Meet Mindy Vuong: Spin’s VP of Hardware Operations and Women’s Network Leadership Sponsor
Women’s History Month is a time to honor and celebrate the lives and achievements of the many strong women throughout history who’ve played vital roles in shaping our culture and fighting for gender equality. It’s also a time to tell new stories and reflect on how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go.
To share one of those stories, we turn to Spin’s Vice President of Hardware Operations, Mindy Vuong. Guided by a passion for her craft and bolstered by a strong community of fellow women, Mindy entered a field that she calls “basically, a boy’s club” and has, nevertheless, stayed true to herself and supported others to do the same.
The field of Hardware Operations focuses on planning, sourcing, and manufacturing goods. To hear Mindy talk about what drew her to this work is inspiring: “I love witnessing things come to life, and I’ve always been passionate about how products are made,” she explained. “To see something start as a pencil sketch on a page and materialize over time into a product you can see and touch is pretty amazing to me.”
Mindy joined Spin in 2018, drawn by the opportunity to work with new technology in a growing industry. In her role, she oversees accounts with vendors and suppliers, manages the entirety of the supply chain, and as alluded to earlier, makes our products come to life.
Following her passion hasn’t always been easy, though. She described her early days working in the intense, male-dominated field as an “uphill battle.” When asked what kept her motivated, she said, “I’ve stayed focused by having my own goals and values. People can’t dictate your career. A person should control their own career path and growth.”
One of the functions of gender inequality in corporate settings is that often, unquestioningly, systems and processes are built by men and for men. For instance, in Hardware Operations, the travel demands are rigorous, making it difficult for a woman who might want to have a family to keep pace. And too frequently there’s a culture that discourages challenging or questioning these norms. “The prevailing message is, ‘We’re here to work. We’re here to make the numbers.’” Mindy said. “It’s hard to talk about emotions and feelings or to voice concerns. A lot of women know the status quo is wrong, but they have to comply to survive professionally. Personally, I just knew I couldn’t comply in that way, though. I knew that wasn’t the right path for me.”
For Mindy, following her own path meant finding a company that was actively working on equality and could support her personal needs and goals. At Spin, she’s found that support, largely through her involvement with our Women’s Network, where she serves as one of the leadership sponsors. Given the risks and challenges of singularly speaking up, groups like the Women’s Network serve a vital role in the continued fight to shift the gender paradigm. “It’s so helpful knowing that female peers have gone through similar battles,” she said. “There’s a feeling that we did it together and kept each other strong.”
The group also has a grassroots quality to it. Mindy encourages her fellow network members, at every level, to recognize the power and importance of their voice. “I want to redefine women in leadership,” she says. “Women’s points of view and perspectives need to be heard, especially in decision making, and it doesn’t always have to be from the top down. I’m passionate about making sure we address all the concerns and redefine norms, together.”
Through her career, to her delight, Mindy has seen shifts in the industry and society as a whole. A lot of these shifts come as a result of women who’ve paved the way before her: People like Madam CJ Walker, who was the first female entrepreneur to earn one million dollars; or Abigail Adams, who brought issues of gender equality to the White House in 1797; or Betty Friedan, who formed the National Organization for Women in 1966. Mindy imagines these powerful women, along with so many others, looking down on her.
“Women’s History Month gives us an opportunity to remind ourselves of the battles that have been fought and of the women who paved the way for us,” Mindy shared, in closing. “I’m not the only one. I wish those historical women could live now to witness this. We are reaping the benefits of all the work they’ve done. I’m so glad to see this happening in my lifetime.”
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