Continuing our series of ‘9 questions with Women in Tech,’ our spotlight appears on Shaista Ahmed, Regional Channel Leader – METI at Nutanix.
What inspired you to pursue a career in technology?
I have learned that building strong relationships with people and working hard can get you anywhere. When I first started in the tech field, I took it as a challenge to be different, and I wanted to prove to myself and those around me that, no matter what, you can never take “no” for an answer. Keep turning up, and things will change and you will be successful.
How have you dealt with challenges throughout your career?
Having a great career is never easy especially for women, as we have so many different pressures from society, family, work etc. We need to strike a balance while we try to balance all these different aspects. I have come to believe that each one of us is very unique with a personal call, the key is to identify what you love and have the courage to pursue that. Being successful is a process you need to enjoy the journey and the learning you get along the way. Every failure will equip you to handle challenges in a much more efficient way and eventually, success will follow.
How do gender balance and a diverse workforce contribute to the success of an organization?
This is a very important aspect of a work environment today and as we can see most organizations have specific initiatives to drive diversity and inclusion within their workplace. The only way to ensure that there is success and growth within the companies is by being inclusive, of other cultures, genders, ethnicities, thoughts and ideas this will be the key differentiator moving forward to create the attraction and belonging to retain and attract good talent.
Do you have a female role model? If so, who is she and how has she inspired you?
Oprah Winfrey, as she was one of the first ones to advocate breaking the barrier of bias.
What is it about your work that excites you?
The endless possibilities of learning something new every day, meeting and working with people from all walks of life, trying to be a better version of myself by adapting and implementing small changes every day, and making a difference to the organization and the people I work with.
With technology moving so fast, how do you remain updated?
This is a tough one; ideally, it is by meeting people in the IT industry, but in the current situation (covid), it is not easy, so reading really helps. If you don’t have time to read books or blogs, social media also has a good amount of information on what is new, market trends, and so on.
What’s your favorite motivational quote?
A winner is a dreamer who never gives up – Nelson Mandela
Among all the gadgets you use, which is your favorite?
My phone, I love the idea of having everything at my fingertips.
When it comes to progressing in a leadership role, what are the most important traits? Can you give one piece of advice to young females who are considering careers in tech?
Most of us rely on labels to make sense of our work and to feel safe, but the danger is in relying on labels to define who we are. It happens when the title ends (job loss, career change, changing relationships, kids growing up), you are left with the feeling that you are nothing; you are giving away your value to things outside of you, things over which you have little or no control.
While all of these things may appear to be the most important aspects of your life today, it is critical that you discover who you truly are and develop a self-identity, as well as work on your strengths and the uniqueness you bring as an individual. Jobs and titles will come and go, but your self-worth will last forever. This is crucial if you want to be happy and successful and wish the same for those around you. Remember that it all starts with yourself.