How We Work: Meet Some of the Women Behind Zapier

Melanie Pinola
Melanie Pinola / March 8, 2018

The people you work with define your work experience. And, oftentimes, the people you love to work with don't get the credit they deserve. We don't tend to talk too much about ourselves here on the Zapier blog, but in honor of International Women's Day (IWD)—a time to celebrate women's achievements—I'm honored to highlight some of the women who build things at Zapier, support our customers, and, in general, help keep the ship running smoothly.

Being a woman in tech can be harder than it might seem, but all of the people highlighted here inspire me and hopefully will inspire you as well with their advice and stories. (Note: Profiles are listed here in no specific order.)


Jenny Bloom, CFO at Zapier

Jenny Bloom, CFO (Atlanta, GA)

Describe what you do at Zapier. What's a typical day or week look like for you?

Responsible for finance and people ops which includes HR, recruiting and training and development. No typical day or week :)

Tell us a bit about how you got into this field.

I was good at math and when I graduated from college, accounting majors were the ones getting the jobs.

What's one lesson from your career experience that you think people just starting out—particularly women—would benefit from knowing?

Lateral career moves can be way more beneficial than promotions in the long run. The wider range the experience you have, the more opportunities you will have.

What are you most proud of with regards to your career?

My counselor in college told me I should think about another career since my GPA in my major was 2.1. I've been a CFO for over 10 years at multiple companies.


Vicky Cassidy, Head of Platform at Zapier

Vicky Cassidy, Head of Platform (Madison, WI)

Describe what you do at Zapier. What's a typical day or week look like for you?

I lead our Platform department which consists of a few teams that build product for our developer community, provide support for our partners, and create and maintain apps on Zapier.

No two weeks are ever the same for me, but if I take a step back, most of my time is spent helping my teams set and execute on roadmaps, projects, and goals, digging into data to help inform decisions we make, communicating initiatives across the organization, and putting out the occasional fire. When I have some spare cycles, I tend to dive into the details on a project that I find interesting.

Tell us a bit about how you got into this field.

I grew up with two parents who were developers and at age 10 was sure I was going to be a ballerina, because computers seemed extremely boring.

Fast forward 20+ years—past a Business degree from University of Wisconsin, a project management job at an enterprise healthcare software company, a 2 year stint running my own consulting business—to Zapier.

Even here my path hasn't been super linear. I started off as a marketing freelancer, jumped to a full-time support position, moved into a support manager role and then transitioned to a product manager on our Platform team. When the opportunity to lead the Platform team opened up, I took it. Every career move has given me the chance to develop more skills and work with incredible people. I'm absolutely loving the challenge.

What's your most-used Zap?

My whole life runs on a series of Zaps (workflows between apps that make them work together) and you expect me to pick a favorite? They're an interconnected web of automation that keeps my plants alive, my blog running, and my work organized.

Who inspires you? Or, alternatively, have you ever had a mentor, and how did they help you?

She'll roll her eyes at me so hard for writing this, but I'm constantly inspired by my mother. She never talks about herself or any of her accomplishments, of which there are many. She'll just casually drop in a gem when I'm talking to her about things happening at work where I want her opinion. For example, my mom spoke at one of the first PyCons. Didn't know that until about a month ago ¯\(ツ)/¯. What a badass.

What's one lesson from your career experience that you think people just starting out—particularly women—would benefit from knowing?

Volunteer to solve problems that are hard to solve. Even if you don't have the answer, and have no idea how to get it, just get started. Find people who can support and help you, research topics that you aren't comfortable with, and ask a million questions. There is no better way to advance your skills than to own something that at first feels intimidating.


Christina Buiza, Customer Champion at Zapier

Christina Buiza, Customer Champion (Vancouver, Canada)

Finish this sentence: One weird thing about me that most people don't know is: I've never had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

Describe what you do at Zapier. What's a typical day or week look like for you?

I have the privilege of helping Zapier's customers accomplish their goals, by answering questions, problem solving, and coming up with funky workflows to connect different apps together.

