Throughout March, Label Insight is profiling female leaders from across our company in honor of Women’s History Month. The contributions of these individuals to our industry and our company are significant and inform a perspective we hope will be valuable and inspirational to the next generation of women in technology.
Here’s a perspective from Peggy Fox, Senior Software Engineer and Team Lead at Label Insight.
What attracted you to join Label Insight?
I was looking for an engineering team where I could learn a lot and could influence what we build and how we build it. The size of the team was a draw for me, knowing that it was big enough that I’d have a team of people to learn from, but not so big that I wouldn’t have a voice in our product decisions. At every step of my career growth here, I’ve felt my voice was valued and that I had an important role in shaping how we solve problems for our customers. After joining the team, I quickly found out that it wasn’t just the size but really the people and the culture that make it a great place to learn. We’re a team that’s very supportive of each other, always pushing each other to improve, and seeking opportunities to learn.
I was also really attracted to the purpose of the company and the dedication of the founders to realize the purpose. I’m passionate about choosing products that are good for me and for the environment and value being able to work on a product that makes that easier for me and other consumers.
What’s the professional accomplishment of which you’re most proud?
I don’t have any one project, product, or feature that I’m most proud of, but I am really proud that I, and the production software that I support, are dependable. Not that I never introduce bugs or fall behind on committed timelines, but I’m most proud of when I release bug-free software, within a timeframe that was committed to, and when my team and I are working at a continual pace to support and build software without burning out. Steadiness is not something that is easy to remember to pause and celebrate, but I really feel that striving for it is the most challenging and rewarding part of the job.
What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on at Label Insight?
Over the past year, we built a process to take raw search data and turn it into actionable insights around what attributes consumers care most about. What started as a mostly manual process that could take months was reduced to a couple of hours. I really enjoyed this project because it focused on working with our internal teams to develop tools to improve their workflow, and to incorporate data science into the process. Working on internal tools has been a favorite of mine throughout my career because I get to connect more directly with the users of what I’m building since they’re my coworkers. I also find designing internal processes to be a fun challenge because it requires thinking strategically and building iteratively to unlock new efficiencies in our process.
Which female leaders or mentors have inspired you in your life or your career?
My first engineering job was at a really small startup, founded and led by two talented and dedicated women. They taught me to value our customer above all else and they pushed me to think strategically about how to solve problems for our customers given the constraints of a small team and product with a limited set of features. They are women that live life with intensity and lead with their hearts and they inspire me to do the same.
What advice would you give to women just starting out in technology careers?
Focus on learning and know that you can’t know it all. Software engineering is a vast discipline, with countless languages, tools, and components of the stack from the database up to the browser and there is no way that anyone can know it all. I too often have held myself back from opportunities to learn because I was afraid that asking a question would expose that I didn’t know something, thinking “at this point in my career, I should probably know this so I shouldn’t let on that I don’t”, which then became a self-fulfilling prophecy. When I check myself of that limiting belief, and tap into confidence in what I have mastered, I’m able to quiet my fears and open myself up to more opportunities for growth.
As you grow in your career, lean on your natural strengths. My strongest skills are in communication and collaboration, and I have to work harder at growing my technical skills. When I stopped focusing all of my energy on growing on the technical side and starting thinking about how I could leverage my softer skills, I found opportunities for leadership and was able to mold my role, and enjoy my work more.