Spotlight: Women of AppDynamics

Welcome back to another installment of our Women of AppDynamics showcase. As our fiscal year comes to an end, we’re happy to report that a majority of our hires in several departments have been primarily female, being well over 55% in each of the marketing, business services, and People @AppD (human resources and recruiting) sectors.

Contrary to popular belief, being a “Woman in Tech” does not always entail working in a coding-centric, engineering role. There’s a common misconception that when hearing the word “technology,” we automatically assume that these kinds of companies solely hire candidates with engineering or computer science degrees. Being in the tech realm includes working in other departments of the company, such as marketing, finance, legal, human resources, and sales, to name a few. Only once we completely put aside these perceptions about tech and what it means to be a woman of tech can we start to close the gender imbalance in the industry. Here at AppDynamics, we encourage women of all backgrounds to apply and help us build out one of the best application intelligence companies in the world. Take a look into the following challenges, accomplishments, and day-to-day activities of these remarkable Women of AppD.

The Headhunter: Adrienna Yu, Technical Recruiter

Adrienna is a Technical Recruiter on our talent acquisition team, and a San Francisco native. She is an avid foodie and a lover of French Bulldogs. Adrienna is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in business management at USF.

What do you do in your role? Describe your average day at work.

As a tech recruiter, it’s my responsibility for the engineering growth of the company — being able to find quality candidates at all levels that not only fit the specific requisitions, but the team and culture of AppDynamics as well. It requires a strong relationship with hiring managers and team members to fully understand all the niche skills they’re looking for. I start by using multiple tools and strategies (LinkedIn, boolean, x-ray, Entelo, etc.) to source for potential candidates and proceed with an intro call for further vetting. I own the following steps in ensuring both parties are prepared for interviews and expectations are set so closing is as smooth as possible. My work doesn’t end once a candidate signs, but once I know the new employee is happy and successful with their career here.

What challenges have you faced as a Technical Recruiter?

A big challenge I face is slow seasons. It can easily get discouraging when you aren’t able to hit quota due to factors out of your control. I’ve learned to take pride in the small wins and believe in my productivity.

What interests you in the application intelligence space and how did you come to join AppDynamics?

It’s amazing how much impact AppDynamics has in the industry. I first heard of AppDynamics from my boyfriend, who currently studies computer science. He continuously talked about how AppDynamics was going to be the next big thing, so I did my research. I eventually landed an interview and got the job!

What is your greatest accomplishment thus far at the company?

My biggest accomplishment at AppDynamics is being recognized for my performance and receiving the “MVP of Talent Acquisition” award. I’ve been lucky to be given the best mentors and environment to learn and grow as much as I have.

The Jack-of-All-Trades: Yin Li, UI Engineer

Residing in the South Bay, Yin is a UI Engineer on the analytics team. Her hobbies include outdoor activities and fitness, as she keeps a regular running schedule. Yin enjoys hand crafts and sewing —  from clothes, to bags, to wallets. In addition, she can play both the accordion and piano.

What do you do in your role? Describe your average day at work.

During the past couple of months, I helped the team to finalize the 4.3 release by fixing bugs and wrapping up features.

What challenges have you faced as a UI Engineer?

The first challenge — still valid now — is that the application is big and it takes time to understand it, from how to use it, to why a certain feature is designed like this, to what’s the custom value for each feature. Another challenge is to get to know different technologies being used in Analytics UI in a short amount of time.

What interests you in the application intelligence space, and how did you come to join AppDynamics?

As a UI developer, visualizing data and what makes data speak to the user in a intuitive way is very exciting, and application intelligence is a sweet spot for UI developers. I heard of AppDynamics from my ex co-workers, as we are kind of in the same industry, and I’m encouraged by the new technologies and innovations here in AppDynamics.

What is your greatest accomplishment thus far at the company?

As I joined the team during the end of release, I am lucky to see the shipment of the product, and I am proud to say that I contributed to the latest release of Analytics!

The Humanitarian: Minette Viljoen, HR Business Partner, Sales & Marketing

Minette was born and raised in South Africa, and prior to moving to San Francisco in 2003, lived in London for five years. Her most valuable assets are her healthy sense of humor, her empathy, and her authentic passion for people. She is a former netball player, and fancies travel and adventure.

What do you do in your role? Describe your average day at work.

As HR Business Partner for the go-to-market functions at the most exceptional technology company in the world, my overall focus is to partner with our CRO and CMO and the other sales and marketing leaders and managers to ensure that our people strategy and objectives are proactive, relevant, reflective of our core values, and aligned with our overall business strategy and goals. In essence, we work hard to ensure success, achievement, development, and growth for each team member who contributes to continued success for AppD. Given our rapid growth, no one day is the same for me at this time! I interact closely with many teams — finance, legal, People@AppD, administration, talent, sales and marketing, facilities and leaders, and managers across AMER and APAC.

What challenges have you faced as an HR Business Partner?

My greatest challenge early on in my career was to develop the confidence to trust my decisions, especially given the nebulous nature of near every situation one deals with. Finding appropriate solutions to challenges is a big part of being an HRBP. No two decisions made — even if sometimes seemingly similar — are ever the same. One has to take in consideration all the people and parties involved or impacted, employment law, compliance and financial impact, business needs, and much, much more. You have to very quickly digest a lot of context and information and factor in people’s emotions and motivations, then come to a decision and take action. The most effective HRBPs have a unique combination of high integrity, high EQ, and pragmatic business acumen.