On a typical day, I usually spend my time in our inbox, responding to emails that come in. Apart from this, I could also be creating bug reports, adding feature requests, noting down product feedback, joining team meetings, or helping out with ad-hoc projects.

Tell us a bit about how you got into this field.

I started off my post-university career managing marketing and communications at a startup accelerator. This role fueled my fascination for new technologies, ideas, and figuring out how things work.

During this time, I'd also gone through a period of introspection. After reflecting on my values and the kind of work I wanted to be doing, I realized that I found the most happiness when I was listening to and interacting with people, helping them reach their goals.

It was an easy decision to take the leap when an opportunity came up to make a career switch to customer support.

What are you most proud of with regards to your career?

I consider myself to be strong-minded, and I'm proud that I don't give in to fear (too often).

An early career fear was that I wasn't communicating myself or my ideas well enough. I ended up battling this fear by jumping into a business development role to help me improve this skill. I ended up winning an award for most sales that year!

Who inspires you? Or, alternatively, have you ever had a mentor, and how did they help you?

My friend, Cait Flanders, inspires me. She recently published a book, The Year of Less, and it's a powerful read about her journey through addiction, consumption, and self-identity. I admire her vulnerability and her dedication to live as her true self.

What's one lesson from your career experience that you think people just starting out—particularly women—would benefit from knowing?

Take ownership of your career growth, and don't wait for permission to learn skills, gain experiences, and meet people who can help you.


Emily Jones, Frontend Engineer at Zapier

Emily Jones, Frontend Engineer (Fort Collins, CO)

Describe what you do at Zapier. What's a typical day or week look like for you?

I work on the frontend code that handles user interaction with the site. I'm on the core team, so I mostly work on the editor. When I'm not building new features, it's code review, discussions of frontend technology and fixing bugs.

Tell us a bit about how you got into this field.

I got into code trying to customize my MySpace profile, and got into building websites in the early days of the internet with Geocities. I didn't do much with it for a while, but after college, I wanted to build my own website for a side project. I wanted a lot of customization, so I started learning to code in order to implement it. I got sidetracked with learning to code because it was so much fun, and eventually made that my career focus.

What are you most proud of with regards to your career?

I'm most proud of sticking with coding even when I was 99% convinced I couldn't do it and my confidence was in the gutter. Getting through that really difficult period made it possible to achieve things I've only been dreaming about for years.

What does working in the tech industry, as a woman, mean to you?

It means I get to shape the future of the world into something that works for all genders. It means I get to thank the women who fought so hard in the past for our rights by doing something that matters and moves the world forward. It means I get to constantly prove people's biases wrong. It's incredibly empowering. And I can do it all from the warmth and comfort of my house in front of my computer.

Any other advice for readers or things you want to share?

I think a lot of people don't realize that they can do anything they want to do. It sounds cliché, but a lot of problems look a lot more difficult before you start working on them. If you pick the tiniest thing you can do, that will start the problem-solving process and often the rest falls into place or comes easier. I think this is applies to career, projects, goals, or anything else you want to do, really. Pick what you want to do and make one small step towards it. The following steps will then come a lot more naturally.

What's one lesson from your career experience that you think people just starting out—particularly women—would benefit from knowing?

Coding is really intimidating to get started with. There's a massive amount of information you need to know, and lots of people who are experts, most of them male, so it can be intimidating when you're first starting out. It's especially difficult because you know there's a bias against women in tech, and you don't want to be the one that confirms people's biases, so it can really be a lot of pressure to be good really quickly. That fosters a lot of imposter syndrome.

I think the lesson I take from all of this, though, is don't compare yourself to others. Focus on the goals you want to achieve and ignore the voices that tell you you can't. Find other women who code for a support network. But, most of all, don't count yourself out of something before you really give it a good, hard try, because you don't think you'll be good at it. Focus on solving problems, and the rest falls into place.


Lauren Borucki, UX Researcher

Lauren Borucki, UX Researcher (New Mexico, for now)

Describe what you do at Zapier. What's a typical day or week look like for you?

I'm a UX Researcher, which means I get the awesome job of interacting with our users–uncovering their problems and figuring out ways to solve them with Zapier.

