Constance Duong, Software Engineer, on launching Seattle’s women@ community and what not to miss at GHC

Constance Duong Photo Credit: Richard Dachtera

From September 26–28, 2018, the largest gathering of women technologists will take place in Houston, Texas. Some 20,000 people will attend the 24th annual Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing, including a few Dropboxers! We’re excited to meet new people and share our commitment to increasing women in tech. Before then, we want to introduce you to some of the Dropbox women in tech you may see at booth #5132. See you in Houston!

Q: What is your name, what office do you work out of, and how long have you been at Dropbox?

A: My name is Constance Duong. I work out of the Seattle office, and I’ve been a Dropboxer for almost three years.

Members of the Seattle team with the annual holiday gift from our Tuck Shop ( the Dropbox Cafeteria) in 2015

Q: What is your current role at Dropbox?

A: I’m currently a domain lead, which is a hybrid role that’s part tech lead, part engineering manager. I help plan, design, and build features for my team, which is responsible for all of our customers’ subscriptions. We make sure our customers get the space and features they’re paying for, and we offer a platform that lets Dropbox define what’s in our product catalog and bring new products to market.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job and/or team?

A: Definitely the people! Everyone genuinely cares about building durable, quality products for our users. We’re not afraid to tackle audacious projects, like rearchitecting our payments stack to be more scalable or revamping the billing experience for our customers to be more user-friendly.

I also really enjoy the autonomy granted to Dropboxers. Not only are engineers encouraged to speak up when they see technical debt, painful UI flows, or process gaps that are making engineering inefficient, but management also gives us the opportunity to develop solutions to these problems. Dropbox definitely encourages us to influence change from the bottom-up.

Q: Anything that you have done/accomplished at Dropbox that you’re proud of?

A: Professionally, I’m most proud of working closely with another engineer on my team and a number of cross-functional teams to launch a feature that enabled teams to move between sales channels. This was after a year at Dropbox, and the first major project I led end-to-end. The launch addressed a big pain point for our sales team and our customers, and enabled a new revenue source for the company.

Outside of my day job, I’m most proud of our women@ community. After organizing ad-hoc women’s meetups at Dropbox Seattle, I helped officially launch Seattle’s women@ employee resource group this year. We organized a jam-packed Women’s History Month with 14 events!

Seattle Women’s History Month 2018

Q: Have you had transformational or inspirational moments at Dropbox?

A: A year ago, I stepped in as de facto engineering manager when we had a gap in our team. I worked with our product managers to plan and execute on our roadmap for the next six months. It was scary at first, but I received a lot of mentorship throughout the process. This new role pushed me beyond my comfort zone and helped me learn how aspects of management aligned with my strengths and weaknesses.

Q: Why did you decide to join Dropbox?

A: Before I joined Dropbox, I was at a large company, so I was looking for a role where my work had a more direct connection to the company’s success. I also wanted to grow faster as an engineer. Dropbox is a rapidly growing company, and the Seattle office was getting off the ground. It was an easy choice for me to join Dropbox, where I would be working on high-visibility projects the company really needed and playing a critical part in defining the office culture.

Q: What surprised you most when you joined Dropbox?

A: I was surprised by how quickly Dropboxers are ramped up with responsibility and ownership. Whether they are college hires or industry veterans, new hires are thrown into the mix almost immediately. And beyond the first few weeks, folks are constantly given opportunities that challenge them because managers are very invested in every employee’s personal and career growth.

Q: What are your hobbies? Or what can we find you doing outside of work?

A: I enjoy being active, so I spend a lot of my time playing Ultimate, running, or at the CrossFit gym. The rest of the time, you can find me at the dog park with my dog, Brisket. On rainy Seattle days, I play board games or escape to the nearby mountains to go snowboarding.

(left) Hiking Mt. Si with Brisket the Corgi (right) Crossfit Workout

Q: Any accomplishments you’re proud of outside of work?

A: I just ran my fifth half-marathon this summer and hit a PR (personal record). I ran a 2:01, and I’m aiming to break 2 hours next!

Q: What is something interesting about you that not a lot of people know?

A: I played with the Hong Kong women’s Ultimate (originally known as Ultimate frisbee) team at Worlds a couple of years ago. We played a week of games against the world’s top players. The Hong Kong Ultimate community is less developed compared to that of the other countries we played, but we set a goal of learning and growing as a team, and ended up breaking seed.

(left) Team Hong Kong at Worlds 2016 opening ceremony (right) Playing a spirit game against Team Sweden

About the Grace Hopper Conference

Q: What’s your role at the conference?

A: You can find me at the Dropbox booth some days, where I will be talking to folks interested in learning more about Dropbox. The rest of the time, I will be attending lots of sessions and interviewing.

Q: Have you been before? And what was your favorite part/takeaway?

A: Yes! This is my fourth Grace Hopper. I love attending the keynotes — don’t miss them. Hearing the inspiring stories of what other women have accomplished in their field or toward growing women in tech is a great way to start those early conference days. I also try to attend as many career sessions as possible. There’s something for people in every stage of their academic or industry career, and I always leave with valuable, actionable advice.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most?

A: The free swag? Just kidding. In addition to the sessions I just mentioned, I’m looking forward to making new connections. There are always unexpected moments at the coffee bar or between sessions where I meet someone with an energizing story.

Check back soon to meet more Dropboxers. In the meantime visit us at Dropbox is growing, grow with us!


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