Yulianna Frederika – Showing up and doing what you love is enough to inspire others

Tech Sisters for muslim women in tech podcast episode art featuring Yulianna Frederika

Today on Tech Sisters Stories we’re excited to have Yulianna Frederika

Yulianna is a multi-faceted creative with expertise in graphic design, branding, social media & content creation across various industries who believes that thought-provoking content inspires actionable change.

She’s a social media manager at Rice Media and co-founder of Lepak Conversations which focuses on engaging social change-makers around issues concerning the Malay/Muslim community

Listen To Sara’s Story

Key Lessons from this Episode

  • Design and tech should be available and accessible to everyone (3:50)
  • Yulianna’s approach to inclusive social media (14:45)
  • Why Yulianna sees being a minority as her superpower (22:00)

Transcript

Yulianna Federika

[00:00:41] Grace: Today on Tech sister stories, we are excited to have Yulianna Federica. Yulianna is a multifaceted creative with the expertise in graphic design, branding, social media, and content creation across various industries who believes that thought provoking content inspires actionable change. She’s a digital creator at rice media and co-founder of Lepak conversations,

which focuses on engaging social change makers around issues concerning the Malay Muslim community. Thank you so much for coming on Yulianna.

[00:01:09] Yulianna: Thank you, grace. It’s my honor to be here. Thank you for having me.

[00:01:13] Grace: How about we start at the very beginning and how’d you first get into tech.

[00:01:17] Yulianna: Right. I started out in design school, so I majored in graphic design and branding, and I guess , being a graphic designer, I think at the time , formats were changing as in, we were moving from print to like more digital formats. And I became. attracted to social media as a format of storytelling.

And I think that really was my first foray to tech. And I mean, design is also very closely related to tech because of the tools that we use. And with social media, there are always, you know , software updates. There are always , interface updates. So it’s, it’s very much tied to. Tech and, and changing trends.

So my first job was actually in a social media marketing consultancy. , and I think that’s where I really saw the impact of tech because one of the things we did was we , part. Marketing to solo entrepreneurs or solo premiers as we would call them because, you know, they’re on a tight budget. Some of them are stay at home moms.

And , so we empower them with , free apps or like low cost apps and tools to, to help them build and scale their business. So I guess being in that line of work, like I, I really saw how tech has a really huge impact on businesses on people. But also, I think, I think part of the reason why I was attracted to graphic design and branding in the first place is because , it’s a form of storytelling and the reason why I’m still in the line of doing work, , in social media is because it’s a very interesting place , to tell stories. It’s accessible to everyone. anyone can see anything, but of course there’s dangerous to that, but also there’s which is another thing we might talk about. yeah, it’s, it’s just an interesting place to be. It’s a tool that’s available to everyone and, and I think I’m always all about making anything as accessible as possible to everyone. Yep.

[00:03:10] Grace: That’s amazing. So how we define tech at tech sisters is as broad as possible , on purpose to include things like graphic design and social media marketing, which definitely have a large tech component. And one of the things that we really try to emphasize is tech. Isn’t just coding. it’s such a huge sphere of what you can do and how you can get involved in space. , so there’s really space for everybody and all these different disciplines and skill sets.

And as you’re talking about making it more accessible, I’m wondering what are your thoughts on design tools like Canva and maybe even things like buffer that do social media , scheduling.

[00:03:50] Yulianna: I haven’t said anything about this publicly, but I know there are, you know professionals out there who aren’t really agreeable with having such , Apps and tools that kind of make it kind of makes it everyone can be a designer now right, but I really think that it’s a great move because I think design and tech should be available to everyone accessible to everyone.

And , I guess I wanna point to this , project by a friend of mine as it’s called making meaning and what she does is She connects , nonprofits with , creatives who are willing to do pro bono design or branding work. And I think that’s a really great initiative because again, tying , back to my work experience, , we helped, , solo entrepreneurs who, who are,

you know, stay at home moms who, who

might not have enough resources to build their business.