Tell us a bit about how you got into this field.

I'm relatively new to research, having worked previously as a Project Manager. I wanted to be a part of the making process, so I quit, enrolled in a UX bootcamp, and somehow managed to put a portfolio together that was good enough to get me my first gig at IBM.

What does working in the tech industry, as a woman, mean to you?

Having always worked in the tech industry, I don't know anything else. For better or for worse, tech is, professionally speaking, my norm. I'm fortunate to have worked with female-led teams and for inspiring female leaders. I've also been in meetings or on teams where I'm the only female. Being a female, in tech, at Zapier? No BS, it's been the best experience so far.

What's your most-used Zap?

I have a series of Fab Reminders–three times a week my Beyonce bot sends me a lil' reminder on slack to keep #crushingit or, if I'm not #crushingit (hello procrasti-working), to get back on track. She also leaves me with a very inspiring GIF of herself.

What's one lesson from your career experience that you think people just starting out—particularly women—would benefit from knowing?

You are strong and capable, and deserve whatever future you see for yourself. Go get it!

Any other advice for readers or things you want to share?

I talk to a lot of women about career movement; getting that promotion, recognition, or that long overdue raise. These conversations can be uncomfortable, stress-inducing, and just unpleasant. My humble advice to you, fellow females, is to always fight for yourself. Never shy away from those conversations, and never be afraid to ask.


Julie Remington, Sr. Training and Development at Zapier

Julie Remington, Sr. Training and Development (Atlanta, GA)

Finish this sentence: One weird thing about me that most people don't know is: I'm a solid rockstar when alone in my car, jamming to songs I think I know the words to.

Describe what you do at Zapier. What's a typical day or week look like for you?

From onboarding as a new employee to leveling up in your career, we are creating opportunities for learning and development at all stages of a Zapier employee's career. My typical day includes a variety of one-on-one coaching conversations where I work directly with my co-workers and company teammates, helping them discover and take advantage of their unique opportunities for growth.

My typical week includes facilitating a conversation or workshop for a team or group of people to take advantage of the opportunities we have to work better together. When I'm not actively listening, communicating, and facilitating, I'm working on launching a central system for self-led learning opportunities, streamlining information flow for new hires, and collaborating with co-workers on a myriad of projects like health and wellness labs, advising on development opportunities inside and outside of Zapier, and collaborating with managers.

Tell us a bit about how you got into this field.

I stumbled upon this field when I decided I wanted to discover the business of education after a few hard years in public education as a middle and high school math teacher at an agriculture and sustainability based charter school. I was inspired by the students, but dismayed by the politics and wanted to understand why school boards made certain decisions. This led me to discover test prep, higher education, and eventually led me to corporate education. Whenever I was lucky enough to see someone in the mature part of their career have an ah-ha moment in a classroom, it reinforced for me that learning is important at all stages of life, not just when you're formally "in school." As adults, we benefit from prompts to reflect and reframe to continue to grow and we are continually learning from one another—this gets me excited every day as I wonder where today's ah-ha moments will happen.

What does working in the tech industry, as a woman, mean to you?

I feel very lucky to be in the tech industry because of the people I've had the opportunity to work with. When I left academia for tech, I remember thinking as long as I surround myself with friendly, smart people, I'll be in a good place. I have been lucky to have great experiences working at tech companies that provide me with an environment and community that thrive in just those ways. I've found it to be collaborative, inclusive, and intellectually inspired.

Who inspires you? Or, alternatively, have you ever had a mentor, and how did they help you?

I've always had an awesome network of women mentors and I am so thankful for them! They not only help me work through tough problems, but their support and encouragement have helped me to accomplish things I would've never thought I would even consider, like joining a growing startup to kick-off learning & development, LOL.

What are you most proud of with regards to your career?

Honestly, I never really expected to have a "career" when I set out on this path. Now that I'm in a position to look back and reflect, I think I'm proud that I didn't let any preconceived notions about the world and the careers in it dictate my path. Instead, I had experiences and came up with questions that I was inspired to find answers to. Although I am never fully satisfied with the answers I come up with and instead develop more questions, this is what I find fulfilling in career and life.

