Although the tech industry has significantly expanded, the number of women who are a part of this widespread expansion has actually reduced. Although it might see that women in the industry are gradually moving into parity with men, the increase in numbers is not happening quickly enough. In fact, the dismal statistics about the state of women in tech may surprise you. Only 25%of computing jobs are held by women. What’s worse is that this number has been on a steady decline for years. The turnover rate is more than twice for women than men in the tech industry, with women at 41% and men at 17%. Furthermore, only 12% of engineers at Silicon Valley startups are women, and a much lesser number – 11% of women hold executive positions at Silicon Valley companies.
Yet, it might be a relief to know that there are women out there, especially our own Asian women who have made a place for themselves in the tech scene. In today’s article, we discuss the achievements of Cheryl Yeoh, founder of MaGIC Malaysia.
Who is She?
Born and bred in Kuala Lumpur, Cheryl went to the States to study engineering under two full scholarship programs. Prior to becoming the CEO of Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre
, Cheryl quit her job as a management consultant and later co-founded CityPockets, a daily deal voucher organiser and secondary marketplace; and later Reclip.It, which was acquired by Walmart Labs in 2013.
Cheryl has won numerous awards within the entrepreneurship industry. She was named “Top 44 Female Founders Every Entrepreneur Should Know” by Mashable, “Top 10 Women in Digital” by L’Oreal, and was selected as one of 10 Global Women Ambassadors to hike Mt Kilimanjaro on a charity fundraiser.
How was MaGIC Built?
Cheryl tried her best not to replicate the startup hub of Silicon Valley as it was really unique in the Bay Area. When she was living in New York, she saw how the community there built the tech scene with a considerable amount of knowledge-sharing sessions, robust co-working spaces, intimate founder events and dinners, tech demo events, office hour platforms, coding schools, etc. By using what she had learned from being in the scene, Cheryl managed to successfully build MaGIC.
Challenges She Faced?
The biggest challenge she had faced was hiring the right people. A common challenge people encounter when starting a company, finding the best people who are smarter than them to manage functions of the organization was a rather dire process. Furthermore, Cheryl did not have a network of people in Malaysia, which caused her even more challenges when she went back to Malaysia.
What Motivates Her?
Working on people’s personal growth, knowing what each of her direct reports’ career goals and helping them by understanding their strengths and weaknesses is the reason she works hard everyday. Cheryl feels that it is important to know whether or not they are struggling with issues at work or personally, as she knows that employees are more engaged and more motivated to go the extra mile for the company too, if she shows that she cares as well.