And so I really think equipping people with the tools to empower them, to improve their lives. It’s always a great thing, you know, and I think as , creatives, as , professionals, there will always be room for people who have certain specializations. So for me, like I’m aware that, you know, anyone can do social media, but there is still a lot of know hows that not everyone knows unless, you know, you spend, a lot of years, you know, in this industry.

Yeah.

[00:05:09] Grace: Yeah, definitely. I think that’s a really healthy approach. , because those groups that you’re talking about, they just need a logo to get started. Right. And then once they get the resources and they have a better idea of what they wanna be as a business, then they can go to a more experienced designer and refine that and really take it up to the next level.

But you still need to get started yeah. Yeah. And you were talking about storytelling, which, you know, obviously as part of tech, sisters, I’m all about. So one of the things that I’m really interested in is that you focus at lepak conversations at making really inclusive storytelling. So , what does that look like and how do you do that?

[00:05:48] Yulianna: I think, first of all, it’s just really paying attention to what people are talking about, what people care about and really observing. Who’s not already having a voice. I think in the first place we started it because we recognized that our community didn’t have much representation. In a national space and that was really us being motivated , to include our community in an authentic and honest way.

and I think for us community is really important. So it’s really not about us as a platform. It’s about the people who come to us who share their stories with us. So. So how we generally operate is we would focus on a certain social issue or certain current affair at a time. for example , the very first thing that we touched on was to allow Muslim women in healthcare to wear the hijab.

So we kind of, so we, we take a very research and data based approach. Present all this educational material. And then we compliment it, which is really important. We compliment it with stories from the community. So we were quite surprised that a lot of Muslim women sent in stories, not just women in healthcare who shared stories about how they really struggled with, you know, Removing the hijab when they go to the workplace.

I remember like even there was, I think a 17 year old girl who said she was on a school break and she was trying to find an odd job. So it was just a really simple job of like warehouse packing, but she was denied the job because they didn’t want her to wear the hijab. And so, you know, these are perspectives that we don’t know ourselves that we can only find if we reach out to people.

So. I think how we try to get to be as inclusive as possible is to reach out to as many people as possible. And yeah, so I really think social media really helps in that sense because everyone has acess to it. Again, you know, we would not be able to meet all of these people and share all of their stories.

If we didn’t have this online platform that’s available to them. yeah, I think that’s, that’s usually how we approach it. So whoever we see online, whoever sees us online , we make it a very safe space. I think one of the , things that we prioritize actually on our platform is safety. We want it to be a safe space because it’s online, it’s unregulated.

So one of the first things we did was to actually set guidelines. So , in terms conditions. So, you know, if you’re not being respectful if you’re using hate speech, we have a right to remove you or ban you from our, from our page. And I think that has really helped to create a. safe space on social media, which is really rare, but I really do hope that social media can be seen as a place to, to have, you know, such conducive environments for discussions to, to learn about different communities and different people.

I think social media can be a place that’s inclusive. That’s accessible to everyone. You know, although I think now, because social media. very much unregulated. It can be seen as like a very dangerous and unsafe place where hate speech, thrive. But yeah, I think we’ve been pretty successful in keeping social media safe space and yeah, that’s something I really I’m really proud of.

[00:09:19] Grace: It’s really, it is something to be really proud of because it, it definitely is a very intentional, it takes work to create that, to cultivate that space. alhamdulillah. I’m glad that you brought up the hijab issue, because I, I saw that when I was researching you preparing the questions and I wasn’t aware that that was an issue in Singapore.

So. Yeah. I, I appreciated seeing those stories and expanding my own worldview. I think that when people support policies against hijab wearing in public spaces, they aren’t aware, or they don’t have empathy for the ramifications of what happens. I think one of the reasons that they always cite is that it liberates women and they just are not clicking with , actually women are staying at home because they can’t work.

[00:10:05] Yulianna: Mm-hmm

[00:10:06] Grace: You’re excluding people out the conversations.

[00:10:08] Yulianna: Exactly.

[00:10:09] Grace: Yeah.

