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 Will Hare – Sales Development Representative

Hello everyone! William (Hare) here, but you can call me Will. I will be joining the sales team at Diffbot as a Sales Development Representative. I am looking forward to meeting everyone – eventually in person – and welcome any opportunity now for a virtual get-together. 

I have always been interested in problem solving and negotiation for mutual benefit, i.e sales! I was actually hired for my first sales job at 14 years old when I was hanging out at the local lacrosse store and started talking with customers about equipment. Ultimately, I was able to refine my skills to not only guide people into the gear and “cosmetics” that would fit them best, but also learned to love the client facing aspect of the job. 

As I moved through college at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, I became very interested in technology. I was able to work an internship with a team doing inside sales at Uber for a new project for on demand delivery, and fell in love with the sales development process. After that internship, I went into the wine industry and worked as a tasting room associate at a local winery, learning as much as I could about wine, the industry, and the nuances of pouring. After I graduated, I became the first Sales Development Representative at a small social engagement start-up in Palo Alto working directly with the CEO on sales development and strategy. Once I saw the breadth of Diffbot and understood its mission, I was immediately intrigued. I now consider myself extremely fortunate to be a part of the team!

On a personal note, I love hiking, snowboarding, and wine. I also coach high school lacrosse (go PALY Vikings). Once we are back in the office, I am looking forward to using the pool table and organizing a tournament. 

I’m absolutely thrilled to join the sales team at Diffbot and engage with prospective clients to understand the power and vision of the company!

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Welcome Jerome Choo – Director of Growth Marketing

Hello! My name is Jerome Choo and I lead Growth Marketing at Diffbot. I spent the majority of my childhood in Singapore, eventually moving to Atlanta, GA, for high school and college where I started a career in biomedical engineering. My research focus, mostly unintended, was on mammal urination. Since then, I’ve found a new passion in leading data driven growth teams. I’m fascinated with blending objective scientific rigor and problem first design to create seven star user experiences. I’m pumped to help Diffbot solve the absolutely essential function of accessible structured data for everyone!

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Welcome Andrew Harrold – Data Curator

Hello! My name is Andrew Harrold, a new data curator at Diffbot!

I was born and raised in Denver Colorado, and studied economics at the University of California, Berkeley. During my time at Berkeley, I took on a senior thesis which involved looking at the relationship between employee sentiment (scraped employee review data) and stock market returns.

Needless to say, I have a passion for data and love the many creative ways it can be used to derive meaningful insights; specifically within machine learning and web-scraping technology. Diffbot takes on the challenge of exracting data to find meaning out of chaos and can be used to help a wide range of businesses solve problems— which I am all about. I am very excited to join a talented team with such awesome technology!


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Welcome Maosheng Guo – Machine Learning Engineer

Hello there! My name is Maosheng Guo and I am from China. I had just started recently as a Machine Learning Engineer in the research group. It’s my great pleasure to join the Diffbot family!

When pursuing my Ph.D. at the Harbin Institute of Technology, I focused my research on recognition, extraction and generating the reasoning relations in natural language (i.e., Textual Entailment and Natural Language Inference). During this time, I successfully improved several question-answering and dialogue systems/chatbots using inference techniques. On the one hand, reasoning in natural language is inseparable from the accumulation of knowledge. On the other hand, inference techniques also help the construction of knowledge graphs. When I learned about the Diffbot’s mission to build the first comprehensive map of human knowledge, I decided to join without any hesitation.

As for my hobbies, I enjoy traveling and doing outdoor sports in my free time. When I am not outdoors, I also find playing online party games with friends exciting. I am excited to start my new adventure at Diffbot!

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Welcome Eriq Huang – UX Design Intern

Hi there! My name is Eriq Huang, a new User Experience (UX) Design intern at Diffbot!

I grew up in China. Currently, I am studying Web Design & New Media at Academy of Art University. I have been a visual designer for 6 years with multidisciplinary design skills in the area of UX, brand strategy, visual presentation, and ergonomics. The reason why UX is so fascinating to me is that I derive huge satisfaction by creating solutions that can positively impact people’s lives and their behavior.

As for my hobbies, I’m currently diving into aerial cinematography. I take my equipment with me whenever I travel so I can share stories of my journey.

