Women at Navan: Leading Innovation & Diversity

In Their Words: Why Women Engineers Chose Navan for Fulfilling Careers

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Samantha Shankman

8 Mar 2024
6 minute read
Navan Celebrates Women’s History Month & Its Women Leaders

The craft involved in designing and building impactful products requires a variety of perspectives and experiences. Products made in silos do not serve the world or Navan users.

“When people from different backgrounds come together, they bring unique ideas, skills, and experiences, which leads to more creative solutions and approaches to problem-solving,” says Navan software engineer Roshni Soni. “Diverse teams better understand and cater to the needs of a global customer base because they reflect a wider range of user needs and viewpoints.”

At Navan, we understand women's crucial role in fostering this diversity within our tech teams; today, women make up 15% of our engineering and 24% of our R&D teams, and we’re constantly looking for others to join them. 

”Women have made great strides towards gender equality in tech, but there's still a long way to go. Engineering and tech are still largely male-dominated industries, and it will take widespread commitment to close that gap," says Navan software engineer Caroline Reiser. "I’ve collaborated with management and the recruiting team to find ways to encourage more women to apply to our engineering positions. As the saying goes, ‘empowered women empower women.’”

Navan is committed to supporting the growth and success of our women engineers and celebrating their contributions to the innovative solutions we develop.

This Women’s History Month, we’re exploring the experiences of five talented women shaping the future of Navan’s technology. Below, these women speak about how Navan has supported their professional development and growth in the tech field and how diversity influences the development and success of tech projects. They also touch on the role of women in engineering and tech teams and how it’s evolved over time.

Neta Iser, VP of Data & Integrations

There’s a famous saying about a diverse team outperforming a non-diverse one — that’s true, especially if our team members feel they have psychological safety in the work environment.

We have individuals from multiple cultures, backgrounds, and life experiences, which enable us to approach challenges from different angles, fostering creativity and innovation If team members feel safe to voice their opinions, surface concerns, and openly disagree so we can have an environment conducive to collaboration and creativity. In the fast-paced world of tech, it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and challenge the status quo, so having a team that can embrace different viewpoints and challenge assumptions helps drive success in our projects.

Historically, women encountered challenges when entering this field, with biases and limited growth opportunities. I distinctly remember an incident from 15 years ago when, as a team lead, I contacted a candidate who immediately assumed I was the recruiter. This assumption stemmed from the rarity of women holding leadership positions in tech teams then. Bias was not limited to humans; it extends to AI algorithms (due to the training data) like facial recognition, cardiovascular diseases, and even car crash test dummies that made cars safer for men.

However, in recent years, we have seen a shift towards greater inclusion and recognition of women's valuable contributions to engineering and tech (including AI models). Companies are trying to promote gender diversity and cultivate more inclusive work environments/algorithms, and there is more awareness of the gender pay gap. This positive momentum signifies a growing awareness of the need to address bias in human and AI systems, paving the way for a more equitable future in technology.

I am proud to be part of Navan because of the people I work with and our product: Talented team members from diverse backgrounds surround me, and I can learn from anyone within the organization. Being part of a team where everyone shares the same goal and passion for delivering excellence creates a sense of purpose and fulfillment that is very rewarding.

Ruchi Goyal, Software Engineer

Navan has been instrumental in my professional journey since I joined as a senior engineer. The company's commitment to nurturing talent and fostering growth opportunities empowered me to progress from senior engineer to team lead and eventually to a managerial role.

The role of women in engineering and tech teams has undergone a significant transformation over time, both within the industry and here at Navan. When I initially joined Navan, I was the only female engineer on the expense team. However, I’m pleased to note that since then, we've made substantial progress in promoting gender diversity. We've expanded from having just one female engineer to six, with plans to hire more. This shift reflects a broader trend toward greater inclusivity and recognition of women's invaluable contributions to tech teams. At Navan, there’s a genuine commitment to fostering an environment where everyone, regardless of gender, feels empowered to excel and contribute to the success of our projects.

Caroline Reiser, Software Engineer

I’m a backend engineer on the Expense User Empowerment team and love what I do. I work on product-facing projects that help improve the expense experience for the end user. I'm currently working on batching expense reimbursements together so users can receive them in one lump sum while still getting the same granular visibility into each reimbursement on the Navan app. I love how my projects impact users and the company while improving and challenging my engineering skills.

Navan has offered me incredible mentorship and exciting, challenging projects that have helped me blossom as a young engineer. Navan has also allowed me to expand my professional skills well beyond the scope of a typical software engineering role. I’m invited into conversations around engineering decisions and product, design, and launch decisions. It's exciting to be at a company where my opinion is valued, where everybody is rooting for your growth and success, and where I’ve always been offered a seat at the table.

Roshni Soni, Software Engineer

The role of women in engineering and tech teams has evolved significantly over time — there's been a positive shift towards more inclusivity and recognition of women's contributions in the field. However, the path remains uneven, with many areas around the world still anchored in outdated beliefs that limit girls’ access to STEM education and careers. My path — overcoming societal hurdles to become the first girl in my family to study STEM and work in a tech role — was challenging but made possible by the support of inspiring women. Let's celebrate our achievements but also work to break down remaining barriers and empower every girl dreaming of STEM to pursue it freely.

I'm proud to be a part of Navan because of its commitment to innovation and diversity and its positive impact on the travel industry. 

The company's values align with my own, especially regarding technology’s role in solving real-world problems and making lives easier. I’ve only been here for a little while, but I’m part of a team that wants to make a difference. It’s exciting to be here and be part of something that matters.

Navan has been crucial in my journey of growth in the tech field. The expense platform at Navan offers many exciting problems to solve, which gives me an opportunity to learn new technology and practice solving complex issues. My time at Navan has deepened my understanding of the fintech industry. I've also learned different ways to problem-solve and gained much knowledge about industry practices from talented colleagues.

A diverse team helps us better understand our customers and make more thoughtful decisions. We can navigate and break down complex problems more effectively with a mix of problem-solving approaches and communication styles. Plus, with everyone bringing their skills and knowledge to the table, we develop more creative solutions.

Read more about the work Navan engineers do on the Navan Tech blog.

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