Saumya Bhalerao, Proposals Engineer UK & I, Emerson | SWE Global Ambassador
WE Local is a one-of-a-kind conference that provides a platform for women engineers to come together, share, learn, and grow together. The conference agenda had something for everyone – technical and non-technical sessions, a career fair, the networking lounge, and my favorite – the Speed Mentoring Session.
We aspire to make our mark, progress, and succeed in our career journeys, but we face many challenges. To overcome these impediments, we could use guidance and advice from someone who can understand our circumstances, who has probably faced similar challenges themselves, and who can empathize with our situation. The Speed Mentoring session did an excellent job of mapping the mentors with mentees, connecting those who wanted advice in a particular field with those who had previous experience in that field. Therefore, the mentors could quickly correlate with the problem statement and suggest a relevant and useful solution.
The Speed Mentoring session, thus, provided an opportunity for participants to not only contribute by imparting their valuable knowledge but also gain sound advice from mentors. To get the best of both worlds, I registered as both a mentor and a mentee, thankful to the amazing event organizers who facilitated this dual option. As a mentor, I was able to use my diverse experience to provide insights on challenges faced by mentees. As a mentee, I was able to seek the mentor’s advice on my professional dilemmas. The event was organized very well, resulting in a smooth transition between the roles. As a participant, I enjoyed these experiences immensely, and I am already looking forward to next year’s WE Local Bengaluru.
Jisha Bhattacharjee, Hydrogen Strategy, Americas, ExxonMobil | SWE Global Ambassador
The WE Local Bengaluru conference this year was much awaited. Congratulations to the SWE team for having the courage to take on the task of organizing another virtual conference with a much larger reach. The team has outdone itself this year! This was my second time as a SWE conference speaker, and it reaped twice the benefits.
The theme of my session was “Beating the Analysis Paralysis”. I wanted to shed light on the in-decision that technology has brought into our lives and how it paralyzes growth in various aspects of personal and professional domains. Through the session I shared personal experiences and tips and tricks to manage time better and break free from the vicious cycle of analysis paralysis. Nearly 530 people attended the session from across the globe. There are hardly any other platforms that can bring you such a huge audience. SWE looks for new, relatable ideas and lets us share irrespective of professional background, organizational affiliation, and years of experience.
My key takeaways from the conference as a speaker and attendee were:
- Embrace feedback as there’s always room for improvement
- Have courage and own a perspective. You’ll either find support for or enable refinement of your opinion
The session helped me improve as a presenter in terms of content curation and delivery during the preparation period and through the feedback received post-conference from attendees. It was also a platform to meet and share with like-minded professionals and learn through candid exchanges both during and post the conference. It was encouraging to see people concur on the concepts that I shared. We sometimes hesitate to express opinions due to the fear of judgement. The sessions helped me understand and appreciate that if you don’t express yourself, you’ll never know how opinions are received, so take the risk and write an abstract!
For the next year I look forward to an in-person attendance and to network with extraordinary women across industries. Session hopping, though much easier on a virtual platform, has a different charm when it means meeting new people on the way.
Farina Kidwai, Associate Director, CRM Dynamics | SWE Affiliate Leader
SWE Conference: A Class Apart
“There’s a power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice.” ~Michelle Obama
This quote figuratively sums up my experience of attending the 2022 WE Local Bengaluru conference. It started with a thought-provoking keynote by Supria Dhanda who talked about how modern search engines come up with very few female inventors and scientists when a respective category is searched. She stressed on the fact that there is so much that still needs to be done for female empowerment, and it needs to start with us empowering ourselves. We are the ones who must add rungs to that ladder which leads to the top.
Other insightful sessions:
- “Leveraging the Power of a LinkedIn Profile for Your Professional Gains” by Nancy Goel who provided smart tips on professionally strengthening a LinkedIn profile.
- “Be Audible at the Workplace: Analyze, Strategize, Get Your Ideas Selected” by Saumya Bhalerao which provided practical insights on pitching ideas for selection.
- “The Future of Work” by Dr. Rohini Srivathsa which was a well-researched presentation on how companies could work on proceeding with a hybrid work environment.
- “Success, Choices and the Wheel of Life” by Aparna Devagiri which was an eye opener with regards to goals in life, and yes, the fact that there are multiple goals, not a single goal which we prefer to work on.
During each session, the attendees could perceive a sense of optimism and professional positivity in the way the speakers interacted. The SWE platform gave a voice to even sensitive topics like hormones, chronic illness, and neuro diversity. We chatted with leaders, survivors, fighters, and their strength
made us look up to them in amazement. Each session had learning touch points and many of them provided practical tips for career development while others provided life’s valuable lessons. A salute to the organizers for their well-coordinated efforts in putting together such a fantastic event.
SWE’s conference might be offline or online, but the experience of it remains – A Class Apart.