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Claire Tran

Claire Tran

Please introduce yourself:
I am an Engineering Leader with over 16 years of industry experience in both Sydney and London, for different types of companies, from Start Ups, Scale Ups, and large global companies.


What do you do for work?
I’m currently a VP of Engineering at Sendle, a 100% carbon neutral shipping service for small businesses in Australia and the US. We’re a fully remote company, with the Product Engineering team based across different regions in Australia, New Zealand and the US. The tech stack consists of Ruby, Elixir, Javascript and React, with microservices and event driven architecture using Kafka and Redis.


What do you do outside work?
I am someone who cares about growing others, and I really enjoy providing an environment for people to learn. I’ve been volunteering for Women Who Code since 2014, running workshops and events and have recently started a podcast sharing the stories from people in the industry. It’s been amazing watching people learn and listen to the stories from others. Everyone has a story which others can relate to and be inspired by. I’ve seen people turn up to Codebar and by learning to code and meeting people in tech, they started a career in tech.

Apart from that, I’m a bit of a nerd, I’m a crafter and I have a few cross stitching and knitting projects, as well as consuming a lot of history documentaries and “who done it” books and shows in my free time. I also periodically write blog posts, which consist of a mix of technical and leadership topics. If you are interested in programming a lightbulb, there’s a post up there!


Toughest work moment?
Good question. Thinking back in my career, there were a few tough scenarios.

The common thread to some of these, were when I felt I didn’t have the right support from the environment I was in. I’m someone who thrives from learning and taking on challenges, as well as knowing I have the support from others, whether it’s my manager, a sponsor/champion in the company or my peers. It can feel isolating not knowing or feeling when you have the support, or not working towards the challenges you want to be working on. You start over thinking, overload yourself and feel imposter syndrome creeping in.

Thankfully, I have worked with some amazing people, who have believed in me and I consider them mentors today. I still keep in touch with them, and I can ask for advice, rubber duck on what’s happening and come up with options on what to do.


Most rewarding work moment?

In the early days of my career, it used to be getting to the next hurdle and mastering a new technical challenge or solving a really difficult production problem.

Now, the most rewarding part of what I do is growing people. Whether it’s in the community or in the work environment, I really enjoy being a part of coaching and guiding someone and seeing them grow their confidence and thrive. Everyone is different though, so each person requires different methods to help them reach their goals. I’m particularly drawn to the “underdogs”, people who may not necessarily have a lot of confidence and who feel stuck or invisible.

One specific example was an engineer who switched careers to tech, she was very quiet, lacked confidence, but was super curious. A few things were set up to help her, we set her up with a mentor, we set up a career development plan, we set milestones for her to learn over time, and the team provided support and cared about teaching her. It was wonderful to watch her confidence grow and she started tackling bigger and bigger challenges. I’m very proud of her achievements as well as the support from the team.


Your 'one sentence' work-related advice:
“You can do it.”

For me, that was powerful. Whenever I have doubts, I try to remember these words from one of my mentors. The other piece of advice is, don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’re all learning and we won’t know everything, so a great way to learn is to ask. There will be times when we’re tackling something new and we will need guidance and support.


Your 'one sentence' hiring-related advice:
If you’re considering what to do next, it’s a great chance to reflect on your values and what is important to you.

As an exercise, think about what you’ve been working on, what you’d like to be working on and what you value in a team and company. Hopefully, from there that will ground you in making decisions on what you are looking for and what you need to do.


Find Claire on LinkedIn, Twitter and at the Women TechCast on Spotify.