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Self-Actualizing as a Woman in Tech

Diversity
Impact

21 June, 2021

Sneha Singla
Sneha Singla

Director at Salesforce

Sneha Singla, Senior Software Engineering Manager at Salesforce, knows how difficult turbulent times can be for one always looking for their next opportunity to advance.

Problem

As a woman in management, I’ve actually gone from a leadership position back to an IC, later becoming a manager again, all within the same company. My career has been a journey, and not every move has been upward, despite my success.

While I love to develop, stepping downward was a challenging transition to make. It gave me some time to think about my career, however. That’s when it struck me. I could not have somebody else making choices for me like this in my career. I wanted to continue toward this higher calling to leadership.

People have to be motivated by what they do. It has to be an honest conversation. What is the best way for a woman in this industry to take control over her career and her future?

Actions taken

If your team lead or manager is not open about the idea of your growth, that person should be a thing of the past. A manager who is not vested in the growth of every single person on the team just doesn’t work. We are way beyond that culture. We should not just be keeping people here in their zone from nine to five.

Start within your organization and see what kind of impact you can have there. Be confident and take risks. It’s okay if things don’t quite work out. One move upward, laterally, or otherwise, whatever role it is, is still always progress. What excites you about your goal? Ask about openings within your company.

Create a strong linking network. Try talking to those included in it about these opportunities. You will be surprised at how well people will respond to that. If people see that you are curious about the job, they will remember you. We are in this world where we can teach people the technical skills, but we can’t always teach them the behavioral skills of ownership and things like that. This is one way that you can make yourself more valuable in the eyes of those hiring.

I try to create space for myself within my company when looking to branch out professionally. You’re doing one job; maybe you can start shadowing somebody else. Try to find your way into those meetings with all of the right people. Experiment, talk to everybody, and be curious about what you want to do. Do not let what you believe others will perceive to drag you down.

You can also start reading as much as possible about management. I learned a lot of what I know through books, to be honest. They provide an actionable framework on how to improve in key areas as a leader. You tend to gain a full perspective. Books cover all sides of things.

Lessons learned

  • Your career choice is yours to make and yours to navigate. I think this tends to give us much more fulfillment. When the choice is yours, there is a sense of ownership and motivation.
  • Feel free to take risks and to try what works. Experiment, because having an experience and learning about it from somebody else are two totally different things.
  • Building positive culture is crucial for peace of mind and motivation. People should feel charged when they come to work, not depressed and anxious.

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