What's one lesson from your career experience that you think people just starting out—particularly women—would benefit from knowing?

Try and be an impartial listener first and find ways to verify facts and perspectives before negotiating, defending, promoting, etc. Work your feedback muscles from the start —both giving and receiving.


Andra Roston, Customer Champion at Zapier

Andra Roston, Customer Champion (Toronto, Canada)

Finish this sentence: One weird thing about me that most people don't know is: I actually went back to night school after I graduated university to finish off high school math!

Describe what you do at Zapier. What's a typical day or week look like for you?

As a Customer Champion, I spend most of my day in direct communication with customers helping them make the most of Zapier. It's fun to help someone work through an issue and get a chance to automate their work! I also work on our training team, so I spend some time every day helping Zapiens [other Zapier staff] learn how to help our customers, which I really enjoy.

Tell us a bit about how you got into this field.

I moved to Customer Support from teaching—I actually taught Drama for 4 years at a high school level. I realized that teaching and support have a lot in common, and decided to make a move.

What does working in the tech industry, as a woman, mean to you?

It means being the voice of a different perspective, and showing future generations that this isn't a boys' club—women are here and kicking butt!

What's your most-used Zap?

I have a Zap that reminds me via Slack to pay my rent each month—I've not been late to pay since I built it!

Who inspires you? Or, alternatively, have you ever had a mentor, and how did they help you?

It's cheesy, but my Mom is my biggest inspiration. She was the Executive Director of a children's mental health agency here in Toronto for 30 years (having just retired.) She showed me that women can be the boss and be strong and powerful—but also kind and empathic at the same time. Power from respect rather than fear. She taught me that I had as much of a right as anyone else to speak up and have opinions. She also reminded me that people can be intimidated by strong women and to never mind about those people.

What are you most proud of with regards to your career?

I'm proud to be forging a path for myself—not all careers are determined by what you went to school for. I turned a liberal arts degree in history and theatre into a job at a tech company, so anything is possible!

What's one lesson from your career experience that you think people just starting out—particularly women—would benefit from knowing?

Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. You'd be surprised how often people want to help you but don't know how. Let people know what you want or need and where you want to be, and you'll find that people want to help you get there. :)

Any other advice for readers or things you want to share?

The universe offers you opportunities every single day. You just need to believe in yourself enough to see them. You deserve good things to happen in your life—once you believe that, anything is possible.


Fred Castagnac, Product Marketer at Zapier

Fred Castagnac, Product Marketer (Biarritz, France)

Finish this sentence: One weird thing about me that most people don't know is: When I was a kid I wanted to be a judge for juveniles.

Tell us a bit about how you got into this field.

It's a mix of encounters and willingness to learn. After university, I decided to launch my own company. Back then the e-commerce market was a boiling one, especially in France. That's when I started to work in tech.

After a few years, the company shut down, and I decided that I wanted to keep working in the tech industry. I learned so much that I wanted to keep learning new things. So I landed at a marketing job at a French startup. After five years, I wanted to focus my skills on the product and to work in a fast-growing company. I was willing to learn more and progress in a more global company. And that's why I joined Zapier 6 months ago.

I think what got me here is the willingness to learn. Product marketers always need to surpass themselves, as we need to put complex products into simple words.

What does working in the tech industry, as a woman, mean to you?

I'm proud to work in the tech industry. I'm coming from a very different background, as I studied political sciences, and I think the tech industry is one of the most open to opportunities. It's a moving industry, and you can learn something new every day.

So coming from a different background, I'm proud today to do a job that I'm passionate about but still allows me to learn and level up my skills.

Besides, as a woman, I quickly found my place in this industry. For example, I've been invited to many events such as Women Think Next by Microsoft or Failcons to empower women—and it made me proud of my work. It also gave me the opportunity to inspire other women.

I think there is a special bond that exists between women. In my career, a lot of women empowered and motivated me to do better.

What's your most-used Zap?

