March 31, 2022

Graduate to leadership: How Deputy promotes women in design

Women in design

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Lisi Schappi has worked at Deputy for more than 10 years. She joined in 2012 to help design their first mobile app, flash forward to 2022 and she now heads up a global team of 25 passionate product designers, brand designers and researchers. Here she explains how Deputy empowers its employees – whatever stage of their career – and encourages them to progress to the top.

Investing in relationships and people   

When Lisi started at the company, there were just 12 people. Deputy’s CEO and co-founder Ashik Ahmed “immediately brought the team into his vision,” sharing his passion for making shift-work simple for both business owners and shift workers. Helping others thrive in their careers is not just an outward-facing aim for Deputy though. Early on, Lisi was given a career-defining opportunity:

Women in design

“Shortly after I joined, I was fortunate enough to be sent by Deputy to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. I was incredibly grateful for this investment in my growth, given we were such a small start-up. I came away from that conference inspired and motivated to make some pretty significant changes to our mobile app experiences. After this moment, I felt heard, trusted and empowered to lead design.”

“Leading with love and authenticity”

After a few years at Deputy, Lisi was tasked with expanding the Design team. Like many of us when we step into a new and challenging role, at times Lisi says she felt as though: “I had no idea what I was doing!” But with the right support and feedback she has grown into her responsibilities and successfully developed her own style of leadership. 

“Leadership is an ongoing journey and I’m always learning. Making mistakes, having to pivot, listening to feedback and ideas is vital to both my and my team’s growth. These experiences have helped shape how I choose to lead today – with love and authenticity.”

As we have all probably experienced in our own working life, a company’s ethos can often be felt directed from the top down – for good or bad. At Deputy there’s an impressive level of team engagement, demonstrative of the entire executive team’s passion for creating an inclusive, supportive workplace:

“Our team engagement is 94% and this is a testament to the fact that we have compassionate and inspiring team leaders. They’re building out strong disciplines, leading with integrity, helping us work better with other departments – and because of this, our brand and product experiences are working towards being world-class.”

Lisi knows that as a leader, your actions, words and even mistakes can have a direct and immediate impact on others. For Lisi this is the most challenging part of being a leader and so, even when she’s had to lead through tough times she always aims to do so “with love.” 

Collaboration is the key to success

As a small start-up back in 2012, Lisi saw from day one that Deputy was “a company that thrived on collaborating closely with each other” to “solve problems and create elegant product experiences.” Those early values “around teamwork” are ones Lisi says are “still evident today” – and one of the many reasons she has stayed with the company for as long as she has. 

Whether it’s working on a design strategy together, pulling customer insights from interviews, participating in creative workshops, running a team retrospective, or working closely with her product and marketing peers to ensure they’re “creating exceptional product and brand experiences for customers,” Lisi loves collaborating with others. Recently, Lisi and her team worked together to hold a free, virtual design conference, Shifting Design. With more than 20 speakers, 7 panels and over 1,000 people attending throughout the week from around the world, Lisi says:

women in design

“I was blown away by the enthusiasm and love from the design community. I’m so proud of how we all worked in sync to create an event that inspired others, encouraged vulnerability and connection, and ultimately celebrated the design community and the impact design is having on the future of tech.”

Deputy truly believes community is important, and makes social activities a priority, including virtual trivia, terrarium-making classes, and in-person picnics!

Find out more about the benefits of working at Deputy.

Always evolving

Another reason Lisi remains at Deputy is because she continues to “grow and learn and be challenged.” In part, this is due to the ever-evolving and exciting experience of working at a start-up:

“Being part of a hyper-growth start-up, sometimes you feel like you’re part of a different company every couple of years, so you’re naturally trying new things and constantly challenged.”

But it’s not just the company that has evolved. Lisi feels that Deputy has “always championed” her career and personal growth, continually encouraging her to succeed. As a high-schooler, Lisi says she was often shy and “more of an introvert,” but now her confidence has grown so much. Although her success to date has not been without its challenges, she sees these too as opportunities for personal development:

“I’ve learned not to fear mistakes and just try things because no matter the outcome it’s a learning experience.”

Final words of advice?

When it comes to your career, whether you’re just starting out as a recent graduate or are further up the ladder, Lisi reminds us that it’s important to find a company that aligns with your personal values and goals. And then, to just enjoy the ride!

women in design

“Be true to your authentic self, always lead with love, don’t be afraid to try new things – and just go for it! You’ve got nothing to lose!”


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About the Author
Jacynta Clayton’s career started in recruitment advertising and employer branding, working with global clients to create and deploy strategic and creative content. Now she combines her industry experience with the knowledge from her psychology and professional writing degrees to write unique and resounding stories. As a WORK180 storyteller she relishes the opportunity to elevate the voices and experiences of so many amazing people, while also empowering and educating audiences on how to choose a workplace where they can thrive.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job. Check out the latest job vacancies with Deputy