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Women at Cadent: Sofia Poonawala, Senior UX Designer

March is Women’s History Month – a time to celebrate women’s contributions and achievements across different careers and spheres of life.  

Now more than ever, women are forging paths in a variety of once male-dominated fields, including ad tech. These trailblazers are sparking conversations around critical issues to the empowerment of women at work, including opening doors and access for women early in their careers so they can progress to C-suite, supporting women to choose and stay with STEM careers, and helping women achieve a work-life balance. 

This month at Cadent, we’re profiling women who are leaders in their departments, asking about their career journeys, the importance of Women’s History Month, and what advice they would give to women entering the workforce.  


For over two years, Sofia Poonawala has been a dedicated member of Cadent’s user experience team as a Senior UX Designer. After graduating from McGill University with a degree in Environmental Science & Politics, Sofia explored a career in the financial services sector. Realizing her passion for design, Sofia decided to take a General Assembly course in user experience, followed by a continuing education program at the School of Visual Arts. From there, Sofia began her career as a UX designer, ultimately making her way to Cadent! When she’s not at work, you can find Sofia exploring the city or finding new recipes to test with her Instant Pot.  

To learn more about Sofia, check out our Q&A below.     

The following interview has been lightly edited and condensed. 

Tell us about your role. 

As a designer, my job is to understand our users and figure out how to make their lives better. At Cadent, I work with the Addressable TV and DSP teams to make our products easier to use. I’m also working on our design system, which unifies all our products. 

Where can we find you when you’re not at work? 

You can find me trying new recipes in my Instant Pot (ideally, anything with sundried tomatoes or sumac), meeting up with friends for lavender lattes, propagating plants, or scoping out a used bookstore. 

What does Women’s History Month mean to you? 

I think Women’s History Month is significant because like other celebrated days and months, it is the first step. It’s great to celebrate, but it’s even better to take action around advancing equality – for not just women, but all genders, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. 

UN Women does a great job of listing some of the things that contribute to an equal work culture like unified parental leave policies (that offer paid leave to both parents) and work reintegration programs. Both are important ways organizations can level the playing field for women. 

When I think of Women’s History Month, I am reminded of this quote from Audre Lord, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” 

Are there any resources you have found valuable while building your career? 

Ladies Get Paid, a free Slack channel, has been enormously helpful! I’ve also enjoyed the Hue Slack channel and Tech Ladies group. 

What advice do you have for women starting out in a STEM role? 

It’s okay to not know everything and to ask questions. It’s okay to say no, that you don’t have the bandwidth for something – I still struggle with this sometimes. Community is very important, so find people who are willing to chat and mentor you. This can be through Slack groups, co-workers – ask around! I’m so grateful for all the women who went out for coffee with me and shared resources when I was just starting out.  

Learn more about life at Cadent and see available roles on our Careers page. 

Women at Cadent: Nawal Kabir, UX Designer

March is Women’s History Month – a time to celebrate women’s contributions and achievements across different careers and spheres of life.  

Now more than ever, women are forging paths in a variety of once male-dominated fields, including ad tech. These trailblazers are sparking conversations around critical issues to the empowerment of women at work, including opening doors and access for women early in their careers so they can progress to C-suite, supporting women to choose and stay with STEM careers, and helping women achieve a work-life balance. 

This month at Cadent, we’re profiling women who are leaders in their departments, asking about their career journeys, the importance of Women’s History Month, and what advice they would give to women entering the workforce.  


Nawal Kabir, a UX Designer, has been a part of our team for just 6 months but has already immersed herself in Cadent’s company culture! After graduating from Hunter College, Nawal initially pursued a career in teaching. However, after a few years and a 10-week UX bootcamp, she shifted gears and began working in user experience design. When she’s not at work, you can catch Nawal focusing on her side hustle, creating paintings and prints.  

To learn more about Nawal, check out our Q&A below.     

The following interview has been lightly edited and condensed. 

Tell us about your role. 