A weather notification Zap. I run a lot, so weather is important! I have a simple but effective Zap that sends me the day's weather forecast every morning.

Who inspires you? Or, alternatively, have you ever had a mentor, and how did they help you?

One woman that impresses me (but as nothing to do with the tech industry ;-)) is Coco Chanel, for the woman that she was. She didn’t care about what people said—she was not perfect by any means—but she pursued her passion. If there was something she wanted to do or to try, she would do it, not caring about what society would say. Watching her helped me think I don't care what other people are saying—if I want to do it, I can!

What are you most proud of with regards to your career?

I'm really proud to work for an international company. And I think this is what the tech industry is about. It opens up so many possibilities. I'm proud to work in a competitive company from the southwest of France.

Whether you're a woman, French, or anything else, you can accomplish great things in this industry. There's room for everyone.

Any other advice for readers or things you want to share?

"Age is of no importance unless you’re a cheese." This is my favorite adage. Not only because it talks about cheese and I'm a cheese addict! But it also tells us that age, gender, nationality, or hair color has no importance! We can do great things whoever you are and where ever you live.


Mariatta Wijaya, Platform Engineer at Zapier

Mariatta Wijaya, Platform Engineer (Vancouver, BC)

Finish this sentence: One weird thing about me that most people don't know is: When I like a song, I can listen to it, on repeat, for hours and days and weeks, and not get bored.

Describe what you do at Zapier. What's a typical day or week look like for you?

As a Platform Engineer, I'm part of the team responsible for maintaining the Developer Platform, ongoing app improvements/maintenance, and providing tools for partners to engage with the Zapier ecosystem.

Tell us a bit about how you got into this field.

I played a lot of video games as a child, as I grew up I became curious and interested to learn how to write programs for video games. I started by learning BASIC programming in junior high school. And then I learned HTML by myself. I pursued a Computer Science degree, and now I've been in this field for almost 15 years. Prior to Zapier, I've worked at various companies across Canada, and I have experience building desktop apps, embedded devices, and web applications.

What are you most proud of with regards to your career?

Several things I'm proud of:

  • For my involvement at a previous company, my name shows up at the end credit of several movies (Spider-Man Homecoming, The Emoji Movie, and 4 others).
  • I've had the opportunity to speak at various conferences around the world. This coming May, I'll be giving a talk and tutorial at PyCon US (Zapier is a sponsor).

What's your most-used Zap?

GitHub and Slack integrations. I have a Zap where whenever someone mentions me on GitHub (something I consider high priority), I get notified via a Slack DM. It pops up on my phone and computer.

Who inspires you? Or, alternatively, have you ever had a mentor, and how did they help you?

I'm fortunate to have been mentored personally by Guido van Rossum, the creator of Python. It started as a mentorship to help me get started contributing to open source. However, I've been learning so much more from him—not just about Python, but also about the community, and he's even offered me career advice and moral support. Seeing his involvement and leadership in the Python community is what inspired me to be more active and involved in this community as well.


Lindsay Brand, Customer Support Manager at Zapier

Lindsay Brand, Customer Support Manager (Barcelona, Spain)

Finish this sentence: One weird thing about me that most people don't know is: The trouble is, I tend to give out TMI. One weird thing that most people do know about me, though, is that my partner and I do vacuum our cat: (full disclosure: he loves it!)

Describe what you do at Zapier. What's a typical day or week look like for you?

I manage some of the awesome folks internationally on the Zapier support team. That means I have weekly 1:1s with my team, do ticket reviews with them, and help direct and support their careers. I'm also the hiring manager for international customer champion positions and run some operational tasks, like assigning roles on the queue and planning the weekend schedule.

Tell us a bit about how you got into this field.

I've always been into customer-facing roles. My family has always had pet shops, and I've been helping customers in the shops since I was old enough to. After Uni, I got a job as a project manager for a small digital agency and have been helping customers in tech since then.

What are you most proud of with regards to your career?

I'm most proud of the person my career has made me. I used to suffer from a lot of anxiety issues, but the road I have followed and the opportunities Zapier has given me have made me a better, stronger, and smarter person.

