One integral concept women need to comprehend is that sometimes, it’s just not the talent we need to excel in life; on some days, we need to demand, take hold and lead of our lives to get what we want.
Sheenam Ohries, Dell believes, “We must groom our men to be more inclusive, we must groom our women to be more demanding of the same. We must continuously look for opportunities to make a difference as an organization”.
Education & Family
Remembering the olds, Sheenam shared that when back in 80’s, when only teaching was considered a suitable profession for women, her parents encouraged her to take up science. As she was good in science and mathematics and engineering was her first career choice.
She grew up in a small town in Thane district, called Ambernath. Her dad was an engineer and mom a homemaker. She has a younger sister who is also an IT professional. Her parents were extremely supportive of their careers.
Thus, she pursued a Bachelors degree in Engineering, Electronics and Communication, from The Bangalore University.
Sheenam has been a part of the corporate world for two decades now. The challenges she faced as women in the IT industry are not prevalent any longer.
She added, “Dell hired 52% women last year from the Universities in India. I do believe the world around us is changing. More girls are inspired to be STEM students, are doing well and getting into corporates to pursue technical careers. It was a different situation when we entered the workforce about 2 decades back”.
Today, organizations are cognizant of the business case for Diversity. They ensure that they have the right policies and guidelines around hiring, retaining and growing such employees.
Though, it would, however, be incorrect, to say that all is well. Subtle biases do exist and the focus of the industry should shift towards inclusivity. “Dell conducts an awesome workshop called MARC (Many Advocating Real Change), that enables our colleagues to understand and explore these subtle nuances. It triggers each individual to look at his and her own set of biases. Be aware of them and therefore change behaviours”.
How to break the glass ceiling and advice to the aspiring women IT professionals?
“Glass ceilings exist for everyone. Women find it more difficult to break them because of their intrinsic nature. I have often experienced that women underplay themselves. They react emotionally to professional situations and don’t apply for leadership roles”.
This kind of conduct adversely affects their career growth. Most of this is a result of societal conditioning, which makes them feel inept for certain roles and responsibilities. Hence, behavioural changes are important. Sheenam advice to all aspiring women to take the lead and believe in themselves:
- Be confident, take charge of your careers.
- Take your career seriously. If you don’t, no one else will want to.
- Listen for non-verbal communication and learn from what you see and hear.
- Ask for feedback, for a promotion or for a change of role. “Ask” is crucial.
- Read and learn continuously
- Remember work is a part of life. Balance is not needed between work & life…..do what generates happiness. Prioritize every day.
- And, most important, Find a mentor within or outside the organization or both. Have multiple mentors.
“At Dell, gender equality is our key focus. We encourage and provide right mentorship to our female employees to help them break the glass ceiling.
In the end, she asks every young girl to ask yourself, “what is your brand today and what would you want it to be in a defined period of time going forward. Understand the gap, build a plan to bridge it and execute the same”.
Can Technology help Breakthrough the Gender Gap?
Sheenam holds that technology has the power to transform the gender disparity, in multiple ways. For example:
- Technology has led to a great degree of simplification. Learning, re-skilling has been made so much easier. Women desirous of restarting their careers can now use several tools and platforms available to learn and adapt.
- The focus of product/solution development has moved from being technology centric to “user” centric. Today’s technology solutions, are personal, need to evolve around the end-user and therefore need the developer to have a high degree of emotional intelligence. This is an area, women are far stronger than men and bring to the table an ability to be intuitive. This leads to apps that are built beautifully, that are intuitive and personalized. Several women professionals are a part of our business intelligence team & mobility teams at Dell because they demonstrate great emotional intelligence quotient and are sensitive towards consumer behaviour patterns. Technology has enabled human progress and made knowledge more accessible thus bridging the gender gap.
- Technology today enables “work from anywhere”. Dell’s connected workplace allows any individual to contribute to the organization sitting at any location across the globe. Connected Workplace, therefore, enables women who need to work remote for defined durations of time to still be contributing and growing their careers.
Moreover, Gender equality is the key focus of Dell’s Diversity & Inclusion initiatives and it has several programs to help women grow in the field of technology. The programs include Leading Women @ Dell, Leading Women @ Dell, Many Advocating Real Change (MARC), The STEM, Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) and Women Powering Business.
Sheenam is a movie buff and loves watching movies with family during the weekends. She is also loves reading and ensures to take some time off every week to read her favourite books. Currently, she is reading Tribal Leadership. Other than movies and books, she takes breaks to travel the world and shop to unwind.
Sheenam’ Journey as the Vice President, Enterprise, Data and Mobility Engineering, Dell Digital
Sheenam joined DELL in 2017 since then the journey has been extremely exciting and exhilarating. She joined Dell to lead the mobility engineering team. At present, in addition to the same, she takes care of the Enterprise Business Intelligence and Analytics teams. Both the technology domains, enable her to learn and grow as a technology leader.
“The opportunity to excel and make a difference presents itself in unique ways every day. Moving the needle towards Digital Transformation is exciting and enriching,” says Sheenam Ohrie.