“Empowerment is something that comes from within and not something that someone can force into you.”
Ninjacart’s Women in Tech conference kicked off with these opening remarks. ‘Women in Tech’, which took place on 15th October 2022 was one of the most celebrated events for the organization. Aiming to celebrate women and promote gender diversity in the world of tech, this event brought together some of the most notable faces in the industry to discuss a variety of interesting topics. The event witnessed near about 30+ participants from companies like Atlassian, Swiggy, Disney+Hostar, Dunzo, etc.
Firstly, we had Sowmya Dhandapani, Ex-Senior Director of Engineering at Ninjacart, welcome the participants to the event and explain the purpose of the event, which is to support and empower women working in the technology industry and emphasize the role of women in the technology field. In her welcome note, Sowmya also shared her journey into engineering and how she had managed to make a career as a tech leader.
What does it take to be a woman leader?
The first speaker for the event was Sonia Parandekar, the Head of Engineering at Atlassian. She has worked for notable companies like Urban Ladder, Microsoft Wing, and so on throughout her 15-year career.
Sonia spoke on the topic of ‘What it takes to be a woman leader?’. To be a great leader, she emphasized the importance of making decisions and experiencing failure, both on the journey and at the end.
“Nobody makes the right decisions all the time. But being decisive is important.” – Sonia said.
Sonia discussed the importance of helping juniors grow and help them climb the ladder of success. In addition to helping them learn, one should respect each other’s credibility. Additionally, Sonia shared her own life journey, where she discussed her shift from Seattle to India and how she set up Atlassian’s Indian base alone. As a good leader, she reminded the participants that they need to be the architect of their own careers and that credibility is more important than being liked by all.
Here’s a snippet of her session
How to break the glass ceiling in the product world?
Akanksha Kumari, the Head of Product for Dunzo, was our second speaker. With 12 years of experience, she has worked for great companies like Cognizant, Zynga, etc.
Akanksha began her talk by sharing her career journey, along the lines of how she spent a great long time in the gaming industry. Her thirst to do something out of the box, made her explore various industries, and that’s how she landed up at Dunzo as the Lead Product Manager at first and later went ahead to become the Head of Product. Akanksha started off with a stunning presentation that explained what a glass ceiling for women exactly meant. She pointed out several examples of a glass ceiling, i.e, being passed a promotion, being excluded from important discussions (on the pretext of you being a woman and missing out on opportunities if someone is pregnant or looking forward to settling down, and so on.
Moving forward, she also shared her thoughts on how women can win despite the glass ceiling – firstly by communicating the need for any help when they do, establishing processes to lead, etc. Akanksha also spoke on the importance of equal partnership in a relationship and the big role it plays in the growth of two individuals. Lastly, she concluded by fixing the quote, ‘Behind every successful man, there is a woman’ to ‘Behind every success story there is a supporting and inspiring partner.
Here’s a snippet of her session
The Fireside Chat
Lastly, it was the fireside chat which began with a bang. With Praseed Prasannan (Associate VP, Product – Ninjacart) as the moderator, the fire-side chat witnessed the participation of almost all the women on the floor, who went ahead to share their thoughts on various topics like the gender shift in organizations (now vs. then), spike in the number of women in tech, hiring drop off and so on. Ishu Jain (Head of Central Analytics – Swiggy), Sarika Atri (Principle Engineer – Disney+Hotstar), etc. were some of the distinguished voices throughout the discussion.
The gathering of ‘Women in Tech’ witnessed a wide variety of discussions and served as a holistic learning platform for all the participants. The energy and enthusiasm showcased by all the women enthralled on the floor. We were glad to see the zeal and boldness that each of them showed while sharing details about their life, struggles, and how they did they come so long in their journey up until now. Ninjacart has always been a gender-neutral organization and putting together such an event was a big joy for us. The event was not only helpful for the participants but also even more helpful for us as an employer, to understand more about the issues that women have faced and how we can serve as an aid to solve them. This definitely was the first-of-a-kind event, but we ensure there would be more in the future.
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