What does working in the tech industry, as a woman, mean to you?

Although we have made great strides in the last few years, it's still really important to be a representative and a role model for other women in tech. The industry is far from perfect, but I think Zapier sets a great example all companies should follow, and we should all keep fighting together.

What's your most-used Zap?

My most used Zap is Slack - New Starred Message > Todoist - Create Task. Slack is so busy it helps me make sure I don't miss anything important.

Who inspires you? Or, alternatively, have you ever had a mentor, and how did they help you?

Alison Groves from Highrise HQ has constantly been an inspiration, mentor and friend to me. Even though we live an ocean apart, she's always got time to listen to my thoughts and give me sage advice, feedback, and motivation! Also, it sounds cheesy but my Mum—she taught me to be independent and strong, gives me advice, and keeps me level—that's why she's walking me down the aisle this summer.

What's one lesson from your career experience that you think people just starting out—particularly women—would benefit from knowing?

In both career and life, I love to seek advice and from inspirational female role models. I'm so lucky that I have worked with some incredible women. Learning from their experience and talking to them has kept me strong, even in difficult times.


Meghan Gezo, People Ops Specialist at Zapier

Meghan Gezo, People Ops Specialist (Plymouth, MI)

Describe what you do at Zapier. What's a typical day or week look like for you?

I help new hires get acclimated, plan company retreats and help managers plan retreats for their teams, answer questions from Zapiens around the world, and make sure our policies are up-to-date and easy to understand.

Tell us a bit about how you got into this field.

I originally thought I wanted to work in government. I made the transition to HR because it let me leave government but still get to work with public policy a bit. Making the transition to HR helped me realize how much I love helping the people around me.

What does working in the tech industry, as a woman, mean to you?

There may be a smaller group of women in tech, but at Zapier that's only helped us to form a tighter bond!

What's your most-used Zap?

At work: Whenever a manager wants to change someone's job title, pay, etc., they fill out a form and I get a Slack notification so I don't have to check my email or constantly check the form for new submissions.

At home: I have a Zap that texts my husband every day and reminds him to take his vitamins.

What's one lesson from your career experience that you think people just starting out—particularly women—would benefit from knowing?

Step out of your comfort zone, even if you just start with a baby step! It's the best way to grow professionally and personally.

Any other advice for readers or things you want to share?

Be your most genuine self and the right opportunity will eventually follow.


Amy Breedon-Jones, Customer Champion

Amy Breedon-Jones, Customer Champion (Nottingham, UK)

Describe what you do at Zapier. What's a typical day or week look like for you?

I'm still learning the ropes in the support team, so my days are split between answering customer emails and completing support training.

Tell us a bit about how you got into this field.

I definitely came to tech support the long way round! I spent the first 7 years of being in a "proper job" doing schools outreach for the University of Nottingham.

As time went on, I realised that it wasn't for me and I wanted a role that was more focused on software and technology. I assumed that I didn't have a chance of getting into the field because I don't have any formal qualifications in IT or coding, etc. I knew I had to make a change, though, so I found ways to get experience: asking for a secondment to the social media team to level up my digital editing skills, volunteering for tasks that needed someone to learn a new software and train others, and anything that would prove to an employer that I was good at working in the digital world!

That experience gave me the confidence to take a leap and I applied for a position at a local startup. I got the job and it gave me amazing exposure to so many different aspects of the SaaS business. I loved support because it mixes problem solving, helping people, and technical skills. After a couple of years levelling up my game there, I moved to Zapier!

What are you most proud of with regards to your career?

It would have been really easy for me to give up on working in tech because I had no way to retrain or make a huge life change. Instead of getting down about not being able to make a big jump, I looked for the small steps that were within my reach.

What does working in the tech industry, as a woman, mean to you?

I still feel as though I don't belong! Especially as I'm "only" in support and not an engineer or similar.

What's your most-used Zap?

Not terribly exciting, as I need to build up my collection, but the one I use most is the one that sends me a message on Slack when I have new Help Scout Ticket in my Mine folder. :)

Who inspires you? Or, alternatively, have you ever had a mentor, and how did they help you?

