Q&A with Nimble Leaders in Honor of International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s theme, “Be Bold for Change,” is focused on helping women advance and unleash the unlimited potential offered by the global economy.
As part of our celebrations for International Women’s Day, we spoke to three leaders at Nimble to get their views on women in technology – Anupama Kirpekar, VP, managing the InfoSight Engineering Team, Asha Ramakrishna, director of Engineering and Rochna Dhand, director of Product Management.
Q. What made you decide to work in tech?
Rochna Dhand. At ten or eleven years of age, I realized that I wanted to be financially independent. Growing up at that time in India didn’t present a lot of career opportunities for women – you either chose medicine or technology. While my family has always been very loving and supportive, I found out later they thought I wouldn’t succeed in tech, because there were so many odds against me.
Asha Ramakrishna. I came from a family of engineers, so the motivation came from my father. I enjoy analytical thinking and finding exciting solutions to big problems.
Anupama Kirpekar. I moved into computer science because it’s where all of the exciting work happens and it continues to be a key enabler for the future. Computer science gives you a foundation to work across many different domains and industries, instead of being restricted by a vertical career path.
Q. What’s your view on the opportunity for women in tech?
Asha Ramakrishna. There are lots of opportunities for hardworking, determined women in tech. I feel fortunate to be working in Silicon Valley. As a parent, I am more aware of the gender divide in schools and am concerned that there are not enough girls enrolling in STEM programs. That aspect hasn’t changed much from twenty years ago and it concerns me.
Rochna Dhand. Women have made great strides in tech. Bias against women is less overt now but it’s still there. It’s our duty to recognize and challenge our own personal biases. There’s still a lot of work to do but I think leaders are recognizing that open mindedness is a must for organizations. In the future, perhaps my daughter will be thankful for the doors that we opened.
Q. What career advice would you give to other women interested in tech?
Rochna Dhand. Tech is a great place to be and it’s worth the hard work. In tech, the gender gap is larger than other industries, so it’s important to stay proactive and confident:
- Find a female mentor. You’d be surprised how many female executives are willing to help if you ask. Be honest and open about your professional goals.
- Understand diversity. Read up on the latest research about how men and women behave differently at work. Seek out companies and leaders that value diversity.
- Think early on about work-life balance. Almost all women I know face the dilemma of balancing their personal life with a career. A healthy personal life is vital to your success and requires open and ongoing collaboration with the important people in your life.
Asha Ramakrishna. As women, we tend to play multiple roles in the lives of others, so remember to make yourself a top priority on a regular basis. Other tips include:
- Know that meritocracy works. Don’t be intimidated by the ratio of men to women in tech. Ignore gender lines and try to understand each person you work with at an individual level. Let your work speak for you, not your gender.
- Believe in yourself. If you have an opinion, speak up. At the same time, if you don’t know something, admit it. Ask questions, work hard and always take time to learn what you don’t understand.
- Use your soft skills to connect with people. Find out what motivates the people around you and understand what their hot buttons are. This will help you build effective relationships with your colleagues and can greatly improve your work life.
Q. What do you like most about working at Nimble?
Anupama Kirpekar. At Nimble, we aren’t happy to settle for the status quo and constantly push ourselves to innovate. We hold each other accountable for our work. At the same time, if you need to leave early to pick up your kids, no one will raise an eyebrow because we are truly a merit-based culture.
Asha Ramakrishna. During my job interviews, I found that every single person sincerely wanted to learn about my experience and understand what I could do differently to contribute to the organization. What keeps me here is that it feels like family. I don’t have to drag myself to work and I am able to dynamically balance my personal and work priorities.
Rochna Dhand. What inspires me the most is working with smart people and knowing that together we can go places. What I didn’t expect when I came to Nimble was how down-to-earth and respectful the people are. After five years, this still keeps me motivated. I’m free to challenge the status quo and look at things differently. We’re focused on solving problems, not on worrying about labels or politics.
To learn more about Women’s Day, go to: https://www.internationalwomensday.com.
- Noel Bilodeau