Every year, we scope out 18 women who are driven by a desire to bring positive change and have achieved success in their chosen field as part of the Great Women Of Our Time awards. Meet 2019’s Science & Technology nominee, Dr Pan Yaozhang, Head of Data Science, Shopee:
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Meet Dr Pan Yaozhang – Great Women Of Our Time 2019 Science & Technology Nominee
A strong believer that women are crucial to the future growth of the tech industry, Dr Pan heads up the Data Science team at e-commerce giant Shopee.
“I joined the company in 2016 and built up the data science team from scratch,” shares the working mum-of-two. “We oversee how Shopee uses artificial intelligence and technology to drive e-commerce business and better serve our customers.”
Part of her role also includes recruiting the next generation of data scientists to cope with our increasingly data-driven economy, and she says she “hopes more young women will take an interest in and consider pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics”.
E-commerce platforms are taking a bigger slice of the global retail pie and data science is offering them a way to reach specialised audiences, create return customers, and cultivate brand loyalty.
That’s where Dr Pan Yaozhang’s expertise comes in handy.
“In my role, I am responsible for overseeing how Shopee uses artificial intelligence and technology to drive our e-commerce business and better serve our customers,” she explains.
“I’ve seen first-hand how the power of technology can improve lives and address real-world problems. For businesses, data science improves key metrics and aids in building better products and platforms.”
As data science plays an increasingly bigger role in digital economies, Dr Pan say women will play a bigger role in the future of tech and it cannot thrive without input from the female workforce.
“Women are crucial to the future growth of this industry,” says the NUS alum. “Though it can be intimidating to enter a male-dominated field, it is important to make our voices heard.
“As someone who is a female leader in the tech landscape, I truly believe that women are crucial to the future growth of the industry. Furthermore, as Singapore progresses to becoming a Smart Nation, I strongly advise women who are interested in pursuing careers in data science to hone relevant skills, connect with, and learn from female mentors in STEM industries.”
Aside from pushing for more female representation in tech, Dr Pan also manages to tirelessly balance her career with her motherly duties but says managing her stress is want gets her through challenging times.
“Data Science is a very intellectually demanding job and it is vital for me to take steps to manage my stress levels by learning how to relax and taking time to recharge,” she explains. “Reading is my perfect idea of ‘me time’ and I usually spend around an hour reading every night after putting my children to sleep. It’s also a fantastic way for me to start my day and I make sure to always have my kindle on hand so I can read on my daily commute.”
She goes on to say that while it is easy to want to be involved in every aspect of every task at the workplace, it’s unrealistic to think that one person can do it all. Her advice? Lean on your team members when you can and trust them to be capable of handling the workload.
“As a working mother, I believe work-life balance is an essential aspect of a healthy work environment. It is crucial for me to plan my time well so that I’m able to strike a healthy balance between work and family commitments,” advises Dr Pan.
“I aim to give all of my focus to my job while I’m at work and also be fully present for my children when I’m spending time with them. The key to achieving this is to increase efficiency and productivity at work so that I’m able to put my phone and laptop away when I’m with my family. Shopee is also a fantastic place for working mothers as we are afforded the option of flexible working hours and remote meetings.”
Photos: Vee Chin & Tan Wei Te
Fashion Direction: Aaron Kok
Styling Assistants: Juliet Suen & An Lyn Chee
Hair: Jason Wong/Salon Nu, Grego & Ash Loi/Sonder Salon
Makeup: Keith Bryant Lee, Hongling Lim, Rina Sim, Wee Ming & Jyue Huey (for Shann Sok)
Location: 89NR, The Working Capitol, Botanico at The Garage & The Summerhouse
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