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An Introvert’s Reflection on 2024 WE Local Bengaluru

Come along for Eshika Mahajan’s journey at the 2024 WE Local Bengaluru conference and celebrate the quiet strength and subtle influence of introverts making a difference.
An Introvert's Reflection on WE Local Bengaluru 2024
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Pictured: SWE India College Affiliates – SWE IIT Ropar, SWE MIT-Pune, SWE Cummins, SWE CMR IT, SWE KIT Kolhapur Affiliate

Many people in my circle are aware of my love and passion for volunteering. The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has tremendously supported me in my journey to drive change. Whether it’s mentoring young girls or organizing collaborative outreach events, SWE has been very instrumental and supportive for me.

An Introvert's Reflection on WE Local Bengaluru 2024
Happy moments at the 2024 WE Local Bengaluru conference

Every year, I eagerly anticipate the WE Local conference. At WE Local, I have the opportunity to meet and interact with amazing women and allies with whom I collaborate throughout the year. It also gives me a platform to forge fresh relationships and gain novel perspectives by connecting with unfamiliar acquaintances.

If you are an introvert, you know that navigating events like these is never easy! As an introvert, walking into a room full of strangers is like diving into the deep end of the pool — nerve-wracking, strangely exhilarating, and ultimately empowering.

Every room I entered and every conversation I initiated required a deep breath and extensive mental preparation for me to feel comfortable and at ease. I would be lying if I said it was all smooth sailing. There were moments where I felt like a deer caught in headlights, ready to bolt at any second.

However, a moment of pause changed everything. I looked around and noticed a shared excitement and warmth in everyone’s eyes. It dawned on me that we were all traveling in the same boat.

I was encouraged by a smile from a stranger first, followed by a nod of acknowledgment, and then finally a friendly greeting of, “Hey, how are you today?” With these friendly greetings, I gradually eased into the atmosphere. With each step, I grew more receptive to enjoying myself without self-consciousness.

Armed with courage and control over my social anxiety, I marched towards the conference reception and found myself engaged in wonderful conversations with individuals including FY24 SWE President Dr. Alexis McKittrick, Paul Robichaud and Aishwarya Vijay of the SWE India Team, the WE Local India Advisory Board, Dolores Mannella from SWE HQ, and many other familiar faces I’ve worked with before.

After three hours of networking, my introverted nature resurfaced, and I bid farewell to everyone before retreating to my hotel. It was a wonderful evening, and there were two more days of excitement ahead.

An Introvert's Reflection on WE Local Bengaluru 2024
SWE India x SWE Global x Global Ambassadors x SWE Global Women Engineers AG

I was fortunate to have my fellow global ambassador, Suchita Kapoor, by my side. She also happens to be a member of the WE Local India Advisory Board, and as soon as we stepped onto the conference premises, there were people calling her name from every corner.

Any introvert reading this knows that stepping into a space where everyone knows your companion can be overwhelming. My initial instincts caused me to simply stand in a corner, waiting for her to come back. However, I eventually managed to switch on my “introvert with social skills” mode, and I ventured into the main room, texting all my WhatsApp SWE groups and asking, “Where are you guys?”

Thanks to the camaraderie of my fellow global ambassadors, my supportive SWE mentors, and the relationships I forged at last year’s WE Local, I had a solid network of familiar faces to reconnect with from around the world. Throughout the conference, I met so many fellow ambassadors.

I also had the opportunity to hang out with my team from the Global Women Engineers Affinity Group. Finally, I connected with the SWE Delhi Affiliate team and the SWE Global team. Even though I couldn’t muster up the courage to greet everyone at once, I made sure to convey my warm regards to those I missed on the second day of the conference.

An Introvert's Reflection on WE Local Bengaluru 2024
SWE Delhi Affiliate Team x SWE IIT Ropar Affiliate Team

This year’s WE Local conference held special significance for me. In addition to reconnecting with mentors and colleagues I had worked with previously, I expanded my mission of uniting SWE India College Affiliates. Thanks to the SWE team, we were able to host an informal meet and greet with a cohort of marvelous young engineers and bright minds in academia.

On the second day of the conference, I held my first ever in-person talk! Although I spent time on Day 1 networking with my co-host Suchita by my side, I was still a bundle of nerves. Thankfully, a chat with my mentor, Professor Asad H. Sahir, and encouragement from my dear friend Neha Aggarwal, whom I met through SWE, helped calm me. The session was a great success!

We engaged with students and faculty and listened to their experiences with SWE as college affiliates. We also addressed the challenges faced by the faculty and presented the group with inspiring stories of ourselves and industry leaders from organisations including Boston Scientific, GlobalFoundries, Cummins, and Emerson. The event fostered valuable interactions between academia and industry in order to prepare future engineers.

The feedback from the students was fantastic and seeing their excitement and interest made it all worthwhile. I would like to thank the SWE Global Ambassadors team for making it possible for me to attend WE Local as an individual contributor making a difference in students’ lives.

An Introvert's Reflection on WE Local Bengaluru 2024
Eshika Mahajan and Suchita Kapoor speaking at WE Local Bengaluru

As I reflect back on the talk through an introvert’s lens, I won’t lie — I was nervous. But as I scanned the room, I saw the eager faces of students, including the familiar friends who came to support me, and I felt the virtual presence of my support system cheering me on. With their encouragement, I took the stage and delivered the session, feeling a surge of adrenaline.

As an introvert, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the little things, to feel anxious even after doing something a hundred times, and to hesitate to put ourselves out there. But at the end of the day, that introversion also gives us lifelong friends and makes us wise, observant, and empathetic leaders. Through SWE, I’ve polished my introverted nature while also building my skills, expanding my network, and contributing to making a society worth living in.

Here’s to embracing our introverted selves, turning our unique qualities into superpowers, and navigating the world in our own quiet but impactful way.

Author

  • Eshika Mahajan

    Eshika Mahajan is a software engineer at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) with a passion for collaboration and mentorship. As a SWE Global Ambassador and Empowerment Lead of the SWE Global Women Engineers Affinity Group, Eshika is dedicated to uplifting young women and fostering a supportive community. She is open to collaborations and committed to making the world a better place.

  • Thank you for sharing your story! Your tips on how to deal with nerves as an introvert at WELocal is super helpful.

  • Good job!

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