a smiling woman
by
Revel HQ
,
September 9, 2021

Meet Revel’s VP of Engineering!

Get to know Alena Dagneau.

I love to travel. I've been an avid traveler since I was 19 and usually go on a trip every quarter.

Name: Alena Dagneau
Location:
Montreal, Canada
Age:
36
Job Title:
VP of Engineering

Can you tell us a little about how you came to Revel and what your job is like?

I found Revel on this lovely platform called elpha.com where women in tech connect. Revel's mission spoke to me and I couldn't resist sending them an email to tell them as much. I kept thinking about how much I wished my mum in Germany could be using Revel to make friends, and meeting with Lisa and Alexa just felt like stars aligned. I've been incredibly happy growing the engineering team to what it is today, improving the product and making it better and better every day for my mum and all of our members. 

My day-to-day is split into engineering work; building features and products for our members and management work; mentoring and coaching my team to be better engineers every day. I love this balance and am a strong advocate for a remote-first/live anywhere you want company while building on a community-based platform that helps women around the world connect. 

How many people work on your team? 

Currently there are 5 full time engineers on the team. We have 2 women, 2 men and 1 non-binary member. 

Where are you all located? 

We're spread out across the US (CA, FL, WA, VA), Canada and the Netherlands. Remote work is a wonderful way of balancing one's work and personal life. We had one engineer work from the road earlier this year for 6 weeks while they were exploring some states in the US. I also like to take a couple of 6-8 week trips per year abroad and just work from my chosen location (the last one was in Australia!) Coupled with our flexible unlimited time-off policy, our team members are happy to live their life the way they want it and still have the security to connect with each other via Zoom or during off-sites, when the whole company gets together.  

Are there any particular challenges of building tech for an older user? If so, what are they?

There are for sure interesting technical challenges that have to be accounted for. We place great emphasis on the user experience and do a lot of user testing with our users to ensure that our designs are vetted with real members before we even build the feature. Accessibility is also an area that gets assessed for every single release to ensure that users with screen readers or impaired vision can use our site without issues. There's always more that needs to be done of course but this is what keeps us on our toes and the work interesting. One lesson I've learned since starting at Revel is that what I or even the team think works, often doesn't when put in front of an older user. That's why testing each and every one of our features and improving on them iteratively is so important to us.  

Have you learned anything new about women since working at Revel?

We are brutally honest but it most often comes from a place of kindness. We collect a lot of feedback through several avenues and feedback can be very direct but it always comes from a place of wanting to improve Revel for themselves and the whole community. 

What do you like to do when you are not working?

I love to travel. I've been an avid traveler since I was 19 and usually go on a trip every quarter. The pandemic has obviously complicated this but, I've started to travel more domestically to make up for it. I've been to over 80 countries by now and have lived in many. I'm Russian/German and my ancestors have travelled great distances, so it feels almost genetic that I have to travel. When I'm not traveling, I love all kinds of sports and reading books in most genres.

Last Google search?

Chonks (someone named their dog and I wanted to know what it comes from 🤣 )

Favorite thing about yourself?

Determination. I don't give up easily and like to always solve a problem / find a solution. 

What tech company (besides Revel) do you most admire, and why?

Airbnb. Their technical expertise is widely admired in my industry and their UI design is so beautiful that I find it hard not to use them as a beacon of reference.


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