Leena’s Story

As a professional with almost 20 years of experience, I was not a typical early-career member of STEM-UP’s Leadership Program needing advice for career start. However, being a die-hard lifelong learner, I was excited to be a part of the charter group enrolled in this program. I was correct in joining: the program allowed me to identify my weak areas and to acquire skills I needed. For example –

1.       I learned that it is OK to say a firm NO even when you are in minority.

2.       I learned that in a team, when team members possess not only complimentary skills but even complimentary personalities, it makes a stronger and more successful team.

3.       I learned how to negotiate for myself; I was always great at negotiating for others…

The peer mentor group made me realize that when people question your ability, for whatsoever reason, you should handle it professionally and not take it personally. For the two unprofessional individuals with doubts in your abilities, there are six who are professional and willing to support you.

The best thing I learned was how to manage opposition with patience, professionalism and dignity. It is a life-long achievement for me…

Among many important aspects so critical for a female professional, this program gave me opportunities to speak to other professionals, to map personalities, to set goals, to learn leadership skills, and to strike a work-life balance.

I wish STEM-UP a long lasting presence as far as women and careers are concerned.