[00:10:11] Yulianna: I think actually, so it’s been going on since I was young, cuz I remember when I was maybe 10, my mom came home and she said, oh, I didn’t get the job because they didn’t want me to wear the hijab. And as a kid, I didn’t understand that. I told her like, just get another, just find another job, you

know, but yeah.

Right. But, but as I grew older, I realized it’s, it’s, it’s an unspoken thing. I don’t think there’s, it’s written. I don’t think it’s a written policy an official policy, but it just, I guess, from the healthcare sector, like I guess the public facing sector, like It’s generally not accepted for you to wear the hijab.

And because I guess private sectors just kind of follow that and schools kind of follow that as well. Everyone looks to the public sector as an example, I guess. And so it just became an, an unspoken thing that, oh, I don’t really want you to wear a hijab and even if I don’t have a good reason for it, it’s okay.

Because everyone else is doing

[00:11:07] Grace: Everyone else is doing it. Yeah. We have a, we have a bunch of people in tech sisters who are in France and who talk about their experience with the hijab. We have somebody who did a PhD in France, but she wasn’t allowed to teach as part of her PhD. Normally you’re supposed to teach, but because she was wearing hijab, they wouldn’t let her do that.

So of, of course you missed out on that experience and. That part of her PhD. And she is also saying, and we’ve heard is from other tech sisters that it’s it’s very normal in a job interview to be asked if you plan on wearing your hijab. And if you do, you know, that’s, it interview’s over, which is crazy.

[00:11:44] Yulianna: It is, it

is. I mean, for, for me personally, I’ve actually never experienced this before. So hearing all of the stories was. Really surprising, you know, from, from my close friends to, you know, women who are much older than me in, in every industry possible. and, through this, I recognize my own privilege, you know, I’m, I mean, I’m not sure why I haven’t gotten it, but I guess on my part, I want to use my privilege so that other women don’t have to go through , such workplace discrimination anymore. You know, I think everyone deserves a fair chance at what, which I have been privileged to have. And I really think that I’ve only gotten this far in my career because for some reason I’ve been afforded the privilege as, as a Muslim, as a minority woman , to just do my job.

I Guess I feel like I’m supposed to anticipate it, but it’s also another thing where you, as a minority, you can’t really tell if someone’s really say being racist against you, or if they’re being Islamophobic against you. If they’re just, you know, a bit rude I think, I think. I’ve had certain experiences where people, you know, ask me like, oh, why do you wear the hijab?

And why does she not wear the hijab? Why do you eat halal? Why does he not eat halal food? And, you know, I think it’s, it’s a bit difficult sometimes to discern between these two, but I choose not to take offense. I just take it as a way to educate them. And I think. That might be a more productive approach, although like, you know, being discriminated and having insensitive comments thrown at you constantly as a minority really isn’t healthy and, and it’s also no one’s responsibility to educate someone who does not know better.

But, but yeah, for me, I think the approach of like taking it as an opportunity to educate them.

[00:13:39] Grace: Yeah. , and that is something that we talk about at tech sisters too, because we have lots of women who are the only minorities or the only Muslims in their companies. But it’s like this very, you were saying it it’s like this. You have to balance right. Between educating and then taking on that burden of being the educator.

And at some point you have to create a boundary and make it really clear. Like I came here to do a specific job. If you wanna have somebody who’s a diversity inclusion expert, you should hire that. I’m here to do code. I’m here to do social media, whatever. I’m happy to answer questions to a certain extent.

but anything else you should bring on a professional?

[00:14:18] Grace: But I wanted to go back to what you were saying before about the inclusive social media community that you built and how it’s kind of transitioning. I’m wondering if we’re sort of seeing social media change in a generational aspect, because I think we’re seeing more of gen Z is having those intentional inclusive conversations, trying to make more of a safe space.

Do you feel like social media is in this transition phase?

[00:14:45] Yulianna: Oh, definitely. I mean, I think personally for me, I took a lot of inspiration from the black lives matter movement online. I think that was really impactful. And I saw how that created a movement worldwide. And I guess that’s why I, that’s how I realized the power of social media. and I can definitely see the impact of this whole new wave of online youth activism.

