Behind the Scenes
Meet the Team: Shirmung Bielefeld, Director of Engineering
December 18, 2019
Shirmung Bielefeld, Glossier’s Director of Engineering, on switching from working in the emergency room to building software, and mentoring the next generation of women in tech.
Over five years since launching, team Glossier is more than 200 people strong (and growing!). Together, and with our community, we’re building the future beauty company from the ground up. We make physical products, of course, but we also build software, manage a global supply chain, design offline experiences, and much more. And we'd like for you to get to know us a little better—what we do, where we come from, and what we're excited about.
Where are you from?
I grew up moving around the Midwest and have lived in New York for over 10 years.
What do you do for Glossier?
I'm a director of engineering on the Technology team. I work closely with our engineering managers and cross-functional partners to set the strategy for the tech organization. I advise and consult on bigger-picture strategies—which involves connecting the dots of the company's vision with engineering. And most importantly, I support the engineering team on the people side of things, which includes the personal and technical development of the individual engineers.
What was your path to working in tech?
I went to school for pre-med and worked in the ER during college. I saw first-hand how broken our healthcare system is and worried I wouldn't be able to meaningfully address that as a physician.
Luckily, I majored in computer science, and when I did my first internship in iOS development, I got hooked on building things that shape the way people use technology. Then I spent some time at Bark and loved the e-commerce aspect—technology that enhances brand and product. Then I joined Glossier a little over a year ago!
What are you most excited to work on?
Put simply: building the best experience to shop for beauty online in the world [laughs].
But to break it down, I'm excited about scaling the e-commerce experience, looking at all the ways we an invent and grow the foundation of our website, and building more robust tools and personalization to make the experience as easy as possible for people. Then the next phase is bigger, more untapped territory—how can we connect customer to customers, digitally? We want to replicate the in-store experience of helping people discover, commune, and connect over beauty, but online.
You are also a member of Women Who Tech. Tell us about that.
Women Who Tech is an employee resource group within Glossier. It's a group of women-identifying individuals who support each other and through professional development, as well as give back to the community. We recently hosted a Girls Who Code event here at our HQ: We brought in middle school- and high school-aged girls, and talked to them about careers, gave them advice, and had a great time.
Why is this important to you?
Historically, engineering and tech has the reputation of being represented in a male-dominated way. Not all the stereotypes are true! I want to encourage women to go after this field, and I want everyone to have a role model.
Any advice for young women who want to pursue a career in tech?
Be persistent, seek out learning opportunities, and find a mentor or community to support you along your journey.
You can also find our Meet The Team series (and much more) on Instagram. Follow along.