#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Iris Yuan

“Don’t get caught in the glory of your last thing. Move on to the next. Grow.”

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m a strategic partnerships manager at IBM Watson Marketing. Before that, I was a product manager and CS student in New York (self-taught web developer) interning at various tech startups in NYC. Fun fact: I’ve lived and moved across all coasts — grew up in the Silicon Valley, spent college in the Silicon Alley and now enjoy the unique tech/ data science scene that Chicago has to offer. Being able to experience these differing technology climates has shaped how I evaluate company cultures/ opportunities, the tech industry in general and the power of networking in the age of the Internet.

What # would define your life journey?

Favorite website / app:
I read Quora. A lot. 🙂

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
I am blessed to work with a supportive team who challenges me to speak up and ask questions. They inspire me to talk back when I think a certain decision is wrong or inaccurate, and stand up for my views instead of letting the loudest voice in the room win.

Song that makes you want to dance:
Alaska by Maggie Rogers

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
One lesson I’ve learned in working full-time is that people come from all types of backgrounds and don’t really care what yours is, just what you can contribute now. This makes overcoming imposter syndrome a lot easier.

Up until college, I self-identified as a writer and journalist. I wasn’t interested in CS or Robotics Club – there were enough people at my high school doing that, and I was under the impression that many were because their parents were engineers. It wasn’t until my 2nd year in college by curiosity of learning web dev, that I fell into the CS track in college and came out 1.5 years later with a full major sprinkled with interdisciplinary electives. Still, I struggled to identify with (male) classmates who singularly loved coding and going to hackathons and being brogrammers. A guy once informed me after I got a free Python sticker in class that I wasn’t a “real developer” so I shouldn’t be taking it. Annoying and silly moments like these led me to embrace focusing on my own success and joining the most positive community, Tech@NYU, which proved to be one of the best decisions of my college career.

Ideal Job:
I want to center my career around the intersection of beautiful product, design and technology. Title-wise, whether that means diving headfirst back into coding and becoming a full stack developer, or learning the financial and economic ropes needed to become a VC, I’m not sure yet. For the time being, I’m really enjoying managing SaaS/ cloud/ cognitive technology partnerships and integrations that drive value and dollars across businesses and companies. I strongly believe that clear storytelling, seamless user experience and sticky product value are key to successfully monetizing a portfolio in market.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially early in your career and especially in a male-dominated room. Often I look around and realize during back-to-back partner meetings, that all day I haven’t talked to or seen a single woman in the conference room with me. Remember that you are there to learn and the room wants to hear what you think. You do not represent your entire gender/ race.

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