I look back at what I have done and where I am now, it doesn’t matter where you are in your career; you can always help inspire change for others. For example, in college, graduates can inspire change in undergrads, undergrads for high school students, et cetera. There’s always someone looking for someone to look up to and vice versa.
Are you optimistic for the future in general and for the industry?
I’m positively optimistic for the future. In general, I’m an optimistic person. I always try to see the good in things. To be completely honest, answering some of these questions was difficult because they’re things I haven’t really thought about. As corny as it sounds, I’m always trying to have the half-full glass. Although, I would prefer the completely-full-of-positivity glass.
Yes, there are some not-so-great things to come out of tech and certain CEOs, but there’s a lot of good getting done, and that will continue to happen. Hopefully, it starts to tip more towards the plus side or at least evens out. Tech is good, bad, and sometimes ugly. I have faith the ugly will get much prettier.