We’re thrilled to welcome Monica Yao to our engineering team! Monica will work on all parts of Pavilion’s software product building new features, systems, and improvements. We sat down with Monica to learn how she came to join the team, her favorite books, and her personal motto. 

Why Pavilion?

My last internship was at a company with amazing social impact. I was motivated to seek a mission-driven company focused on positive change. During the interview process, I felt so welcomed by everyone on the team. It was also exciting to hear how everyone truly believed in Pavilion’s mission to impact communities at many scales. 

Another big draw for me is that Pavilion is women-led. You certainly don’t get that a lot in Silicon Valley! I am inspired by the founders’ stories, and I look forward to learning more from them.

What’s something you’re not good at, but working on?

Having good posture! My backpacks throughout elementary, middle, and high school were always heavy. I was an anxious kid who brought all my folders, binders, and books, even if it was a half-day, so I wouldn't forget anything by accident. Carrying this heavy load throughout the years contributed to my bad posture.

Adding iPads and laptops, my backpacks became even heavier. My spine has not recovered since. I did reformer pilates in college which helped, and I’m trying to find a new studio in SF. I haven’t found one yet, but it’s a good thing we have standing desks in the office!

What’s a book you’ve read and enjoyed recently?

There are two I read recently and really enjoyed:

One is Pachinko by Min-Jin Lee. This is a story of four generations of Korean immigrants in Japan. It’s set during the Korean occupation/WWII and the Korean War periods. The book teaches you the history of a marginalized group that many don’t know about, and it changed how I view Japan.

The second is Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb. Lori is a therapist who writes about her patients and her journey of going to therapy herself. I found her very inspiring and felt myself becoming attached to both her and her patients. The book reminded me that everyone’s life is wildly complex, even if it doesn’t seem like it to the outsider.

Words to live by?

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.”

I used to be a pretty bad procrastinator and this Chinese proverb reminded me that it’s never too late to start! Even if you failed to start your task when you were supposed to, you can still start now.