Because right now in Singapore, like there are a lot more initiatives by the government to to give platforms for youth to add their opinions. And I thought that was a great move because it means that, you know, they are interested and willing to listen to us and take our suggestions into consideration.

[00:15:32] Grace: That is, that is really, that is very encouraging to see that. And it’s even more encouraging when you can actually see those opinions, get cited and lead to actions inshAllah,

and also very curious, cause I’m a little bit jealous, but following that you’ve built on lepak conversations has exploded so that you’re close to your second year.

And how many are you at 8,000 or it’s higher now?

[00:15:56] Yulianna: think it’s 9,000

over almost at 10,000.

[00:16:04] Grace: So what what’s up with that? How’d that happen?

[00:16:09] Yulianna: wow. I personally don’t know, and I like, it’s too crazy to me to think that 9,000 people are following us and, you know, not just following us, but paying attention to what we do and are taking, you know, all these discussions and conversation status that we’re putting our online, offline, because I. I’ve had a lot of friends come and say like, Hey, like my friend spoke to me the other day about your Instagram post.

And I was like, wow, people really do take social media pretty seriously. You know, like they’re actually talking about the things that they see on social media. But I think what helped us grow really quickly was perhaps timeliness because we started at the time of. The general elections. And as first time voters ourselves, we didn’t see much resources out there that we could understand or relate to about our community.

So that’s why we started it on our own. And I guess everyone else felt the same way that they couldn’t find such resources. So I guess when there’s an urgent need, the demand and people just come to it naturally. But I think what has made that growth really sustainable is really building relationships.

So I, I play the role of community organizer. So I, you know, I build a lot of relationships with a lot of leaders, of organizations I’m always attending different events different focus group discussions, just to build relationships with everyone to understand different communities. And we take our own community very seriously as well.

You know, we always say that our DMS always open, so people are like constantly DMing us. and I think it’s really important, you know, even though it’s online, it’s really important to build that kind of relationship because at the end of the day, we are really dealing with people and their very real stories very real experiences.

And a lot of these are very fragile because we’re dealing with difficult topics. Like say we we’ve, we’ve talked about polygamy and people have opened up to us about, oh, you know, my, my, my dad married another wife and he abandoned us. You. These are stories

that they’re painful and they’re stories that you don’t tell to just anyone.

And we take that responsibility very seriously. So we really do make it a point to take care of the relationships that we build through lepak conversations. And I think that’s really what allows us to go . And get to know as many people as possible.

[00:18:46] Grace: So your followers, people who are in your audience can have this real sense of trust and knowledge that it’s not some anonymous people behind the conversations. Yulianna’s gonna reply to me. And she’s going to reply in a way that’s

[00:19:01] Yulianna: right. So

that’s, that’s

another right, because OK. That, that’s another interesting point because we actually started out anonymously. So I, I, I still go by the name, Anna on the page. so it was really interesting to me that. They did not know who exactly was behind the page, but they still trusted us with those stories. I mean, again, I think it just comes down to, there has not been a platform that has allowed people to share their stories. Honestly, I. And I think apart from that, what was really interesting to me is, although this is a platform for the Malay Muslim community.

We have a lot of allies, you know, we have people outside of the community who follow us, who are very interested in learning who send us DMS and say, Hey, you know, I, I’m trying to understand more about this. Can you tell me more about it? And some of the other things we do is we, we don’t only give resources and research and data.

We also provide people with actionable steps that they can take. So for example, they can sign a petition, they can donate to a cause. And I’ve seen a lot of people who are not from our community who actually, do these things and they share, , about our, our initiatives. And yeah, I think that’s, that really helps, .

You know, again, being inclusive really means bringing everyone together. And in this case, even people from outside our community, because we believe that, you know, we meet those voices. We need a lot more of those voices to champion minorities. .

[00:20:32] Grace: So we’re talking a little bit about the minority mindset and how it can be as a superpower we said up before the recording. So how can, how can we get to that level of acceptance? Where if we are still used to seeing ourselves as the only person, or we’re still used to our stories, not being told, how can we make that shift and start seeing it as our unique ability?