As a User Experience Designer, I’m focused on all aspects of Cadent’s products’ development, including research, usability, functionality, and visual design. This can mean either working on feature integrations for existing products or building out new products while working with fellow designers, product managers, and developers to ensure our end users are having the best experience while using Cadent’s products. 

Where can we find you when you’re not at work? 

I love taking time to do little things that bring me a lot of joy, so you would either find me painting, working on setting up my online art shop to sell my paintings and art prints, catching up on my never-ending list of books I want to read or at brunch with my friends! I also love visiting museums and art galleries.  

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?  

Women’s History Month is so important to me because it allows us all to take time to recognize, highlight and celebrate the achievements of women across time and space. I think it’s especially important to do this in the tech space where women are underrepresented and I love that Cadent is amplifying women’s voices and experiences during this month through their blog posts, speaker events, and showcasing examples of female leadership at Cadent! 

Are there any resources you have found valuable while building your career? 

I transitioned into tech from teaching after attending the User Experience bootcamp at General Assembly, so for me, they were the biggest resource as I landed my first contract role through my GA connections. The design peers I met through GA were a huge source of help for me as well since everyone looked out for each other when it came to job-hunting or fixing our portfolios. I would also highly recommend using LinkedIn to reach out to people in the field to learn more about their experiences and build connections and utilize online resources such as courses on Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, etc., to learn more about UX. This is a bit untraditional, but one thing that really helped me tackle the start of my UX career was watching various UX Designers on YouTube & applying their advice to my own experience.  

What advice do you have for women starting out in a STEM role?  
 
My biggest advice for women starting out in STEM roles would be to believe in themselves and their abilities! The fact that you’re in the room means you’re qualified to be there so there’s no need to second-guess yourself. Oftentimes I’ve seen women fall prey to imposter syndrome when they’re just starting out (and even when they’re not starting out) but it’s so crucial to have confidence in yourself, and it’s also important to find the right balance between being confident and being open to feedback. I’ve found that being receptive to feedback always leads to growth. 

Learn more about life at Cadent and see available roles on our Careers page. 

Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science with Lauren Koslov

Today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science! Observed annually on February 11th, this day was declared by the UN in 2015 in an effort to “achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further, achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” To celebrate, Cadent reached out to women in our engineering departments, asking about their career journeys and what advice they would give to other women interested in pursuing a role in STEM-related fields.  

Lauren Koslov, a Sr. Frontend Engineer on our IT Engineering team, has followed an unconventional professional journey. Beginning her career in business development after studying economics, Lauren later decided to switch careers and pursue her passion for coding. Since joining Cadent two and a half years ago, she’s continued to carve her own path as an engineer.  

Read our Q&A with Lauren below to learn more about her experiences as a woman in engineering and where she goes to build on her technical knowledge.  

The following conversation has been lightly edited and condensed. 

Tell us about your role – can you describe your average workday?  

As the Sr. Frontend Engineer on the Broadcast team, my day consists of several different tasks. Every day starts out with scrum (scrum is basically a meeting where you discuss what you worked on yesterday, what you will work on today, and if you have any blockers). After that, I spend time working on stories. Stories contain a feature that you code to spec based on acceptance criteria set by Product. I then have office hours to help other frontend engineers on the Broadcast team with anything they need. The rest of the day is pretty up in the air, ranging from meetings with Product and QA to planning and grooming. I also set aside at least one hour per week for online learning to continue to improve and keep up to date with the quickly ever-changing frontend. 

Did you always have a clear vision for your career?  

I have always wanted to be a software engineer, but for several reasons, I decided to go a different route in college. Post-college, and prior to being an engineer, I worked in sales, product, and business development. While I still wish I went straight into engineering, working in other departments allowed me to better understand the vision required in product and to be able to effectively communicate with others from sales. 

Women are still greatly underrepresented in the STEM field. Has being a woman engineer posed any challenges?  

Being a woman engineer has posed challenges and I know I am not alone with stories that I could share. However, my passion for engineering has never wavered. I continuously work to improve my knowledge and skillset, and I’ve learned it is important to find peers, mentors, and a company that share that mentality. 

Are there any resources you have found valuable to building your career? 

