From its inception, IdentityMind has proudly embraced diversity and made it a fundamental part of our identity. As a company, we aspire to enhance the benefits of working in an inclusive environment. We understand the social importance and the economic benefit of working side-by-side without prejudice or judgment regarding gender, ethnicity, appearance, or spiritual beliefs. While we continue to grow as a provider of risk and compliance solutions, we understand that our successes come from a diversity of ideas and people from culturally and geographically divergent backgrounds.
This March, we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. During this month, on the IdentityMind Blog, we will feature profiles of the women who help make IdentityMind hum. We think these stories will inspire, and give you a glimpse into some of what women can achieve in the tech field.
– Garrett Gafke, Chairman and CEO, IdentityMind
Cynthia Tham | Head of Engineering
Cynthia Tham is the Head of Engineering at IdentityMind. Her team spans the disciplines of software development, quality assurance (QA), documentation, and user experience (UX). Cynthia began working with IdentityMind when there were just seven people on the team. But, she explains, “It was important to me that the company grow while maintaining a flat culture that encourages honesty and teamwork, and we have done that by tenfold.” Cynthia believes that an environment that allows people to “agree to disagree” promotes growth — as long as it does not come from a place of ego. Those on her team know, open discussions are a guiding principle, and they have led to many of our successes in engineering and beyond.
Like many of her peers in tech and at IdentityMind, Cynthia is a global citizen. Born in Myanmar, Cynthia left the country when she was two, spending her formative years in Hong Kong, California, Florida, and Texas; she continues to visit Europe frequently today, as her husband’s family is in Ireland. She says that having experiences of many places with cultural and political differences allows her to be more open-minded, makes her ready to accept new circumstances, and lets her be comfortable with the unknown.
Everyone in her family always expected Cynthia to be a lawyer. As a child, she always enjoyed a good debate — for those who know her, this hasn’t changed. Her earliest career interest was in social work, because people were interesting to her, and because she wanted to be helpful. After a summer interning at a community center, Cynthia realized she would not be able to detach her emotions after witnessing the hardship of the underprivileged public. She later entered UCSD as a chemical engineering major. After quickly realizing she enjoyed programming more than chemistry, Cynthia changed her major, and the rest, she says, is history.
Cynthia likes the software industry because it’s growing rapidly, and, as she says, “The work is always interesting and exciting. I love that I am always learning something new and working with intelligent people.” When it comes to wanting to have the best solution, Cynthia says software engineers are the perfect people to engage with for an honest and healthy debate, where the answers are about so much more than just winning an argument. She’s known among her peers at IdentityMind as a strong proponent for intellectual conversation, which has allowed her to build a strong engineering team. Cynthia has co-authored and lead papers and other publications about the OMG Mobile Agent System Interoperability Facility (MASIF), the SQL Access Group’s Call Level Interface and ISO 9579-1 OSI-RDA Generic Model, Service & Protocol.
With regard to her role at IdentityMind, Cynthia says, “I am a team builder. I believe in the power of the team, and I aim to bring people together who are collaborators with a high work ethic. To those I interview and those who have just joined the team, I say, ‘We hire people with strong work-ethic; you own the outcome and timeliness of your work, but you are never alone.’” Those who work with Cynthia have a lot to say about her warm approach, her sense of camaraderie, and the fact that she listens to her team. “Cynthia has a work ethic that inspires the rest of us, but it’s so much more than that,” says Product Marketing Manager, Cristal Gonzalez, adding, “She has a deep understanding and knowledge of the platform throughout all of its iterations because she’s been here since the beginning. To newcomers, this insight is so valuable.”
When she’s not at IdentityMind, Cynthia likes to dabble in different hobbies, including gardening, crocheting, and carpentry — her most recent accomplishment is a chicken coop. Cynthia lives with her husband, two children, Havanese dog, hamster, and four chickens. “Unfortunately, it’s illegal to own a hedgehog in California, so I’ll have to stop here,” Cynthia jokes. She says she feels blessed to work with the IdentityMind team every day. Those lucky enough to work with Cynthia will tell you: the feeling is mutual.