[00:20:56] Yulianna: I mean, I don’t, I didn’t think much about my identity as a minority, really, until I got older, I entered, the workforce and that’s where people started pointing out my differences

[00:21:11] Grace: they

[00:21:11] Yulianna: and. Yeah. so that felt pretty weird to me. but what I think, what really helped me was having someone who supported me.

So it was this very colleague who told me that being a minority super power, and she’s a minority herself. She is. Doing great, great work herself. So I think it’s really having someone who you can depend on someone who supports you. I think having this role model, having this cycle of role model is really important because growing up, I never had a role model. Like, you know, don’t, don’t talk about, you know looking at the media and trying to find minority representation. I just couldn’t relate to anyone and, and have them as a role model. until, I met, , certain quiet individuals in the community who are just. Doing their work well, and I think I felt empowered by them.

You know, I, I didn’t want to be inspired by people who are on TV. I wanted to be inspired by everyday people who are making, who are being. who are just being themselves in their everyday lives. You know, I think that’s really important being able to feel comfortable in your own skin, being able to perform your best in everything that you do.

yeah, so I think what really helped again, was finding finding um, mentors role models who looked like me. So my first job was actually an all female, all malay Muslim company,

which. It’s pre it’s really rare to find here. Oh, my gosh. I am so thankful. yes. I’m so thankful alahmdulillah, because that really shaped me to be who I am today to see how, you know, mentorship, how important that is.

And so for me, again, it’s, it’s carrying that on for someone else. So, and I don’t think you have to be, you know, in a what, reading somebody, you know, if a lot of credentials, I really think just you showing. And doing whatever you do well is, should be enough to inspire someone else. And I want to carry that on for every other person, because that’s kind of how I developed, you know , this thought of being a minority is my superpower.

It’s, it’s really because of the people who have already paved the way who are doing it. At the same time as I am, you know, I think we really do need a community to be able to uplift one another

[00:23:40] Grace: Yeah, I really like how you’re emphasizing that being a role model. Isn’t about winning lots of awards. It’s about accepting who you are and being really authentic with what you’re bringing and all the experiences that you have. And I think a lot of that acceptance comes when.

So you’re mentioning role models when you can see other people doing it.

But I think also when you are more experienced at work and you can see how your different background is actually benefiting. You know, the decisions are being made where you can see like all these men at my company are making one decision. I, the only woman and thinking about something else and bringing something else to the table

so I’m really glad that we’re bringing that up.

so Yulianna we’re in the reflective stage of the interview. So these are just thinking questions. So what is something that you’re most proud of? So something that’s really meaningful to you. that’s really special. It can be personal life or careers. However you wanna answer it.

[00:24:39] Yulianna: Right. so like I said, I, I think I, I kind of alluded to the fact that I don’t see, performance driven achievements as like a metric point, I think for me I’m proud of the fact that I have a lot to be proud of

you know uh, mashAllah. And, and like, of course it took me a lot of time to be able to accept this statement because with imposter syndrome and everything, you know, being a minority, being a female being, yeah, like it’s, it’s pretty difficult to own up to your achievements, but alhamdulillah, I think I really do have a lot to be proud of. And, and I say that in the sense that I live every day intentionally, and I’m proud of that, you know, I wake up and I, I think I focus on two things. I wake up and I think today I’m gonna do something. That’s gonna make a difference. today I’m going to empower others to find their voice. Empowering others doesn’t mean.

I have to do something grand, like, I don’t know, give someone a scholarship yeah, I dunno. But to me, empowering, someone can just be being kind to a stranger that I see, , while I’m out or, , just cheering up a colleague who’s, , doubting herself. You know, I think those are very small things I can do every single day to empower other people.

Yeah. So I think just being able to live intentionally and that’s what I’m really proud of actually.

[00:26:11] Grace: Yeah, totally. Even smiling is a sadiqah. So it’s all these different things.

Marsh.

