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?
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.