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Improving Processes and Grooming the Next Generation of Women Leaders

Cindy Cheng, ​Sr. Director of Marketing Communications, EMEA, Appian
March 3, 2014

At Appian, we are passionate about continuous process improvement. The desire to constantly make things better and improve processes permeates the company, from the product we develop, to how we service our clients, how we work internally, and how we grow as a company. The Women's Leadership Program (WLP) came from an awareness that Appian can do more as a company to promote, retain, and attract female employees. After initial knowledge gathering and discussions with key stakeholders, Appian launched the WLP with two remarkable women as founding leaders: Annelise Dubrovsky and Amy Henley.

About Annelise: After graduating from Princeton University with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Annelise joined Appian as an Associate Consultant. In the nine years she has been with Appian, she has held various roles in the Professional Services, Solutions, and now Engineering department. She is currently a Principal Product Manager, responsible for shaping the strategy and powerful capabilities of Appian SAIL (Self-Assembling Interface Layer). SAIL allows application designers to create dynamic user interfaces and deploy instantly to all popular web browsers and native mobile applications on Apple iOS and Google Android platforms.

About Amy: Before joining Appian as a Senior Consultant, Amy spent her early career as a consultant at large management consulting companies. In the past six years, Amy has risen through the ranks and now serves as a Director in Professional Services. In this role, Amy is able to help US Federal agencies and Commercial clients accelerate their mission success. From the General Service Administration, to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and many others, Amy has helped Appian become a trusted partner when implementing enterprise business solutions.

Annelise and Amy shared their journey at Appian, as well as their experiences as women in the technology industry. The following is an excerpt from an interview with both of them.

What do you like about working for Appian?

    Annelise: Appian gives you the opportunity to grow and the company culture encourages people to take initiative, regardless of their role. Meritocracy is not just a company value, it is a practice within Appian: you can be heard and you can improve anything in your position. When you join and as you grow professionally, you take on as much as you can handle. People are recognized for their achievements and potential. You work hard and you get rewarded at Appian.

    Amy: Absolutely, I concur. It was refreshing to join Appian, where I feel like I have been able to make my own opportunities. During my time here, I have supported sales and marketing, built solutions and client relationships. We collaborate and help each other out to do what is best for our clients and for the company. There is a sense of community and camaraderie here.

What are your goals for the Women Leadership Program?

    Amy: The goal of the WLP is to provide a forum and build a community for women to have role models, find mentors, and learn from leaders. We want to make Appian the preeminent place for smart and ambitious women who want to make a difference. There is merit in bringing in the best talent and being inclusive to motivate and cultivate the next generation of women leaders in technology.

    Annelise: We want to make sure that every woman at Appian is empowered to reach their potential by grabbing opportunities, refining their skills, fostering relationships, and learning from each other's experiences as well as other women leaders in the industry. We work with amazing people at Appian; smart, passionate, dedicated, some introverts, some extroverts. WLP provides a forum for open, collaborative, and candid discussions.

In what ways do you think being a woman helped you with your job?

    Annelise: In my role [as a Principal Product Manager], it is important to understand requirements, to not only hear customers' requests, but also understand the context in which they are asked. Having good relationships with stakeholders, understanding what problems they are trying to solve, and having empathy really benefit what I do at Appian.

    Amy: Throughout the years, I have learned to tap into my softer side and develop my interpersonal skills. I recognize group dynamics and people's motivations better than I used to, and am able express empathy better. This helps develop good relationships with the people you work with and your clients. Also, my experience as a mother has helped me be more patient and become a better negotiator. It is much more difficult to negotiate with a two-year-old than with anyone I have encountered professionally!

If you would like to work for Appian and make a difference, please check out job openingsin our headquarters and around the world.

Cindy Cheng

Director of Product Marketing

Cindy Cheng