What interests you in the application intelligence space and how did you come to join AppDynamics?

I am passionate about technology, business value and success, innovation, efficiency, and people — very reflective of all that AppD is! We have an incredible and innovative offering that creates immediate, substantial, and ongoing value to our customers. We have an incredible and quality team who care deeply about the success of our customers, each other and our company. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this team? Gwen Tillman and I met when I was approached about a different opportunity for a different company where she was the interim HR leader. While I opted out at the time, I knew I would stay in touch with Gwen, as she is an exceptional human being. She contacted me about the role at AppD and convinced me over a few glasses of wine to come in and meet with Luan Lam before I went on a trip to Alaska. After meeting the both of them and doing my diligence and research, I knew that AppD was exactly where I wanted to add value and continue to grow. Next up were interviews with business leaders and I can’t be more happy or proud to be a part of this team.

What is your greatest accomplishment thus far at the company?

Knowing that I have contributed real value throughout substantial organizational changes in both the sales and marketing teams in the last six months in preparation for an exciting next stage of growth for us as a business.

The Budget Buff: Karen Chen, Finance Manager

Karen is a UC Berkeley graduate with a degree in business administration, and has worked in finance for the past six years of her life. She has been with the company for six months now as a Finance Manager for the marketing team. When not at AppDynamics HQ, you can find her running up the hills of San Francisco, doing yoga, or body boarding in Santa Cruz.

What do you do in your role? Describe your average day at work.

I help make sure marketing as a department hits their budgeted expense numbers. In addition to budget management, I am responsible for the New Customer forecast, and the annual planning process for marketing.

What challenges have you faced as a Finance Manager?

As part of a fast-paced company, there is never a boring day. We are in a unique stage as a company, where the data and insights we gather today can affect the trajectory of the business tomorrow. One of my challenges is to find the right ways to measure our business, and ensure that we have the right balance of investments.

What interests you in the application intelligence space and how did you come to join AppDynamics?

I don’t have a technical background, but have always been fascinated with developer tools. It’s my way of understanding the technical side of applications, and how applications interact with each other and their end users. That said, I was drawn to AppDynamics because of its position in the market, and the quality of talent at AppDynamics.

What is your greatest accomplishment thus far at the company?

I was part of the sales & marketing planning interlock this year. We have new leaders this year, so it’s important to have leaders from both sides in a room discussing and aligning on the go-to-market strategy for the company. Sales & marketing interlock continues to be a key focus area for the company, so it’s exciting to be part of something this important.

Women in Technology SoulCycle was a huge success!

Despite the craziness of San Francisco’s 45th Annual Pride Celebration and Parade on Sunday, June 28, 2015, AppDynamics celebrated an event of our own. AppDynamics help a Women in Technology (WiT) event and united 53 women from various Bay Area Tech Companies came together to ride as one towards an equal workforce. We decided that SoulCycle would be the perfect venue to host the event, as they encourage riders to come together to challenge yourself, and your fellow riders to ride as one pack. For those of you who haven’t heard of SoulCycle, it’s a hip indoor cycling full-body workout that uses bikes, weights, and choreography to work your core.

Around 12:30, attendees began to arrive and check in for the event. We surprised them with goodie bags, filled with donations from companies supporting the cause, including Jamba Juice, IfOnly, Lululemon, B.R. Cohn, Rocksbox, Karelen Hair Care, Cocoa Cravings, Bare Body Collection, and Crunchmaster. After collecting their goody bags, ladies changed for the ride and adjusted their bikes to have the right seat height, seat position, and handlebar height. (Fun fact: about 38% of the attendees were new riders!) The 45 minute ride featured female artists, like Beyonce’s Run The World (Girls), and Alicia Keys’ ‘Girl On Fire’, to hopefully inspire one another to work together to create equality in Silicon Valley, and eventually, globally. 

The ride was long, and hard – a real butt kicker, but it was inspiring and uplifting to see everyone else alongside you also pedaling through the burn. In addition to uniting so many women, and doing something great for our bodies, the event raised $4,000 for Oakland-based non-profit Level The Playing Field Institute. LPFI is an organization that aims to close the gap for underrepresented students of color to compete in science and technology. Many alumni of this program go on to successfully complete prestigious degrees such as Computer Science from UC Berkeley. LPFI’s Chief Development Officer, Moneese DeLara reflects gratefully on the event, “we recognize that to truly level the playing field for underrepresented students of color to compete in science and tech, it will take the work and support of many, so we greatly appreciate the generous support of AppDynamics Women in Tech of our efforts.”

This event was the first of many Women in Technology philanthropies that will unite people together to move forward as and give back to the local communities. In our future events, we plan on inviting male allies as well as females, so we can all work together and create change. We realize that, as half of the population, women can only be half of the solution, and are excited to invite everyone to participate in our next event. If you would like to be kept in the loop of when that is, please sign up here.

If you are inspired by LPFI and the work they do, find out how you can donate or volunteer!