[00:26:16] Yulianna: So the

[00:26:17] Grace: Yeah. What’s the, you said you woke up with two driving things, so what’s the other.

[00:26:23] Yulianna: first one is to make the world a more inclusive place for everyone.

[00:26:28] Grace: Marsh. I love that focus and I just, I felt so, so happy for you listening that, to have that realization, like still so young and so early in your career mashAllah, it’s really, that’ll take you far inshAllah What’s something that you regret or you that you wish you did differently.

[00:26:47] Yulianna: Well, I, well, I really don’t do well with this. You know, what’s one thing, cause I can never choose one thing

[00:26:53] Grace: Fine.

[00:26:54] Yulianna: but actually, actually I think. I try not to regret anything.

[00:27:01] Grace: Mm

[00:27:01] Yulianna: And I think it’s powered by this single thing. This, this one regret I’ve had in my life. I remember it so clearly. And it was this opportunity to, I think it was like a storytelling competition, drama competition, something like that.

my senior came up to me and said like, Hey, you know the teachers. It would be great , for this opportunity. Do you wanna try it? And, and I was like uh, let me think about it. When I think about it, I, I thought I wasn’t good enough for it. So I said no, and he really tried hard to convince me and said, are you sure?

Like, you know, we all think that you’re the best fit for this. And I was just like, no, And to this day I was 15. Then I think until this day, Still regret that. And so I think that regret is making me, you know, not do anything that I would regret. And thankfully, I don’t think I regretted anything after that.

Yeah. I mean like, like it really taught me a lesson or not to let my self doubt or my fears stop me because, you know, if, if I’m gonna wait until I’m ready, if I’m gonna wait until I’m good enough, honestly, I’m never gonna get anything done.

[00:28:11] Grace: yeah.

Anything that teaches you a lesson, even if it’s a negative experience, whatever, if you learn something from it, it wasn’t wasted. And for that to drive all these different interactions that you have and your mindset going forward, that’s alhamdulillah, a very positive thing. It’s probably more positive than if you had won it and, or, you know, the competition or whatever, because it’s pushed you to do so many

things.

[00:28:33] Yulianna: Right. That’s such an important perspective, I guess, on successes and failures as well. Like I, I mean, I personally see everything as just a learning opportunity. I don’t think I fail or anything. Like if I, if I make the mistake, I can learn from it. I move on and do better next time.

[00:28:49] Grace: It’s all qadr, right? It’s all part of Allah’s plan for us. So there’s nothing that has gone wrong. We’re all going on that path. We’re all, you know, you have to learn and take the lessons along the way,

or you’re gonna go through it again.

[00:29:08] Yulianna: Michelle. . Yes, Michelle.

[00:29:10] Grace: , and and what’s something or someone that you’re most grateful for, Yulianna?

[00:29:15] Yulianna: I am going to broadly say my support system because I, I don’t think there’s any one person, you know, that, that I can point out because really everyone whom I’ve met along my journey has really helped me. Even if it’s an acquaintance who randomly replies to my IG stories and say, Hey, I really enjoyed this.

You know? Or, and I’m, I’m always really. I’m so touched when people do actually reach out to me and say, Hey, your, your work is making a lot of difference. And I think one of the most humbling things that mashAllah people have said to me and continue to say mashAllah is , that this will be a legacy that I’m leaving behind, that this will inspire change for future generations and mashAllah Wow mashAllah.

Like, I mean, who is deserving of that, that kind of praise, but you know again, it’s all, Allah’s Qadr and you know, even if I feel like I’m not up to it, if he thinks I’m up for it, then, okay, let’s go.

[00:30:20] Grace: Let’s go

[00:30:23] Yulianna: Having the lower and, and like, that’s the thing. Like he, he always puts the perfect people at the perfect time to help. And I think that’s, that’s really what has been getting me through.

[00:30:36] Grace: those messages mean so much. I, the people who write those, I don’t think they have any idea how much it touches.

[00:30:43] Yulianna: Exactly.

