Interview by: Audrey Pe
Written by: Nadia Vaillancourt
Technology enables us to do things easier, faster, and better. It’s also a driving force behind why our everyday lives are so fast-paced and dynamic. Few people experience this more acutely than those who work in the corporate world. Attending meetings, working long hours and traveling for business make for a hectic and demanding job. However, there is a solution to at least one of these hassles: TripClub, a platform that provides companies with a solution to their corporate travel problems.
Mench Dizon is the CEO and founder of TripClub. Although it is her first experience as a solo founder, she has been managing start-ups since 2014, and before then worked with Ayala Malls and Ayala Land to improve their digital systems for four years. Her experience with the corporate world is extensive after fifteen years of working in the private sector.
“As a woman, you are expected to juggle several roles. […] I’m a mom, wife, entrepreneur and athlete.”
Despite her success, Mench feels that her journey in tech has been affected by her gender in both positive and negative ways. “As a woman, you are expected to juggle several roles,” she explains, “For me, I’m a mom, wife, entrepreneur, and athlete.” Although this puts additional pressure on women and even stops them from pursuing jobs fulltime especially in male-dominated fields such as STEM and business, there are advantages to this additional responsibility. “Being adept at this enables a woman to take on several hats in her company,” according to Mench. “It has enabled me to learn new skills because as a woman you [are] expected to learn how to manage your roles while doing it.” This aspect of being a woman in tech is a double-edged sword: women learn to manage their duties better but have to put in significant work to achieve an unfair expectation. Mench shares with us her way around this: “What has been most helpful to me as I take on these roles is the acceptance that I cannot be great in all at the same time.” This advice applies to everyone, adult or not, techie or not, woman or not. A balanced approach to work is the only way to achieve a balanced life. “I have to build a support system and personal infrastructure to get this to work,” says Mench, drawing attention to the importance of not overloading one’s self with excessive pressure, lest the drive to produce better work leads to fatigue that makes doing so impossible. “I am privileged to have people close to me who are mentors and friends I can rely on for support and guidance. […] I’m happy that both my husband and best friend are instrumental in my entrepreneurial learning journey.”
“Just having more women grace events is a huge leap.”
In the future, Mench hopes to see more women join the field of tech. “I remember pitching at an event being the lone woman among 12 presenters,” she recalls. “The gender mix has improved over the past few years but it still is skewed towards men.” This divide is felt across the world of technology. According to The Industry Gender Gap report, only 26% of all tech jobs belong to women. Challenging the status quo and encouraging women to pursue their tech ambitions is integral to minimizing the gender gap in male-dominated fields such as tech. “Just having more women grace events is a huge leap,” says Mench. However, this change does not happen on its own: both the women in tech and the higher management authorities need to make an effort to promote gender equality in tech. “What might help is to have women in tech support groups,” Mench tells us, “We are doing this in our own little groups but [it] would be interesting to have a cohesive program for this.”
Mench’s advice: “Learn as much as you can.” Whether at school or in your free time, Mench urges girls who love tech to “Be passionate about learning even if you are not yet sure what it is you want to build.” The concentration, skill, and determination this will teach you open doors you may not even realize were there. “By opening yourself up to varied learning experiences you may discover that intersection of passion, purpose, and profit.”
Nadia Vaillancourt is a high school student at the British School Manila. Nadia hopes to help educate people about the experiences of women in STEM, and encourage all women to pursue their dreams to study or work in whatever field they want.
WiTech founder + exec. director Audrey Pe is a high school junior from the Philippines. Passionate about startups, programming, and women empowerment, Audrey advocates for more women in tech through this blog. She wishes for people to read WiTech’s interviews with women in tech, be inspired to pursue careers in the said field, and support women in tech everywhere.