Returning To Work After Childbirth And During A Global Pandemic

In this post, we interview Jing Hao, a Software Engineer on the Solutions team. She’s one of the newest mom’s at Diffbot.

 

Hi Jing! Congratulations on the new addition to your family and welcome back to work – we’ve missed you and can’t wait to hear all about your journey into motherhood during a time of uncertainty. I think it’s a good idea to help parents-to-be understand how to navigate the current environment.

 

  • Given the Covid-19 pandemic, how have you been able to balance your personal and professional life – i.e. working at home and welcoming a baby girl? 

At Diffbot, I feel extremely supported by the work-life environment, which is essential for a happy, working mom. Our CEO, Mike Tung, has been extremely accommodating to my situation. Diffbot has a generous 4-month parental leave policy. Additionally, I came back to work part time initially, which allowed me the flexibility to adjust to the responsibilities of a working mom. I’ve been able to establish routines to bond with my baby now that I’m back to full time. My baby usually wakes up at 6 a.m so we spend some time together to eat breakfast, read books, and exercise. When she’s having her morning nap, I’m ready to start work with an energized mindset. Thanks for our generous work from home policy, I get to pump and do feedings while spending quality time with my baby.

  • How has Diffbot accommodated your pregnancy journey? 

Diffbot cares a lot about employees’ well being and has been extremely supportive throughout the whole journey. I had severe discomforts during the pregnancy, such as nausea and vomiting, and had a limited diet. Since Diffbot offers free meals (lunch and dinner), newly remodeled individual offices, and an onsite gym, just to name a few, I was able to alleviate pregnancy discomfort, stay healthy, and be productive on the job. We also have 100% company-sponsored health insurance and generous HRA benefits, which provides a huge financial relief when having a newborn. Many employees at Diffbot are also parents or parents-to-be who care and share experiences and resources. My co-workers even threw a warm baby shower before my maternity leave. At Diffbot I never feel alone and cannot wait to have play dates with other Diffbot babies after the pandemic is over!

  • How have you kept yourself together during this time?

A great thing about working at Diffbot is the ability to work on what you want and acquire those skills necessary to constantly learn and fulfill my potential. When you start here, you aren’t assigned a specific task – rather, you get the opportunity to decide what problems you want to solve and go tackle them. This allows me to work on what I’m passionate about. Outside of work, I keep myself occupied with exercise and my husband and I have been able to create more quality time together with our baby girl.

  • Any tips for future parents on maintaining a personal-professional life balance while being successful? 

You’ll definitely need the extra help with a newborn! Prepare as much as you can if you plan on hiring a nanny or by asking family and friends to help. You’ll get peace of mind when you know your baby is in good and safe hands while you’re working. Turn every nurture effort into bonding time, and share your activities with your baby. My baby is fond of my favorite music and loves watching me do yoga. If at all possible, work for a family friendly company (Thank you, Diffbot!). It will be of great help if your job gives you flexible hours, lets you leave work for doctor appointments, or gives you the option to work from home. With all that flexibility, you can still get crucial bonding with your baby. 

  • How can companies accommodate new parents to adjust with the current work setup?

Quarantine is an isolating experience, and it’s critically important for maintaining well being both mentally and physically, on work and off work. Diffbot has opportunities for parents to include the whole family for social events such as happy hour and photo contests. Medication, childbirth, and breastfeeding classes and therapy services are HRA eligible. While we have clean and hygienic workplaces, especially the private offices make isolation possible, we’ve also received masks and weekly food delivery stipends to ease the transition of working from home. With these complete flexibilities, I feel blessed to have found a company that takes care of its employees.

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Welcome Huzail Ssemakula – Technical Recruiter

Hello everyone,

My name is Huzail Ssemakula (pronounced who-zail semakula). I will be joining Diffbot as a technical recruiter on our amazing recruiting team.

