Who is she?
Evelina Lye is the Head of Marketing for Creator & Media Partnerships at Meta (Instagram and Facebook) across Asia Pacific and also the Co-founder of UNTAM3D a web3 women and non-binary community with over 1200 members to date. Their mission at UNTAM3D is to decode web3 for women+ and bring more women and under-represented groups into the web3 space.
They provide a supportive space for women and non-binary individuals to navigate decentralized technologies and bridge the gender gap in tech.
As a third culture kid, born to Singaporean and Italian parents, raised in the UK. All Evelina wanted to do was ‘fit in’ with British culture growing up and she didn’t recognise any of her differences as strengths to be celebrated. It wasn’t until later in life that she realised the power in her own uniqueness.
In 2008, Evelina left the UK for a then one-year work exchange (a trip she is still on). As it turns out, her mixed background and exposure to diverse cultures early in life, brought richness and understanding to conversations with colleagues from all around the world, adding real value to her work and her team. This perspective has allowed her to lead complex Global projects at Meta, spanning diverse markets and cultures.
Outside of work, she will describe herself as a curious ambivert. Evelina gets a lot of creative energy and joy being surrounded by interesting and kind people. At the same time, she has also gained a lot of focus and clarity in moments of solitude. Exploring new hobbies, leaning into experiences are all sources of inspiration for her to fuel her curiosity and recharge her batteries.
Can you tell us why or what made you decide to enter the technology sector?
“A series of accidental decisions got me into tech. I completed a bachelors in English Literature and Language. I loved reading growing up, I was also good at writing and storytelling so it came easy to me. Once I graduated I fell into a research role as a conference producer at an established Publishing House. I had no idea what a conference producer was at the time – but as it turns out it was a perfect role for me. It allowed me to quickly develop my confidence as I was forced to speak to senior level executives on a variety of topics including technology, global policy, regeneration and marketing.
Through that role I watched some fantastic business leaders present on stages. I made contacts, I grew my network and I was asked to move to Asia. That exposure led me to advertising and I grafted for a number of years at a number of large MNC digital and creative agencies across Asia and Australia. This was my first real taste in brand marketing and how technology was changing the game for brands. Social Media Marketing became a ‘thing’ and consumer attention was rapidly changing because of tech. Tech disruption was abound and I decided that I wanted a front seat in what was clearly ‘the present and future.’
Fast-forward and I landed a role at Meta. I feel privileged to be able to witness the inside of one of the largest tech companies in the world. The amount of work it takes to run a ship of this magnitude, that touches 3.5 billion people around the world on a daily basis is extraordinary.”
What is a typical morning at work?
“I’m the kind of person that likes to have 8 hours sleep. A good night’s rest means I can start my day early, around 6:30 am when I’m my most energetic and productive. I’d love to say I don’t look at my phone first thing, but I mostly do, although I do make a point not to respond to messages till later unless urgent. I have a coffee, a must first thing in the morning (I dabbled in amateur barista making once). I get my sportswear on and usually commit to doing between 30-40 mins of pilates or HIIT exercise. I then get ready for the day.
My work schedule depends very much on what is happening day to day. I work with a large Global team so there are usually a number of messages sent overnight which I read through and deal with first. I will then typically have a number of team meetings in the morning to set the agenda for the day/ week with various marketing colleagues and stakeholders. No one day looks the same which is what keeps the role interesting.”
How do you stay at the forefront of technological advancements and emerging trends in the industry?
“I listen to a lot of leadership and tech podcasts while commuting. It’s usually my daily dose of inspiration and helps to form my opinion on trending topics while making my commute enjoyable. My current favourite is the ‘Prof G pod with Scott Galloway’. His sharp tongue and killer one-liners keep the discussion entertaining and I find his take on current affairs, leadership and the tech space to be very informed. I also find a lot of great content on Linkedin and what my connections are organically sharing.”
Can you share examples of significant technological innovations or breakthroughs that you find particularly exciting or impactful?
“Unoriginally my answer here is AI. It’s being discussed a lot right now but the potential for AI to transform sectors like healthcare, drug discovery and education is undeniably substantial along with so many other sectors. Artificial intelligence, used in the right way, will be able to analyse massive datasets at supersonic speed, identify patterns we as humans can’t see and be able to generate insights for new innovations and efficiencies. That’s a certainty and really exciting.
What’s really important now though is the need for guardrails and regulatory frameworks to ensure the deployment of responsible and ethical AI. These guardrails need to be put into place quickly and my hope is that regulatory bodies can keep up and act fast. (Not an easy feat when things are moving so fast in this space.) We need these essential foundations, to nurture a future where AI’s transformative potential is harnessed for positive world impact.”
