18 of the Top Leaders in the New York Tech Scene - Lead(H)er Recap
It’s a great time to be in the tech industry, particularly in New York, and women are leading the charge.
As part of our Lead(H)er series, I’ve had the great privilege of interviewing so many incredibly talented women who are founders or executives at some of the fastest growing companies in NYC's vibrant startup scene.
They’ve told us about everything from the challenges, successes, and surprises of their careers to how many cups of coffee it takes to get through a day, so take a look at our list of the talented women we’ve spotlighted this year.
“What’s been really fun as the business gets bigger is that the challenges change for myself and my co-founders,” Choi said. “Today, it’s really thinking about the next phase of growth and how we keep the foot on the gas."
“I was really passionate about change at scale,” Zax said. “I fundamentally saw two levers for change at that kind of change. One was government, and that wasn’t a route I was going to go at this stage in my career, and the other was the corporate world. I had to figure out how business works, because it shapes our lives unlike any other force.”
“I wanted to be a sponge and to learn as much as possible from those around me,” Zhang said. “I’m a big believer in the idea that you need to spend 10,000 hours on something to become an expert.”
“Having an app suddenly means that wherever you are in the world, geography is not a factor in terms of access to information, entertainment, or education,” she said. “I see the work we’re doing now being able to help break down these borders to help people connect with content and form communities.”
“I love having the ability to understand everything about the organization and be a part of what the business is trying to accomplish every day,” Lin said. “Everyone is working so hard to get to the same place, because we know that we’re all building it together and have a part in it. At the end of the day, if we’re successful, it’s a group win.”
“Part of what I love about working in product management and in the tech space, in general, is that there’s always something new to learn,” Green said. “It’s always changing, and for me, that’s what really keeps me excited and drives me to really build the best products we can.”
“I learned from experience that I get the most out of taking the biggest risk and exploring the unknown,” Nguyen said.
“I really love building, and enjoy early-stage companies where there's not really much there,” Fielding said. “It's sort of a blank slate to really think through what we’re trying to accomplish and how we’re going to do it.”
“When you’re creating a startup, one day will be the best day ever, and then something bad will happen the next and take you to the lowest of the low,” Andrews said. “I feel like Lara and I are really happy to have each other. Having someone to be a sounding board, to rely on if you're having a bad day, and really having that partnership to do it together has made it easier to weather the storms.”
“I think working for great people who trust you and will have your back is important. Someone in college once told me to choose classes based on the professor, not on the syllabus, and I think that’s how I’ve approached jobs. Work for people who will let you step beyond your qualifications because they trust you and will give you the freedom to learn, grow, and even mess up. Bosses who have your back is key.”
“I think the hardest thing you can do is to develop a more long-term perspective on life and realize that your first job isn't the end-all, be-all. I think a lot of people spend a lot of time worried about what that first job means for them and whether they’re making the right choice or not. But you’re 22 years old, and there's no way to know the answer to any of those questions until you do it. You just have to dive in, and then as you continue to grow, you'll learn more about life, what is best for you, where your strengths are, and what your desires are. You can figure all of that out as you go, so don't stress. Just go for it and keep putting yourself in a position to learn and grow and have the kind of impact you want to have on the world.”
“I think the benefit of working in the world of advertising is that it has some of the most creatively-minded people and smartest people who are really trying to tackle things strategically,” she said. “It got me into a different mindset.”
“I don’t really know what that’s going to look like 10 years in the future,” Sheppard said. “But I can tell you, I’m super excited for it.”
“There’s new things happening all the time, and we really don’t know what the next thing will be. That’s the exciting part.”
“I had this opportunity to create a big startup in less than 10 months, which was a pretty exciting experience, to say the least,” Myers said.
“I’ve had amazing, strong, female leaders that supported me through each step of my career,” Kumar said. “They saw something in me and gave me opportunities, so now I’m doing the same.”
“In business, so much is about empathy and relating to people,” Shivani said. “It took me a while to realize that. People want to not just be heard, but they want to feel like their ideas are valuable.”
“I really had to hustle for that first job, and I wish I knew how many applications I had to send because it would be a funny number to look at now,” she said.
“I liked being able to collaborate across teams and translate big-picture ideas into execution in order to scale client-focused businesses,” Reisman said. “That’s how I came to Betterment.”
“People want to take actions to learn more about their health,” Zemrani said. “We just needed to make it easier for them.”