My recruiting journey started at Amazon where I helped grow several teams such as Amazon Prime and the Alexa technologies. Since then, my career took me to Google and Cruise Automation where I focused on working with teams solving Machine Learning problems. I am very impressed with what Diffbot has achieved with such a small group of talented people. I look forward to helping the company achieve its mission, by bringing in more talented individuals to the Diffbot family.

On a personal note, I enjoy spending time with my family doing outside activities. We live in the Seattle area surrounded by nature and parks. I’m also huge on sports, soccer/futbol being my number one. Fun facts; I’m left handed, born and raised in Uganda, and I can speak several languages.

I can’t wait to meet you all in person once the world is back in order 🙂

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Welcome Ariadne Caldwell – Executive Assistant to Diffbot’s CEO and Founder, Mike Tung

Hi everyone, I’m Ariadne Caldwell. Recently, I joined Diffbot as the Executive Assistant to CEO, Mike Tung. For the past five years, I have supported C-Level and high profile Executives across industries such as SaaS, Real Estate and Food & Hospitality. I’m passionate and enthusiastic in helping support teams who solve complex problems with industry leading solutions.

I love working on special projects and company initiatives. In my previous roles I have led social media strategy, creation and execution of a podcast, managed recruitment processes, edited and produced videos, designed brand collateral, and other tasks that go outside of the typical Executive Assistant scope of work. 

My goals are to provide proactive and strategic administrative support across the organization. I believe relationship building is key to forming an inclusive and welcoming company culture.

Born and raised in the Bay Area, I am a San Francisco State University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – International Business. 

I enjoy traveling, scuba diving, writing, reading, and spending time with my family. 

Very excited to be a new member of the Diffbot team! 

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Welcome Ondrej Pacovsky – Machine Learning Engineer

Hi there! I am Ondřej Pacovský, from the mighty Czech Republic. I had just started as a Senior Machine Learning Engineer in the research group.

A little bit about myself – I made my first cash writing software when I was 14 and decided to focus my endeavors making computers smarter, that is, artificial intelligence. After graduating from Charles University and Sussex University, I started working in game development as an AI expert and also a lead developer on the side. I then joined Google, and worked on various machine learning projects, most notably Gmail Priority Inbox and the Google Knowledge Graph. I returned to Prague to co-found Eyen, a company specializing in cryo electron microscopy data analysis and special-purpose GPU development.

With Eyen working beautifully on its own, I was looking for a meaningful opportunity to push the boundaries of AI. The Diffbot’s mission fits that goal perfectly – in fact, what we’re doing here was my initial dream when I was thinking about intelligent computers as a boy: a machine that learns about the world just by observing it.

I greatly enjoy teaching my own small biological brains to be smarter than me. I play ice hockey, soccer, tennis, squash and have climbed a 6000m mountain. I also developed and installed my own smart home and enjoy making wood furniture.

 

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Welcome Steve Peterson – Enterprise Account Executive

Hi everyone, I’m Steve Peterson. I’ve just joined Aron’s team to help with Enterprise Sales to Global 2000 accounts.  Having had some experience with Big Data and Analytics tools at Oracle and IBM, I’m excited to join a company with a vision to distill the entire Web into a structured format easily incorporated by businesses into their Data pipelines. This is a very exciting place to be!  I’m working on helping Diffbot become an essential piece of the data landscape for Billion dollar companies in areas like PR, Marketing, Sales and even areas like M&A.  Most companies never heard of zoom.info 3 years ago, now it’s table-stakes for most Sales orgs. I see Diffbot with a similar future, but in many parts of the Enterprise Data Stack.

I’m based in the north part of Phoenix, just past the first set of mountains heading to Flagstaff.  My wife, Cari, and I have 5 kids between us, and 5 grandkids, with one on the way (we’re thankful she had some kids early in life!).  We enjoy concerts, the pool, camping and boating.  I take my home office buddy Dallas (she’s the sweetest dog you’ve ever met — a grey-pit bull) with me on desert walks almost every morning.

 

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