Recently, I've been inspired by people I've met through networking. These are women doing really cool things. For example: @gentlethorns, who organises the Support Breakfast Podcast and @JessPWhite, who up until recently was an organiser for Women in Tech, Nottingham. Both of these women gave their time to help others to learn, connect, and grow, which is pretty awesome in my book :)

What's one lesson from your career experience that you think people just starting out—particularly women—would benefit from knowing?

It's okay to not know exactly what you want to do, there's a whole world of new and exciting roles out there! If something interests you, then follow it.

Any other advice for readers or things you want to share?

Don't wait for the perfect opportunity, find a way to get yourself there. And just because you can't make it happen tomorrow, doesn't mean that you won't make it happen.

Equally (if not more) important is learning self-compassion: Don't be too hard on yourself!


Emily Breuninger, Partnerships Manager-Launches at Zapier

Emily Breuninger, Partnerships Manager-Launches (Lake Tahoe, CA)

Finish this sentence: One weird thing about me that most people don't know is: I collect rocks

Describe what you do at Zapier. What's a typical day or week look like for you?

I manage new apps that are launching integrations from beta on Zapier. This entails working with apps' developers and marketers to ensure they are announcing the partnership and making the integration well-known to their user base.

Tell us a bit about how you got into this field.

My first job was working as a marketing intern for a SaaS startup 7 years ago (I found the ad on Craigslist!), and I fell in love with it! I've been working in the SaaS startup space ever since.

What's one lesson from your career experience that you think people just starting out—particularly women—would benefit from knowing?

Speak up. The software sales space is particularly intimidating for women, in my experience. It's a primarily male-dominated field, and it's not uncommon to find yourself the only woman in a room full of loud, boisterous men. I've learned to tell someone privately if they interrupted or talked over me, or correct someone if they use a gendered pronoun, and it becomes an opportunity for education.

Never be afraid to let your voice be heard.

Who inspires you? Or, alternatively, have you ever had a mentor, and how did they help you?

Michelle Obama

What does working in the tech industry, as a woman, mean to you?

Being in tech as a woman is a huge part of my identity, and it largely makes me who I am today. I've learned a lot from this industry, and am proud of the woman I've become because of it.

What are you most proud of with regards to your career?

I was the third employee of that startup I mentioned earlier. We were still technically in beta, were completely bootstrapped, and had no marketing or sales strategy, and no paying customers. I worked at the startup for 3 years and during that time was promoted to the Marketing Manager. When I left the company, we had 2 dozen employees, over 2,000 paying customers, and were well on our way towards profitability. It was a rewarding experience, and I am immensely grateful to be apart of a startup built from the ground up.


Larissa Abaidoo, Customer Champion at Zapier

Larissa Abaidoo, Customer Champion (Ghent, Belgium)

Finish this sentence: One weird thing about me that most people don't know is: I'm obsessed with relationships and love, from pretty much every perspective: psychological, anthropological, biological, historical, etc. I just think it's an endlessly fascinating topic about which I'll never stop learning.

Describe what you do at Zapier. What's a typical day or week look like for you?

I'm a Customer Champion on the Support Team. I help users at all stages of their journey, whether they're thinking about signing up or they've been with us for years (and need help to iron out their 30-Step workflow). Everyone on the Support Team also supports each other, so I spend time helping other members of the Team help users as well. It's a whole lot of helping!

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that one of the best things about working at Zapier is that there is no typical day! I'm fortunate to have variety in what I do. I guess what ties everything together is that every day I'm solving problems, learning new things, being inspired, and having way too much fun on Slack.

Tell us a bit about how you got into this field.

Before Zapier I was an actress-turned-real estate consultant-turned-marketing director-turned-brand strategist-turned-middle school teacher. (I also tutored and wrote resumes.)

So, I definitely didn't follow a conventional "career path" by any means. My journey has also been a global one; I'm originally from New York but I've lived and worked all over the US and the world.

I happily landed where I am now by looking for where my values and skill strengths aligned with a company and a position.

