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Life at Canva

Jade lifts the lid on engineering and leadership at Canva - part 1

Written by Canva

As part of our Women in Leadership blog series, Dani Brodie, Talent Brand Partner, sat down with Jade Loyzaga, Engineering Director and the Group Engineering Lead, to chat all things engineering and leadership.

Dani: Ok Jade, let’s jump right in - what's your role and who’s in your team?

Jade: I’m an Engineering Director and the Group Engineering Lead for the Editing group. It’s a collection of 13 teams, made up of over 140 Canvanauts, 120 of which are engineers, that sits inside the Design Experience supergroup. At Canva, we have supergroups, which are collections of smaller groups who focus on different areas, but who are all ultimately working together on the same mission, to empower the world to design. My group focuses on the main editing experience that Canva is so well known for.

Jade: After I started there was a conversation to explore expanding my remit and I was asked how much more scope I wanted to take on. I joined the Canva Docs project and then the AI side of the group as well - we’ve also worked on other products in our suite, like Canva Whiteboards. When I joined, I was leading a much smaller team, our group was only 40 people.

 

Jade and her team celebrating the launch of Canva Whiteboards


Dani: Since I've known you, your space has just continued to grow and grow! Which is a huge reflection of your skills and capability as a leader.

Dani: And I know this of course, but for readers, where were you before Canva?

Jade: I was previously a Team Engineering Lead at Twitter, working on conversations and creation, which meant that I helped take care of tweets and direct messaging. Very product-focused, similar to what I’m working on now.

Dani: What's been different about working at Canva from what you expected?

Jade: There weren’t really any surprises because the recruiters and interviewers did a great job of preparing me for it. It was a very honest conversation about what it’s like to work at Canva, and I was super excited to join. It was over two years ago now and Canva was a third of the size of where it is now. There was more of what you’d expect from a hyper-growth organisation, we were still working on our foundations and ways of working as we were rapidly scaling. There was so much opportunity for growth in building the product and so many things we wanted to explore.

So everyone did a really good job of being like, ‘Get ready to jump into some meaty challenges!’ and I saw that as an opportunity to grow myself through that. It’s such an accelerator for your personal and career growth.

Jade

Jade: Things are stabilising now that we've launched our Visual Suite - but we hadn’t yet back when I started at Canva. We were just starting to crack the surface of some of our biggest products yet. So everyone did a really good job of being like, ‘Get ready to jump into some meaty challenges!’ and I saw that as an opportunity to grow myself through that. It’s such an accelerator for your personal and career growth. I've gone from a very reasonably sized group of 40 people to this hugely critical part of the business now.

Dani: Thank you for sharing that. I think what we want people to know about Canva is that our unique, fast-paced environment isn’t for everyone and that’s ok, but if you’re up for solving some really interesting and complex challenges for our community, it can be career-defining.

There really is no better time to join Canva. We’re looking for leaders who want to lead in service of their teams and the problems we’re trying to solve.

Jade

Jade: That’s right and what I’ve always said about leadership at Canva is not every role is the same. The team size and the technology might be the same, but the goals and challenges that each team are solving are different. Leadership at Canva is about having the skills and confidence to lead teams through achieving huge goals. And most of our opportunities as leaders are about scaling the output of teams, delivering impact through ambiguity and helping teams to move from chaos to clarity.

 

Jade on a shoot at our Sydney campus

Leadership at Canva is about having the skills and confidence to lead teams through achieving huge goals. And most of our opportunities as leaders are about scaling the output of teams, delivering impact through ambiguity and helping teams to move from chaos to clarity.

Jade

Dani: And that's another thing - we talk about impact so much at Canva. The flip side of having an outsized impact is that there’s a need for us all to stretch ourselves and grow in different ways.

Jade: That’s right, operating at this scale and working in sustainable ways to achieve the growth of the business is the new challenge that all our teams are facing at Canva. But things show no sign of slowing down as we double down on empowering workplaces through enterprise use of Canva. Our advantage is our velocity. Some organisations have more resources than us, but often, that’s what holds them back - they’re not as scrappy as we are. Our teams are lean but mighty.

Dani: What would you say to someone considering a role like yours at Canva?

Jade: There really is no better time to join Canva. We are looking for leaders who want to lead in service of their teams and the problems we’re trying to solve. We need people who are really focused on growing others to bring our ambitious mission to life and realise our longer-term company goals.

See yourself designing your career at Canva? Check out our open roles.