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Equity is something Appier cannot exist without

When Winnie Lee joined Appier’s founding team in 2012, she had never worked in the corporate world, much less started her own company. 

As she navigated the ins and outs of operating a startup, she had to trust her own instincts as much as, if not more than, she looked to examples in the industry. More than a decade later, Winnie and her co-founders Chih-han Yu and Joe Su have grown Appier into a profitable, publicly-listed company with 17 offices around the world. 

More importantly, they have built a company with a culture of equity and inclusivity that originated from the original values they trusted and held onto when they were starting out. 

Examples of this culture include a flexible working model that allows employees to work at the office or from home depending on their needs; CEO Chih-han and Winnie’s Ask Me Anything sessions to address any questions and concerns; and of course, celebration of causes and holidays such as International Women’s Day. 

What does the IWD 2023 theme mean at Appier? 

The official campaign theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #EmbraceEquity. 

One of the key purposes of the campaign is to explain the difference between equality and equity, and highlight why we should aim to achieve the latter. 

As stated on its website, Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.” 

Why is embracing equity important to Winnie? “Because It’s like air, like water,” she explains. “It is something we cannot live without.” 

As Appier has grown in size, Winnie wants to pay more attention to the company’s culture and create an environment where anyone and everyone can succeed. Such a commitment is one that the 600+ Appier employees worldwide share.

Business Enablement Lead Carynl Tan thinks about equity as “ensuring each person’s next goal is within their reach.”

Carynl disagrees with the traditional view of success and progress as a zero-sum game. Instead, she thinks of it as all connected, where the only sustainable way of continuing to succeed and progress is if we all do it together. 

“Without equity, this concept cannot be realized, because some of us will simply always find the next step out of reach,” she points out. 

The issue that Carynl highlights is one that women in the workplace are too familiar with. Whether it is harassment, unfair responsibility for emotional labor, or the uneven division of household chores, there are still many external factors holding women back from fully participating in the workforce and thriving. 

Account Strategist Hisae Miyoshi believes that embracing equity is the answer to addressing these problems. “By embracing equity, I believe that people who may otherwise be hindered by their circumstances will be able to achieve their full potential.”

How does Appier embrace equity & foster an inclusive environment?

Winnie is far from the only female leader at Appier. Across different offices and functions, Appier has a number of female leaders who are breaking the glass ceiling in tech and business. 

Fiona Lin Ferrier is Appier’s AVP of Sales and Account Management for US and EMEA. She has been instrumental in successfully breaking Appier into these new markets, with the 2022 fiscal year revenue from the US and EMEA markets increasing over 7 times year-on-year and representing 12% of the company’s total revenues. 

Juyeon Ko is Appier’s Head of Enterprise Solutions Sales for South Korea. She has actively increased Appier’s mind and market share in the Korean market, and has expanded the company into different verticals. 

The presence of these women is proof that women can do anything men can — not that we ever needed any proof. 

As team leads, both Fiona and Juyeon are in positions to create and perpetuate an inclusive and comfortable working environment for their team members, a responsibility that neither of them take lightly.

For Fiona, this means making sure that “everyone has a voice.” As a team lead, she asks questions, notices when people are down, and treats people well. 

For Juyeon, this means being fair and transparent when it comes to communication and decision-making. She believes that everyone on the team can contribute to the team’s success and that diverse perspectives are valuable. 

As a seasoned sales professional in the tech industry, Juyeon recounts the experience of being a company’s only female salesperson early on in her career. She shares that because there is no guidebook for “how to be a good IT salesperson,” she needed to rely on the advice and experience of her more senior colleagues. 

However, Juyeon found that her presence on the team was a big change for everyone since they did not expect to have a female colleague, and neither the team nor the company had enough experience creating an equitable and inclusive environment. 

Instead, Juyeon, with her manager’s introduction, found a mentor outside the company in Mary Miyoung Woo, who has served as the first female country manager of several multinational IT companies in South Korea. Juyeon credits her for helping her navigate her work and develop crucial leadership skills such as communication and empathy. 

“Hearing from her about her experiences in the industry has helped me to have a balanced perspective on work and decision-making, whereas I previously only got to hear from male colleagues and leaders,” she says.

While all insights can be valuable, only another woman who has worked in the industry could have known what it was like for Juyeon in her position as a young female salesperson. Having a mentor who understood her greatly and positively influenced her career, which is why Juyeon welcomes the chance to be someone else’s  “Mary.” 

Where is Appier in terms of female representation & where is it going?

There is no denying that companies benefit from having women in leadership roles. At Appier, Winnie has contributed to the financial and operational success of the company, all while being a source of inspiration for women inside and outside the company.

A number of female employees have revealed that Winnie was one of the reasons they applied to work at Appier. Her presence on the leadership team made applicants feel that Appier was different from the male-dominated companies that make up the majority of the tech industry. 

Currently, 43% percent of the nearly 700 Appier employees are women. By function, these women make up around 29% of technical roles, which include research and development, technical support, and product management. At 29%, Appier’s female representation in technical roles is a few percentage points higher than the average of 25% for large tech companies, and we are committed to ensuring equity no matter what. 

Working at the company, Appier employees feel like equals regardless of their gender, race or other identities. This is true across all the teams, even the teams that typically have more men than women. 

When Xinhe Hsu, a senior software engineer, talks about being one of the few female engineers in a meeting room full of her male peers, she says that she always feels equal and entitled to speak her mind. 

This sense of equality is so deeply ingrained in Appier’s culture that sometimes I even forget about gender disparity being a thing, and my gender has never been a factor in my day-to-day work.” 

As an engineering manager, Tiffanie Kung draws on her own experience in college where 90% of her classmates were male to make sure that everyone has a voice during the weekly team meetings she leads. 

She says, “Everyone can share what they have learned or discovered recently, and the topic is not limited to ongoing projects. We always encourage interaction and discussion.” 

Tiffanie believes that gender stereotypes about what work men and women are best suited for should not dictate our realities and that everyone can “play a critical role and showcase talent in the areas that they love and choose to specialize in.”

As Appier continues to grow, there will be more female employees, managers and leaders. To promote an equitable and inclusive environment that will attract and retain these female talents, Appier is committed to making diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) a key part of its career development for employees. 

“Appier is not only embracing DEI in how we hire and develop, “but we are also planning to make it a core component of our learning programs,” according to Appier’s Head of Learning and Development Victor Hsiung. 

This, as Winnie would say, is the only way for Appier to continue to grow successfully and sustainably around the world. 

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