Women in Big Data is spotlighting amazing women during Women’s History Month.
Jane Shih founded her company WeTogether.co at the end of 2014, a networking platform for technology professionals. Her passion is women in technology. In 2015, understanding how important it is for women to join and grow in the tech industry, she launched Taipei Women in Technology and set up local chapters for a few international NPOs related to Women in Tech and Entrepreneurship. She’s now the GM of Open UP Global Summit, APAC Director of Ladies that UX and Sr. Director of Women Who Code Taipei with 7000+ active members. From small meetups to hackathons and tech conferences, on average, there are 100 events/yr hosted under various communities now
Tina Tang: What led you to pursue a career in the tech industry?
Jane Shih: After I got my MBA degree in New York majoring in Entrepreneurship and Finance, I moved to Silicon Valley to find a new job. Having the experience of working at UBS and Court Square Capital (a private equity firm based in NYC), I had expertise in fixed asset accounting and financial analysis. That led me to a job at eBay’s Technology Operation group where I started as an asset management analyst helping the data center technology work on purchasing, vendor management, and financial planning systems. Everyday our teams focused on site availability serving over 100 million users. I was always amazed by the passion, experimentation in our industry, and living in the spirit of “anything’s possible” in my daily life.
Tina Tang: Have there been people in your career who made a difference, gave you good advice, mentored you, or cheered you on?
Jane Shih: There are many people that helped me along the way in my tech career. One of the people I admire and appreciate a lot is Heather Marquez, the manager that brought me into this industry. I was the first hire with a finance major in the team. My other team members are all from different disciplines and ethnic backgrounds. I learned a lot from each one of them so I fully believe that diversity and inclusion made us a good team (and company). My mom is also an entrepreneur, and she started her business when she was a teenager. With only an elementary school diploma, she always told me she graduated from “social university” by working with people and building a good network.
Tina Tang: Did you ever experience challenges or obstacles early in your career? How did you persevere?
Jane Shih: There were always small challenges in various aspects in my career. I remember sending out hundreds of resumes with no response after graduation. I also remember I lost the final interview opportunity with an investment bank, because I had no permanent resident status in the US. There were many people like me on student visas, and they went home after their Optional Practical Training programs (OPT). But I tried to volunteer for a few nonprofits to make friends. I met people who helped review my resume, practice interviewing, and let me know about potential positions to explore in their companies.
Tina Tang: What do you find most rewarding about the work you do?
Jane Shih: When you grow women, they give back. Everyday I get to meet new friends in my community. Growing with them is one of the most rewarding things in my work now. Many of them started attending my events, then they became volunteers. Next they started to design new programs or become speakers/mentors for our community members themselves. They support each other’s growth and move amongst various tech communities to learn new skills and broaden their network. What’s more, once they become leaders, they are totally capable of creating new tech communities to enrich the tech ecosystem. I feel I am not only growing women in the tech profession but also entrepreneurs everyday!
Tina Tang: What would you tell someone who is thinking about pursuing a career in the tech industry?
Jane Shih: Now every industry is tech. Start early, try many things, and carry those good tools with you as you level up.