Written By: Tara Ruff, India-West
MILPITAS, Calif. — Employees from SanDisk Inc. came out to support the Indian Business and Professional Women’s “Aspire. Inspire. Achieve” event here May 29, whose main purpose was to raise awareness for gender equality in the work force and to encourage young girls to step up and pursue careers in technology and business.
Deepka Lalwani, Indian American president and founder of IBPW, told the audience, “The mission was and is to educate and empower women by networking and mentoring.”
Co-program director and Women’s Innovation Network president Nithya Ruff began the afternoon with a fireside chat with the first keynote speaker of the afternoon, Ken Coleman, chairman of big data analytics firm Saama, on increasing diversity in the Silicon Valley, particularly in attracting more women to the tech companies. “The company you work for is not doing you a favor; you are doing them a favor. You have to believe that in your heart. You have to believe in yourself and not be afraid to speak up,” he noted.
Monica Kumar, senior director of product marketing at Oracle, later introduced the second keynote speaker of the afternoon, Nandini Ramani, vice president of engineering at Twitter.
Ramani talked about her perspective on “Leveling the Playing Field” and how both diversity and gender equality play important roles. She shared her path to success and told the audience members to never forget to “encourage the next generation of people and even yourselves. It’s never too late to learn.”
Ramani advised the audience to take risks and to embrace the fact that though women are different from men, they are equally as powerful.
Following a short break, the afternoon transitioned into a panel discussion featuring Dr. Aarti Srinivasan, head of SanDisk Training and Development; Shweta Miglani, and Excel Test managing director Rakhi Israni, who discussed what creating and redefining success, happiness and well-being meant to them.
Urvashi Sheth, senior director of worldwide customer support for SanDisk, the last speaker of the afternoon, spoke of her personal journey and shared many tips for being strong and how to be the best you can be at what you do.
Sheth posed an important question when she said, “Realize your own potential. How can your boss see [your potential] if you can’t see it yourself?”
She indicated that being different is wonderful because every person has something unique and distinct to offer.
“I think that mindset of being true to ourselves, regardless of gender, and following the passion that we have is a very important message that a lot of women really need to internalize because they are many times afraid to being true to themselves,” Orna Sarfaty, vice president of HR at SanDisk, said. “Raising that awareness with women is going to take us a long way.”
The event ended with the audience members participating in a brainstorming exercise on the best ways to create a STEM pipeline for girls, with many of the ideas to be acted on by IBPW and SanDisk’s Women’s Innovation Network.
Source: India-West – http://www.indiawest.com/news/business/sandisk-partners-with-ibpw-to-promote-diversity-gender-equality/article_622cdb5e-1077-11e5-8998-2b1a2578a144.html