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Zipping it forward - our partnership with The DV Collective


Anna Wei and Ying Zhang


March 21, 2023

Zipping it forward - our partnership with The DV Collective

Meet two of our fearless Product Managers, Anna Wei and Ying Zhang, and learn how they used their Volunteering Leave to support The DV Collective, a national domestic violence initiative whose members are organisations that support women and children to escape and recover from domestic violence.

Anna and Ying tell us about yourself, your role at Zip, and a little bit about your day to day work here

Anna: Hey everyone! I’m Anna, I’m a Product Manager in the Customer Core / Martech & Wallet Experience team. I’ve been a Zipster for just over a year now. Day to day can really vary but usually it involves catching up with key stakeholders on requirements, talking through initiatives with the team and helping to unblock anything that gets in the way. I try to make life as easy as possible for the Engineers in the team so that they can stay focused on delivery.

Ying: I’m the Product Manager in the Financial Crime Squad at Zip, and I joined seven months ago. Our team is responsible for protecting our customers from criminals engaging in fraud, money laundering and terrorism financing. I work with four software engineers responsible for building solutions that detect, decline and monitor high-risk customer activities in real-time and at scale.

From product strategy, feature roadmapping and discovery, to requirements gathering, project management, and hosting group therapy sessions with donut supplies (yeah, cyber attacks can be stressful!), I do everything needed to make sure my engineers and business stakeholders are focused, aligned, calm and happy. I believe that when we get this right, we make higher-quality decisions, which ultimately lead to great experiences for our customers.

You have put your skills and your volunteering leave to good use recently. Could you tell us what the piece of work is, and how the opportunity came about?

Ying: The organisation Anna and I have partnered with is The Domestic Violence Collective (DV Collective), who have set out to bring together all of the organisations who have committed to supporting the victims of domestic violence across Australia.

DV Collective’s work enables partners like Zip to allocate their resources to the areas where it’s needed most, helping not-for-profit organisations gain monetary and non-monetary support - such as volunteering, employment opportunities, clothing, phones, and shelter - as efficiently as possible. The scope of our project has been to create a member portal on The DV Collective’s website where not-for-profits can browse and apply for all the resources made available by participating organisations.

Anna: The opportunity came about through one of our internal Slack channels. I’m in a lot of different channels (just like everybody else at Zip!), and was scrolling through one of the product channels when I saw that our Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility had shared the opportunity to do some pro-bono work. I’m always looking to elevate my product management skills and thought that work of this nature would be a great opportunity to do so. Ying and I are both in ‘backend-heavy’ teams at Zip, so it’s been great to have worked on a project that is frontend related, and more customer facing than our day-to-day.

Beyond that, I think it’s super important to give back to the community, so I’ve always been curious about what causes I could use my two days of volunteering leave for.

Why was this opportunity important to you?

Ying: To me the meaning of contributing to this cause is twofold. On one hand, I’m a big believer in the idea of ‘Tech for Good’. In other words, using technology to make a positive impact on the world. I am always on the lookout for opportunities where I can be of any use to a good cause. I started volunteering with not-for-profit organisations from a very young age, so I’m aware that many of these organisations have limited resources.

Secondly, being able to support people who need to leave home is something I deeply care about. Largely because I’ve experienced this myself. Growing up, domestic violence was not unusual in my immediate and extended families. Being able to help mom, my aunties and grandma escape toxic environments has been a big driver for me to continue growing my career and living my life to the full. I feel fortunate to have had this opportunity to help people in Australia who’ve been in a similar situation to the women in my family.

Thinking about the work itself, what role/s have you both played and what has been most enjoyable so far?

Anna: What I’ve enjoyed most has been getting to work with different people! If it wasn’t for this opportunity I’d never have got to work closely with Ying, The DV Collective founder Kylie, or the IBM Engineers who we partnered with to build the portal.

It has been such an eye-opening experience that has taught me so many invaluable skills. I really enjoyed creating the high-level design mock-ups with Ying! As I’m still quite early in my Product career, I’ve had valuable exposure to areas that I don’t really get in my day to day. I’ve loved the variety and am so excited to see the work come to life.

Ying: As Anna suggests, there have been four of us on this project, the two of us Product Managers from Zip, and the two Engineers from IBM, Marwan and Langley. At a high-level, the IBM team took care of MVP scoping, technical design and implementation. Anna and I looked after everything else, from creating design mock-ups and writing user stories, to organising user testing and launch.

I remember during our first scoping session, Langley and Marwan used advanced clarification techniques to help Kylie crystallise her vision for this project in a really skilful way. I have been a product manager and business analyst for a few years, and I thought I knew a thing or two about discovery and requirements gathering. However, the amount of quality insights we were able to extract within an hour impressed me greatly. In the last four months, there have been countless moments just like this, when I felt extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to be inspired and enlightened by our working group.

What one thing that people outside of the organisation may not know about Zip that makes you excited about working here in 2023 and beyond?

Ying: Flexibility! Flexibility not only in terms of how, when, and where you’d like to work, but also what you want your role to look like.

I was brought in initially to help speed up data integration with our new financial crime platform, a strategic priority for the business. Since day one, Product Leaders and my managers at Zip have encouraged me to think outside the box, to “focus on the future”, to “discover the most valuable problem to solve instead of being confined by role”. This is very powerful, because it has empowered me to look at the broader financial crime landscape at Zip, and identify critical areas where my skills can add the most value.

One example being, when we did get a fraud attack, I facilitated daily hot briefs with over 30 senior stakeholders and engineers across the business to discuss and help put in defensive measures. When we recovered from the attacks, I then designed our first ever step-by-step fraud attack response manual so that all teams could better prepare themselves in the future.

Furthermore, my current role doesn’t involve direct interaction with customers, but I’ve always been passionate about customer discovery. So I put my hand up to help designers with customer interviews. So far at Zip, the freedom to tailor my role to better suit my growth trajectory and career goals is what I’ve found most exciting.

Anna: Awesome people and endless opportunities! Everyone you meet here is super friendly and willing to lend a helping hand. I’ve met some awesome colleagues here that I can call my friends.

In terms of endless opportunities, if there’s an area that you’re interested in exploring, the leaders here will go above and beyond to try to make that happen for you. I always voiced to others that I wanted to look after a product team that allowed me to create more front end customer facing experiences and an opportunity came up for me to do a secondment in the Wallet Experience team to do just that! It’s been a month so far and I’ve already developed so many new skills.

Thanks Anna and Ying for sharing your story, and your volunteering leave time with The DV Collective. To learn more about their great work, check out their site here >

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