I attended a bootcamp (shout out to Flatiron School!) which gave me the skillset and knowledge to become an engineer. That bootcamp was the most valuable resource as I received my first contract role through their network. As a bootcamp grad, it can be difficult to apply for jobs because you lack a CS background. I highly recommend using sites like Codewars to prepare for technical interviews. To improve your knowledge in general, there are a ton of great courses on Udemy. 

What advice do you have for women starting out in a STEM role? 

My biggest piece of advice is to work hard and not give up – imposter syndrome is real. Never be afraid to ask questions, but ask them after you’ve done your research. With that, you’ll either solve your problem or collect enough information to accurately articulate what you know and what you are struggling to understand. 

Learn more about life at Cadent and see available roles on our Careers page. 

Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science with Shubhra Goel

Today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science! Observed annually on February 11th, this day was declared by the UN in 2015 in an effort to “achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further, achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” To celebrate, Cadent reached out to women in our engineering departments, asking about their career journeys and what advice they would give to other women interested in pursuing a role in STEM-related fields.  

Shubhra Goel, a Lead Software Engineer on our IT Engineering team, has had a deep interest in math and science since she was a child. After immigrating to the U.S. mid-degree, Shubhra ultimately earned her Master of Computer Science. As a software engineer, she finds herself always learning, eager to understand the latest technology or develop new skills.

Read our Q&A with Shubhra below to learn more about her path to software engineering and the ad tech space, as well as her recommendations for others hoping to enter a STEM profession.  

The following conversation has been lightly edited and condensed. 

Tell us about your role – can you describe your average workday? 

My role is Lead Software Engineer. This means that I focus on managing several software projects, collaborating with my team and across teams to provide technical solutions. For me, an average workday involves discussions with product owners, understanding the business, and providing architectural solutions. A good amount of my time is spent on technical discussions and development, which involves coding. I work with a team that includes Product, QA, developers, and managers. Our joint goal is to plan the project, set the deliverables, and deliver quality solutions on time. As a member of a very technical field, I need to continuously learn new technologies, implement them, and guide my team in utilizing them. 

Did you always have a clear vision for your career? 

Yes and no. I was always certain that I’d pursue a career in a STEM field, but my specific focus has changed over time. At a young age, I challenged myself by taking subjects that were traditionally considered difficult for girls. I made the deliberate decision to pursue STEM education in high school, and later I chose to focus on Physics for my Master’s degree. I was inspired by my father, who is a teacher, and started teaching Master’s level courses at the university. When I came to the USA, my visa status-imposed restrictions on my ability to continue that path, so I earned my Master of Computer Science and started my new career as a Software Developer. 

Women are still greatly underrepresented in the STEM field. Has being a woman engineer posed any challenges? 

Yes, it has definitely posed challenges from time to time. There is still an underlying perception in society, even in this day and age, that women are more sensitive and emotional than men and consequently women cannot be as aggressive and analytical as men. Over the years, however, I have learned that the challenges women face are directly related to the corporate culture of the company in which they work, which starts at the top of the leadership chain and trickles down. I strongly believe that the company culture, values, and leadership matter most when creating a healthy environment for everyone. Being a part of Cadent, I feel like I have great support from both leadership and coworkers. I always feel that people listen to me as a human being and don’t judge me as a woman. 

Are there any resources you have found valuable to building your career? 

Education and constant family support are my biggest resources. My parents always emphasized education, and I have the unconditional support of my husband and kids in my continued education and career choices. Mentoring is another valuable resource for me, and the support of my peers and friends continues to inspire and motivate me. 

What advice do you have for women starting out in a STEM role? 

The first thing that I would say is to stop focusing on gender and think of yourself only as a STEM professional, surrounded by other STEM peers. Act professionally, believe in your abilities, and don’t be afraid to speak up. Accept challenges and then follow through in facing and overcoming them. I constantly remind myself that gender does not define my skills, my thought process, and my values, and I will not give up learning and contributing, and exceeding expectations. 

Learn more about life at Cadent and see available roles on our Careers page.