Sep 06, 2022
This month we’re excited to highlight Fabi Prabhakar, Director of Engineering at Branch. Passionate about supporting the people around her, Fabi has done more than enjoy her individual success as a woman in tech. She goes above and beyond to support people on her team, her peers, and her family while inspiring innovation across Branch’s engineering team. In support of fellow women in tech, she shares important advice: “If you embrace how unique you are and know your worth, you will be very successful.”
In her role at Branch, Fabi also supports a big portion of our Discovery Engineering team, building new solutions to further our mission of creating a more connected, open, and relevant digital ecosystem.
What do you love about your job?
I love working with talented, passionate people to deliver results. I have worked on infrastructure in the past, and now my work is very product-focused at Branch. At the end of the day, I love being able to work with the people on my team and accomplish big wins together.
What has your career path looked like?
I started my career as a backend software engineer. Even though I love technology, I was always very interested in working on problems that matter to the organization. For example, I worked in risk detection for almost 10 years. It was super exciting to me when we figured out different ways to fight fraud. The smarter the fraudsters got, the more sophisticated our systems had to become. During that time, I realized the real impact data can have on an organization. I also grew from leading projects and teams as a tech lead to having the opportunity to become a manager.
How did you decide to focus on management?
That was personally a natural move for me. I got much more satisfaction from working with people than working by myself writing code. The first team I led as a manager was three engineers. One of them was actually more senior than I was, but she was amazing and we learned how to support each other on our growth path. Over the years, I have gotten tremendous joy from supporting successful teams. I like to look back, and I believe I played a small part in their success and helped them grow in their career.
What do you wish people knew about being a leader (and a woman) in tech?
As a woman leader in tech, I often find myself surrounded by male peers. Early on in my career I learned that the only way I would be heard in a room full of male colleagues was by being very confident. I also want to say that the biggest strength many female leaders have is our ability to have true empathy.
What motivates you?
We have many challenges ahead of us, and I mean that in a good way. Branch has a great combination of opportunities and interesting challenges. What else could a leader ask for?
What makes Branch different from other places you’ve worked at?
What is special about being a leader in a smaller company is that not everything is figured out for you. There is so much room to help define the culture of the team. We also take on more responsibility than we would in a bigger company with more resources but also a lot more red tape. I learn something new every day at Branch, and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to learn from my peers, leadership, and folks on my team.
How have you grown at Branch?
When I joined Discovery Engineering, the team was relatively small. I have had the opportunity to actively help shape the org, define processes, and drive change for engineering in general.
Personally, I came from building high-scale infrastructure, building systems that would not fail. When I came to Branch, I had to learn to reset my way of thinking and balance perfection with rapid innovation and execution. I am still the person in the room that is most worried about big failures (I think :)), but I learned to value our ability to put stuff out there quickly.
What made you choose to work at Branch?
There were two factors that weighed the most when I was making the decision to work at Branch: 1) the people I met during the interview — I could see myself working with them, and 2) the possibility of building something remarkable. Branch is in a unique position to build amazing, widely adopted products, and it is exciting to be a part of that journey.
What does a normal day at Branch look like for you?
Our culture is very dynamic, and we are always trying to spend time on things that matter most at a given time. I normally start my day going over the schedule and things I want to do, and I ask myself, “Am I choosing the right things to spend my time on?” Distractions are expected, so we embrace that and adjust if something gets escalated and needs immediate attention.
What do you value most about your coworkers?
I really love how collaborative people are at Branch and how we support each other. I have great peers here who will go out of their way to help me personally and in my career.
Who is your most inspirational coworker, and why?
My most inspirational coworker is one of Branch’s co-founders, Dmitri Gaskin. From the moment I first spoke with Dmitri, I could easily tell how smart he is. Dmitri is not just tech smart, he is a very strategic leader and he is also super supportive of the people around him. He is just so passionate about everything he does and is the type of person you can have a great conversation with about any topic, from technology to hobbies and everything in between.
How does Branch cultivate a sense of belonging for you?
I feel I have a real voice at Branch and my opinions are heard. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me all the time, but people at Branch really take each others’ opinions seriously and we always share enough context so everyone understands why decisions were made the way they were.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
Embrace feedback. Always assume best intent and be grateful that someone took the time and energy to help you grow.
If you’d like to work with amazing people like Fabi, check out our open roles.
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