Cyan Ta’eed doesn’t want to get on her soapbox about diversity. She is instead interested in using her position as a female leader in the tech space to inspire other women to just get on with the work and tell their story along the way. It’s an inspiring piece of wisdom; from a woman who, with her husband Collis and friend Jun Rung co-founded the successful digital goods company Envato.
For those who are yet to discover the Envato, in the simplest of terms is like eBay for web designers and developers. With 5.5 million members worldwide the series of websites helps bring ideas to life and is the world’s leading marketplace for creative assets. Whether you are looking for a top creative freelancer, or wanting to access a tutorial to brush up on your digital, design or development skills, then Envato is for you.
Add to this that Envato allows freelancers, marketers, businesses and agencies to use their own creations to make a living by selling through the site. Think websites, apps, movie trailers, podcasts and more!
Success is not linear
It can be easy to view successful people as being unlike ourselves. As having some extra superpower which we will personally never be able to access. It is even easier to think this way, as a woman, when you meet someone like Cyan who seems to effortlessly balance a thriving business, a family and being a fiercely inspiring entrepreneur. Yet it doesn’t take long to realise that Cyan likes to keep it real. She is fast to admit that she too has moments of doubt and indecision on the journey.
Those around you make a big part of the story
One of Cyan’s strongest messages is that success often hinges on the type of people we choose to surround ourselves with.
“Surround yourself with a support network of trusted allies. Not just people that will agree with everything you say. People that will be honest with you, but still support your goals and will let you lead.”
She also adds that a real help has been that she hasn’t been taking the journey alone. “Collis and I can bounce things off one another and balance our energy and enthusiasm wherever possible. I’ve definitely had times where I wasn’t sure what came next and wondering if I had bitten off more than I could chew. But I pushed through it, showed up, shut down that negative voice and took inspiration from those people around me – my family, my team and our community!”
Diversity starts with us
Although she says she is always learning and that to succeed in a male dominated industry women need to be prepared to fearlessly do the work and tell their story during the process, Ta’eed knows that to bring about change businesses need to prioritise diversity. As a result, Envato have changed the language they use in their job ads, particularly tech roles, so it was more likely to attract women and have up skilled themselves so as they can recognise unconscious bias, and how to counter it when hiring, rewarding and promoting. They also host as many diversity related events as they can, and work at being active members of the wider community on this topic. As a result of this hard, but valuable work they were the first start up in Australia to release gender diversity figures publicly- doing this each year to keep themselves accountable and transparent.
Take the leap anyway
Cyan is a big believer in just doing it anyway, that in order to create something really valuable in life and business we must be prepared to get out of our own heads and just do it. “It is time to start ignoring those inner censors” she says, “the ones that tell you that you are not good enough or that it’s all too hard. Trust in yourself and your experience and take the leap. There will be things you don’t know and you’ll make mistakes. Forgive yourself and move through them as quickly as possible onto the next challenge.”
Ta’eed credits her balance of home life and that of a successful business woman with making strong commitments to herself through self-care practices and non-negotiables. Always home by 5pm in order to give her children the time and routine that both parties benefit from, as well as ensuring her work days are flexible. She also presses the importance of making time for her husband Collis, away from work, every day.
Happily declaring both exercise and outsourcing to be two of her best approaches to stress release, Cyan is also a big advocate for streamlining. She says “I aim to streamline the unimportant stuff as much as possible and at least every month am sitting down to think about how I’m spending my time to ensure I’m focusing on the important stuff – family time, meaningful work, personal goals and fun!”
The gifts of success
While not just giving back from within the business Ta’eed was inspired by a Canadian project called The Shoebox Project, which gave shoeboxes with personal gifts to women in need. New Day Box provides gift boxes filled with donations of lovely make up and fancy toiletries to women in crisis accommodation in Victoria. The event is run near Christmas, when women are likely to feel alone and gives them the gift of self-care with a support of generous sponsors.
As well as leading the way for women in the tech space in Australia, to raising a family, working collaboratively with her husband and standing out amongst she peers to receive a 2015 Telstra Women in Business Award, Cyan is also one of the most sought-after women on the speaker circuit, especially for tech and entrepreneurial events. It is obvious that Cyan will continue to get to work as a woman in the tech space and tell the story of diversity while she does it.