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Meet 3 Women Working Behind The Tech Scenes At Grab Who Make Sure You Have A Seamless Ride

I’m sure you’ve taken a ride using the Grab app at some point of time, be it for a taxi, GrabCar or GrabShare, and most recently GrabShuttle.

Despite all the transportation nodes, we must not forget that Grab is essentially a technology company, one that is driven by the data of those who drive, and those who ride. Naturally one would think of it as a man’s world, and you would be right.

For Grab however, women too are equally involved in driving the company forward, all in the name of making sure both riders and drivers get a seamless experience.

Here’s three women from the team who has come forward to share their story.

1. Shivani Murkherjee, Quality Assurance (QA) Lead For Driver Payments

“The idea that engineers just code is outdated … Engineers now have to go beyond technical roles to consider things like the user experience, business and customer requirements.” 

Image Credit: Grab

Grab’s drivers are the backbone of the company, so making sure they get paid is paramount.

Shivani Murkherjee is the Quality Assurance (QA) Lead for Driver Payments and is part of the team responsible for improving the payment system for drivers, with a view to fully automate the pay-out process.

With a background in engineering, electronics and communication, Murkherjee first ventured into the brave new world of tech in 2011 as a QA Engineer. Her experience has taken her through the banking, financial services and insurance industries in the United Kingdom and Singapore.

She is also passionate about empowering women and wants to improve the lives of young girls.

Her thoughts on women in tech:

“In my work, quality can be approached from different angles. So having a gender-balanced team definitely helps. I find that male engineers think in more straightforward terms while women are more detail-oriented. They think out of the box and will consider all use cases, including edge cases and negative scenarios.

When building a product, you want a good mix of those perspectives.”

Advice for women out there:

“Challenge anybody – or anything – who questions your abilities. Always tell yourself that you deserve better. For instance, if you’re in a grade one engineering role, think about how you can hit the next grade. Constantly strive for more so you won’t be complacent.”

2. Xiaole Kuang, Lead Engineer For Payments

“No job is a ‘solo’ one these days. It’s all about teamwork. Engineers must know how to express themselves and convince others of their ideas.”

Image Credit: Grab

As Lead Engineer for Payments in Grab, Xiaole Kuang takes charge of a team of seven engineers (most of whom are male) – and she says it is something that will surprise people when they hear it.

While she may be their leader, she doesn’t see the team as working for her. Rather, she feels that it is instead her job to empower them.

Together they are responsible for GrabPay, Grab’s in-app payment platform which most riders will have definitely used.

With her background in computer science and a Masters in Human Computer Interaction, Kuang works with her team to create and improve the next generation of Grab’s cashless payment solutions.

Her thoughts on women in tech:

“I don’t look at gender when building my team. I want people with the right skills and personality, and I won’t downgrade my standards. But I believe there is a case for having more women in the industry.

There are very few female leaders in IT, much less CTOs. There are times when I’ve even questioned how far I can go in this field. We need to see more role models so women can believe in their own potential to progress.”

Advice for women out there:

“If you are a woman in a male-dominated team, my advice is: Don’t think of yourself as a woman on the team. Just focus on the tasks and do what you believe is best for the company.”

3. Hannah Vergara, Engineering Lead For Quality Assurance

“Engineering, to me, is… The building block for change. Engineers don’t just identify problems; they work on solutions.”

Image Credit: Grab

Having studied Computer Engineering in university (where there were only 2 female students), Vergara’s career first brought her into test automation, an area which she then continued to explore for the next few years.

In her journeys, it was not uncommon to find herself being the only female engineer in her team but she is thankful that there was never a time when she felt singled out.

In Grab, she is the Engineering Lead for Quality Assurance and leads a team of 15 engineers where just over half of them are women.

A strong advocate of the value of diverse teams, Vergara is also passionate about solving illiteracy and firmly believes that education is the first step to social change.

Her thoughts on women in tech:

“In my work, quality can be approached from different angles. So having a gender-balanced team definitely helps. I find that male engineers think in more straightforward terms while women are more detail-oriented. They think out of the box and will consider all use cases, including edge cases and negative scenarios.

When building a product, you want a good mix of those perspectives.”

The importance of a culture of respect:

“Respect is a core value in Grab. I’ve seen it in how our teams debate and settle differences cordially, and how the leaders conduct themselves. Whenever I make a new hire, I always assess if the person shares those values.

A culture of respect ensures that every person and their viewpoints are valued.”

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Grab
Image Credit: Grab

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, let us not forget that the world is now a vastly different place where diversity transcends not just genders, but also race, culture, sexual orientation and more.

 

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