What are some of the main challenges or obstacles that you perceive in the adoption and implementation of new technologies?
“For me the greatest obstacle to mass adoption lies in the ability of a new technology to provide a friction seamlessly-free and intuitive user experience. Put simply, it needs to be easy-to-use and at the same time effortlessly integrate into people’s lives. So much so that people might not even know it’s even there. We see this route to mainstream adoption time and time again.
Take AI, for instance. It’s been around since the 1950s, but it wasn’t until the emergence of ChatGPT in late 2022, an accessible and easy to use AI interface, that most people experienced the potential of more advanced AI models for the very first time and their minds were blown. Tech needs to be simple or more accurately appear simple for people to want to use it.”
Are they specific domains or areas within the technology industry that you consider to have a substantial growth potential, and why?
“Unoriginally my answer here is AI. It’s being discussed a lot right now but the potential for AI to transform sectors like healthcare, drug discovery and education is undeniably substantial along with so many other sectors. Artificial intelligence, used in the right way, will be able to analyse massive datasets at supersonic speed, identify patterns we as humans can’t see and be able to generate insights for new innovations and efficiencies.
That’s a certainty and really exciting. What’s really important now though is the need for guardrails and regulatory frameworks to ensure the deployment of responsible and ethical AI. These guardrails need to be put into place quickly and my hope is that regulatory bodies can keep up and act fast. (Not an easy feat when things are moving so fast in this space). We need these essential foundations, to nurture a future where AI’s transformative potential is harnessed for positive world impact.”
How do you foster a culture of innovation within your organisation and what practices do you employ to drive technological advancements?
“It helps to be a curious person. Getting inspired and finding innovative approaches isn’t a linear exercise. For me it comes from genuinely being interested in people as well as a lot of very different topics. For instance I love baking, I also love latin dancing, I love tech, I love discussions about leadership and climate change and I also love traveling.
I get a lot of creative energy being surrounded by curious people and my best days are often the days I’m learning from others. For me these passions aren’t mutually exclusive and I often find insights from one area of my life being applied to another and vice versa. Being multi-passionate also allows for the greatest skill of all, the ability to talk to anyone about anything. Building relationships. This is what I believe sets people apart and encourages innovation and creativity.”
From your perspective, what role does technology play in advancing sustainability and driving positive change?
“Technology plays a vital role in advancing sustainability and driving positive change. Combined with our collective human will to provoke change and raise awareness of critical world issues, technology provides the tools and means to bring positive human intention to fruition at scale. New technologies like AI might also offer us new ways to solve big problems like Climate Change for instance.
Technology as part of any conversation on sustainability is paramount as it offers so many remarkable solutions from fostering global connectivity and knowledge sharing, to enabling the adoption of renewable energy sources. The beauty of technology is also that it’s dynamic and ever-changing. Technology will continuously evolve and present us with new possibilities that can drive positive outcomes for diverse fields.”
What were some of the life lessons which you have learned along the way in your career?
“Firstly, always Be yourself and define your own leadership style. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, even if that means leading in ways that are different than others. There is no one “right” way to lead, and it’s important to find a style that is authentic to you. I believe ‘power’ doesn’t need to look loud or dominating and I choose to lead authentically with kindness for my team and colleagues first and foremost.
Secondly, be wildly curious and keep evolving. It’s fun to stay curious and open to new ideas. Adopt a growth mindset, and embrace challenges and failures as opportunities to learn, even if painful will allow you to grow. I personally use my curiosity about different cultures, people, and technology to fuel my work and connect others.
Thirdly, surround yourself with people who share your dream. Build community with those who not only believe in you but also share your dream. Collaborate with others to achieve collective success that is far greater than what you could have achieved on your own. I created UNTAM3D in collaboration with other women who shared my dream of breaking barriers by amplifying the voices of women and other under represented groups in the web3 space.”
What advice would you give to individuals seeking to forge a successful career path in the technology industry?
“My advice would be to believe in yourself and your capabilities. Surround yourself with supportive networks, both online and offline and where you can find mentorship and guidance. For women looking to get into the sector – find women mentors in tech that inspire you. You don’t need to be ‘coder’ to work in tech.
There are so many disciplines within tech companies whether that’s strategy, planning, marketing, HR, design or others. Putting yourself in a position where your skills are transferable to tech is key here, as well as confidence. Be confident in your abilities and you’ll go a long way.”