What's one lesson from your career experience that you think people just starting out—particularly women—would benefit from knowing?

I can't narrow it down to one, so:

My biggest piece of advice is to find a career area and a company that aligns with your life values. Quick qualifier: Your job is not your life. You want to find a job that supports, complements, and fits your life; so its values should support, complement, and fit your values.

Second, save your obsessions for your hobbies. This flies in the face of the popular millennial "do what you love" thing but that's what I've learned. The source of enthusiasm for working for a company should be first in the environment, second in the day-to-day tasks, and third in the company's purpose. I say that because if, on a scale of 1 to 10, you're at an 11 on what the company does but a 2 on the environment and a 6 on the day-to-day tasks? That's a recipe for burnout, depression, and anxiety. The sense of obligation and buy-in coupled with the lack of general satisfaction will cripple you. In brief: setting, action, reason, in that order. The best part? If all those things are above an 8 (which they should be if you follow lesson #1), the order no longer matters. :-)

What does working in the tech industry, as a woman, mean to you?

I still remember the adolescent shift when the perception of my interest in tech went from "cool" to "weird." In eighth grade, I was lauded for creating and maintaining a homework website for our class (in the days before that was the status quo) and everyone wanted me to customize their TeenOpenDiary pages but come sophomore year I was the only girl in my IT class. To me, working in tech represents a return to self; one of the only areas I've ever been able to marry my left brain and my right brain.

What are you most proud of with regards to your career?

That I've been relentless in my pursuit of a career that aligns with my strengths and my values. That I've always maintained a positive outlook and drive. Things haven't always been daisies and sunshine; there's been sexism (and ageism and racism…) but I've always made it a point to remain steadfast, and I haven't let my career be about other people and their hangups.

Who inspires you? Or, alternatively, have you ever had a mentor, and how did they help you?

I try not to meet or name my heroes but I am inspired, in general, by people who are unapologetically themselves.

I also draw a lot of inspiration from the women in my family. My Ghanaian paternal grandmother was one fierce lady: she worked as a headmistress and waited to have (six!) children until she was in her thirties/forties. This was in the 1940's and 1950's when that was really not done. I don't remember her and she passed away when I was seven but when relatives tell me I remind them of her, I take that as a huge compliment.

My Belgian maternal grandmother grew up on a farm and wanted to become a doctor but her parents couldn't afford to pay for that level of education so she became a perioperative nurse. When she married my grandfather, she had to stop working because married women weren't allowed to work. As soon as that changed, she went back to work part-time until retirement. She's the busiest woman I know, still. If she's not gardening or cooking, she's doing crossword puzzles or teaching herself a new language. She also a warrior queen, having beat Stage 4 cancer in her eighties.

Finally, shoutout to my badass mom who was basically Belle from Beauty and the Beast living in a provincial town, dreaming of "adventure in the great wide somewhere" and has since enjoyed a 30+ year diplomatic career, traveling the globe, published a book, and is also a trained interior designer. She has strong opinions but she has always encouraged me to follow my own path, and to keep striving.

Guess you could say that doing your own thing, and a lot of them, runs in the family!

What's your most-used or favorite Zap?

I'm taking a part-time class right now and I track my study progress on a Trello board, so I have a Zap set up so a little bot sends me celebratory words of encouragement whenever I master a skill and words of gentle prodding when it's been a while since I've made any progress.

Any other advice for readers or things you want to share?
You only get one life and it's short. If something's not right, don't complain about it, change it. Question your own assumptions and your own excuses. Take the trip. Buy the shoes. Eat the cake.

Know that you are worthy of love and compassion. Extend love and compassion to others. Approach people with curiosity instead of judgment. Everyone's being tested, so keep your eyes on your own paper. :-)


We're proud to celebrate some of the women we have the honor of working with. And we're happy to hear your stories and recommendations as well in the comments or on Twitter @zapier!

Zapier's also hiring, so please do check out our Jobs page and join us.

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“If we didn't get these ongoing notifications through Zapier, we’d miss important information on how patient funding is going. It's saved us so much time.”

Grace Garey, co-founder of Watsi

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