#BreakTheBias This International Women’s Day

March 8, 2022 12:06 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

In celebration of International Women’s Day this 8th March 2022, we would like to express our support and admiration for women all over the world thriving and succeeding in their respective careers.

In this piece, we interviewed our Group COO and Co-founder Yienyee Soh on her take on diminishing bias on women, being a female entrepreneur, and AVANA’s role in empowering women. 

Here’s a sincere dedication to the strong, powerful and inspiring Woman.

Q. Why is it important for AVANA to celebrate International Women’s Day?

IWD is a day to celebrate women’s contribution everywhere, whether at the workplace or at home.

Q. The theme this year is #BreakTheBias. Can you share what this means to you and how one can break the bias?

How I interpret #BreakTheBias is that there are typically stereotypes of how a woman should be at the workplace or at home, but I truly believe that women have a different approach when it comes to achieving similar goals. I encourage women everywhere, especially young women to take part in actively educating themselves and others about how women, while we are different in our methods and strengths, this does not limit the contribution one can give in the workplace or at home.

Q. What bias have you encountered throughout your career as a woman and how did you overcome them?

Having been involved in the tech and startup industry throughout my career, I spend a lot of time working with developers. Often times, developers would dismiss me and give me very generic answers like “It’s a technical issue” or “It’s a bug”. That did not help me understand the challenge or communicate better with my clients so I made a point to develop better relationships with developers to understand their process and in turn also share with the business POV. This really helped me learn a lot of development progress that was crucial when we grew AVANA and I encourage everyone to do the same: Ask questions and take a walk in your colleague’s shoes to empathise and solve problems together.

Ask questions and take a walk in your colleague’s shoes to empathise and solve problems together.

Q.  Do you still see bias happen in business? How will removing all forms of bias on women impact progress?

Yes, and it’s not something that 1 person or 1 party can solve. It’s a joint effort and ongoing process. Involve the men in the process and also learn to work together with each other by complementing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I don’t think we can ever fully eliminate biases but acknowledging biases we have is a great first step.

Q. Being a female co-founder comes with its own challenges. What keeps you motivated to realise your goals?

I believe very strongly with our mission to empower businesses via social commerce and it’s something that I am very passionate about. The results and impact that we help businesses achieve via our platform keep me motivated to develop and improve our solutions every day.

Q. What is your biggest achievement so far? 

Growing our company from 6 people to close to 100 team members across 2 countries and more. It’s been very rewarding seeing our team grow in leaps and bounds, that extends to our customers scaling their businesses using AVANA.

Q. What is the best advice you’ve received from someone?

Everyone is human – regardless of whether they are the prime minister or a famous celebrity. Everyone in business especially, regardless of their status or background, shares similar challenges and we develop AVANA to address this. This really helps to break the bias and assumptions when it comes to approaching partners and new clients, whether micro or global brands.

Everyone in business especially… shares similar challenges… This really helps to break bias and assumptions when it comes to approaching partners and new clients…

Q. AVANA has come a long way since its start in 2016, How much has changed since then and now?

Other than growing our team and product suite, we have also impacted more than 150,000 brands. It’s such a privilege to watch a lot of these local brands grow from a team of 2 and now a team of 10, selling across multiple channels and growing their sales. We’re looking to scale this effort further across Southeast Asia.

Q. Can you tell us more on how AVANA is developing its support for female entrepreneurs?

A lot of brands owners and resellers are primarily female, and what we do beyond providing a platform is education on growing their brand and business. We believe that women tend to lean more towards empathy, and this is a very important factor in connecting with buyers and growing their business.

…what we do beyond providing a platform is education and growing their brand and business.

Q.  We see many women starting their own home businesses. How important is it to have a support system as a woman in business?

Business is a very social activity and a support system helps business owners to understand the ups and downs that comes along with it. Having a support system or community of like minded individuals definitely helps to gather honest feedback on how to improve the business and support each other.

Q. How can we encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurship as a career?

As a woman, I believe that there are additional decisions that come into play when considering entrepreneurship: family responsibilities. But I believe if you have a strong support networks from friends and family, traditional roles can now evolve to a shared responsibility to encourage women to embrace entrepreneurship while building a family.

Q.  Lastly, what message do you have for women who are thinking about starting their own business?

Go for it! You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. 

Yienyee Soh

Co-founder & Group COO at AVANA 

#BreakTheBias – International Women’s Day 2022, AVANA

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This post was written by Grace Patronilla

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