Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at Oath: Raising your voice
Joyce Lee isn't shy about speaking up. "I'm in a fortunate position," says the co-lead of Oath's Asian-advocacy employee resource group, elevAsian. Passionate about social issues and career development within the Asian community, Joyce has been busy this Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, organizing everything from an Asian entrepreneurship panel to rallying behind colleagues struggling with visa issues. "I don't want people without a voice to be picked on."
We sit down with Joyce for coffee to learn more.
Name: Joyce Lee
Title: Director on the Global Data Sales and Operations org
Location: New York, NY
Years at Oath: 5
Previous employers: Adap.tv (acquired by AOL in 2013), OMD (LA, San Francisco, and Sydney), Zenithmedia (Sydney), and a few radio stations (Sydney)
Education: Charles Sturt University, Bathurst (Australia)
Major: Bachelor of Communication—Broadcast Journalism
Hometown: Sydney, Australia and Hong Kong
Outside of work: Aerialist (lyra and pole), sailor, scuba diver, kitchen experimenter, forever globetrotter
Oath: Embrace the journey
Tell us about your role at Oath.
My specific role is to work with key internal partners to build, launch, and increase access to our first-party data targeting products for advertising.
What made you want to go into the media and technology space?
It was accidental! My passion has always been (and still is) understanding what motivates people and their personal journeys. Despite landing a job at Sydney's (Australia) largest radio station after college, I didn't feel it was providing me with this opportunity. I eventually ended up at a media agency during a time where TV, print and radio were converging with digital—this is when I switched fulltime to working in ad tech, specializing in video initially.
You're a global co-lead for elevAsian—tell us more about Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and what Oath has been doing for it?
APAHM in May is a chance for elevAsian to highlight voices and invite open dialogue amongst Oath employees learning about someone's personal journey.
Asians are not a monolithic community—we can be 'fresh off the boat' or Americans learning about our Asian roots later in life. Our families can be from populous countries like China, India, and Taiwan, or tiny republics formed no more than 30 years ago. We may be economic migrants seeking better opportunities, or refugees fleeing war. We can be celebrities or humble folks making everyday life happen.
Why is diversity important in the tech space?
Why shouldn't all industries be reflective of the consumers they serve? Truthfully, it's being honest with ourselves and acknowledging each of us comes with blind spots: our education, experience, cultural identity, and background are only one view of the world. Being around people who come from different places shows us what we're not seeing. Having a diverse workforce—especially in tech—is the only way we can serve our consumers authentically.
Another point of view is that due to tech's lower cost of entry vs other industries, like manufacturing, tech is better positioned to solve many of the world's biggest issues: the economy, education, health care, the environment, etc. Macro issues are resolved by understanding the micro, local causes and only diversity will bring this intel.
What advice do you have for diverse candidates thinking of entering tech?
Professionally, consider technology as an enabler vs stand-alone industry. Even if your passion is something seemingly non-technical, being open-minded to working with technology in your field will open up a world of opportunities.
Personally, be authentic to yourself, to those around you, and simply be a damn good human. Barriers are meant to be taken down so it might as well be you.