[00:30:44] Grace: Uh, like there’s been a lot of times, especially in the early days of Tech Sisters where I didn’t really know what I was doing. And it was a lot of, a lot of work because there wasn’t a team.

It was me doing it. And. So there are lots of times where I just like, ah, I’ll just pack it in just one more month and that’s it. And then as soon as I would say that I’d get lots of messages from women saying this is so important to me. I’m so glad that Tech sisters exists and then connecting it to Allah and I’ll be like, oh yeah, he sent those

[00:31:17] Yulianna: Yes. When they make those for you.

[00:31:20] Grace: mm-hmm

[00:31:21] Yulianna: And I think what, what has resonated with me recently is don’t praise me, but make dua for me. Like, I need your to so much more than you praise. Yeah, but, but, but tying back to, to, you know, getting all these nice messages and like being able to see the impact of your work, I think maybe being in tech or being, being in this minority space it can be quite difficult to see the impact of our work because it’s not quantifiable.

It’s not measurable.

Yeah

[00:31:48] Grace: Yeah.

[00:31:49] Yulianna: but alhamdulillah, you know, Allah has his ways. He will definitely show you like, you know, alhamdulillah you’re on the right track. So, so glad to hear about that from you as well.

[00:31:58] Grace: Yeah. A when, when you need it, it’ll be there.

So one last thing, Yulianna, I know that lepak conversations is having their second anniversary soon. Is there anything that you’d like to share about that?

[00:32:13] Yulianna: Yeah, sure. I mean, it’s our very first time holding an in-person event

[00:32:19] Grace: Wow.

[00:32:19] Yulianna: and yeah. mashAllah and I think that’s a really important, , progress , for our team as well, because. We don’t want to stay online or we wanna build real physical communities where people can come together. , exchange stories, learn from one another in a physical space.

So I’m really excited for that to happen. We’re turning to on the 1st of July. I’m not sure how we got here. but yeah, how.

[00:32:46] Grace: Oh, that’s very exciting. I’m really happy that it’s grown so much and that you’re sticking around. And I think those in-person events are gonna be super meaningful. , just based on the conversations that you’re having already. It’s wonderful.

Is there anything else that you’d like to add any uh, advice for anybody who’s kind of going through something similar or just something we haven’t covered?

[00:33:10] Yulianna: I think my important points are always to find a support system. I think for a very long time, I felt very alone. , and having a, a support system really helped to change that. Not only because. You have people who encourage you, who make you feel good, you know, it’s, it’s not about making you feel good, but I think it’s about validating your lived experience, especially as a minority where, you know, you don’t see yourself around, you don’t know if what you’re feeling is true or valid.

yeah, I think just, just. have a support system so that you feel seen as a person so that you can validate your own experiences and own up to your own experiences. Because I think for a very long time, I. Didn’t really, again, I, I think I said this earlier, I didn’t really identify with the minority aspect of my identity, but when I realized that there’s power in leaning to that and sharing my story as a minority, I think that really helped.

that really helped me to create more of a difference to the people around me, as opposed to, you know, kind of ignoring like, I, you know, I, I’m a privileged Muslim woman. My career is fine, you know, I, I don’t need to do anything, but when I lean to do that and, and recognize my lived experiences compared to others, I think that, yeah, that really helped to change a lot of things.

[00:34:29] Grace: Yes, mashAllah I think that’s perfect. And I think that when we start doing that, we start making space for these stories, but like, you’ve definitely seen there’s this hunger to be validated for people who haven’t had that for so long. And then they see somebody being vulnerable and exposing that side of themselves.

And there’s a huge response to that.

[00:34:52] Yulianna: mm-hmm

[00:34:53] Grace: thank you very much Yulianna for coming on here and for sharing your story with us, I really, really love talking to you. ,

[00:34:59] Yulianna: No problem.

I really enjoyed this too. Thank you so much.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Yulianna. Jazakallahu Khair! You can connect with Yulianna and follow her on LinkedIn and follow Lepak Conversations on Instagram.
If you liked this story, be sure to check our other Tech Sisters Stories and get to know the amazing talent we have in our community.

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