Diffbot has solid technologies and approaches that solve the problem of acquiring human knowledge, and this is the exact problem that will be encountered whether in your daily life or business use cases. We possess a common vision of solving the user’s problem by addressing technology and design into sophisticated solutions. This is the reason why I joined Diffbot. I hope that I can contribute my own strength to the team by utilizing my multidisciplinary design approaches.

I look forward to starting my new journey here at Diffbot!

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Welcome Ben Lin – Account Executive

Hi Everyone! My name is Ben and I’m joining Diffbot as an Account Executive.

I grew up in the Bay Area and attended school at UC Berkeley studying economics. During my time there, I became interested in Data Science and Machine Learning and how this emerging field would play a key role in business operations. I knew I wanted to pursue a career that would enable me to work on both the technical and business sides of a product.

After graduation, I began working at a Machine Learning startup called Vidora. I dove right into sales being their only sales hire and worked closely with the CEO to prospect, generate meetings, and close deals. During my tenure at Vidora, I realized that I was missing the technical knowledge to resonate with Data Scientists, CTOs, and engineering teams. I then enrolled in a data science bootcamp, Metis, a 3 month full-time program that taught basic coding, statistics, and machine learning models and pipelines. Having experience in web scraping and data collection, Diffbot is truly building a world-class product and I’m excited to be a part of the team and contribute to the growth.

On a personal note – I love watching basketball (Go Dubs!), MMA, and going to concerts. I also enjoy hiking and adventuring so I try to go to at least one new trail every month. I look forward to my adventure here at Diffbot!

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Welcome Dan Urman – Lead Technical Support Engineer

Hi, folks! Dan here!

I’ve always been interested in psychology and technology. My first website was a bunch of personality tests from my high school psychology class implemented in JavaScript. These hobbies led me to a career in web development, but eventually I realized that the best part of my job was actually when I got to help colleagues solve whatever technical problems they’d run into in their own work. Because of that, I transitioned to technical product support and have never been happier.

Building websites is still a hobby of mine, and it’s given me frequent opportunity to lament how difficult it is to make use of the immense amount of human knowledge that exists on the internet. When I heard about Diffbot’s mission to collect and structure this knowledge to enable truly intelligent systems, I was immediately excited!

I’m thrilled to join Diffbot’s Technical Support Engineering team where I’ll be working to empower our customers to meet their goals and to improve the resources available to our developer community.

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Welcome Oliver Lehmberg – Machine Learning Engineer

Hi! My name is Oliver and I am a new Machine Learning Engineer at Diffbot!

I am from Germany and I have always been passionate about computer science as well as how to use computers to automate everyday tasks. After obtaining my master’s degree in Business Informatics, I joined the Data and Web Science Group at the University of Mannheim, where I worked on the large-scale integration of tabular data from web sites and knowledge graphs for five years.

I finished my PhD this year and will now work with the research team at Diffbot. My work here will continue in the area of large-scale data integration and focus on record linking and sub-record linking. These are critical tasks for the construction of knowledge graphs, as they determine which pieces of information from different source web sites are combined into the same entity, and how such entities are interlinked with each other.

In my free time I like to travel around the world and spend time with friends and family. I look forward to my new adventures at Diffbot!

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Welcome Tomer Balan – Senior Software Engineer

Hi there!

My name is Tomer, and I’m a new Senior Software Engineer at Diffbot! I am from Tel Aviv, Israel, a city with beautiful beaches, restaurants, bars, and a lot of technology.

As far back as I can remember, I have always been passionate about identifying and solving business problems using technology. For that reason, I chose to study Industrial and Management Engineering at Ben-Gurion University.

While working as a Data Solutions Engineer at eBay, I signed up for a Diffbot trial and was amazed by the product and technology. I found Diffbot’s technology to be helpful for many use-cases in the company. By day, I used the Analyze and Product API’s, and by night, I investigated the new Knowledge Graph. Diffbot helped eBay reduce 30% of its manual work which lowered expenses and saved time. As a former Diffbot customer, I was fortunate to have been able to develop a great connection with the CEO, Mike and the rest of the team.

I am proud to be one of the first customers to join the Diffbot team. One of my main responsibilities at Diffbot is to build tools that enable non-technical users to understand our technology. I will be working on some very exciting projects so stay tuned!

In my free time, you can find me playing poker (online and offline), playing volleyball on the beach, watching European soccer, hanging out with friends and traveling (17 countries and counting!).  

I look forward to my new adventures and challenges at Diffbot!

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