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Distributed Work & Communities: Sienna Saito

Introduce yourself. How long have you been working at Cash App? What team are you currently part of?

I’m Sienna. I’ve been at Cash App since March of 2020 in the Global Core team. It’s been fun!

Your lead is located in New York City, and you also have a teammate in San Francisco. Tell us about this highly distributed working dynamic.

It pushes a lot of meetings to be asynchronous. With asynchronous communication, you have the ability to think about what you’re responding to, and how you’re going to respond before pressing send.

That’s really good, because personally, I find that when we have synchronous meetings, especially with a lot of people, it’s easy to get lost. If everything is done asynchronously, in text, you can just scroll up and read it again.

If you’re distributed, there’s always someone working where it’s daytime, and they can work on things more time-sensitive (like outages), without waking someone up.

Tell us about being a Cash App engineer in Melbourne. How is that different from being located anywhere else?

Melbourne is quite small compared to some other cities, and there’s a lot of funky programming paradigm experts here. I started my career with functional programming, which I understand is not a big thing in some parts of the U.S., for example.

It’s interesting that engineering culture has gone down different paths in various parts of the world, and we get exposed to a lot of different architectural patterns that others might never see. Different parts of the world - and different teams - have different requirements and work differently, and this defines our appetite for risk. You can tailor the way you do things to the needs and the environment you’re in. As a result, we’ve separated everything into modules, and each team can make a decision about how they want to do things. As long as it plugs in with other modules, it’s totally fine.

Is there anything unique about being a woman in engineering at Cash App?

I feel well supported here at Cash App, having communities for Women in Engineering and Squeers (Square’s community for LGBTQ+ people). I have regular catch ups with other people from my community, and we check up on each other’s wellbeing.

At Square, the feedback that I receive is always about the work that I do, and this leads to actionable discussions about how I want to grow as an individual, and how we can find opportunities for me to become the engineer I aspire to be. It’s never about how I look or the way I speak.

How do you see Cash App redefining the world’s relationship with money reflected in what you do?

Being an LGBTQ+ individual, I always wished that there was more that I could do for my community. I’ve seen people on my Instagram feed that have been affected by serious hospital bills or housing issues, who require immediate monetary help. Seeing Cash App being used to get help fast makes the work that I do have real meaning to me. I think our mission of economic empowerment is really life changing for a lot of people!