From Follower to Leader: Charting Career Paths with Namrata Kulkarni
Namrata Kulkarni used to be a follower.
As the youngest sibling in a big family, she often just went along with what everyone else wanted to do. "As a kid, I was always following my elders; I could never decide what I wanted in my career," says Namrata.
Namrata is currently the Senior Engineering Manager at MINDBODY, located in their India office, and as you may have guessed from her title—and the fact that she's being profiled on a career site—she has since figured out what she wanted and has gone and got it.
We sat down with Namrata to talk about her career, including how she transitioned back to work and into leadership after taking time off to care for her family, as well as how her work at MINDBODY and her work with the Pune chapter of Girls Who Code have both focused on lifting up women and helping them achieve their goals.
Learning to lead
Many of Namrata's siblings and cousins studied engineering, so when she went to university, that's what she did, too. While she focused on civil engineering, she took a few computer science classes, too, and that's where she started to come into her own: "As I started learning coding languages, I started having my own opinions and my own views," she says.
After her studies, Namrata worked as a software engineer for several years, working with both startups and more established organizations. Several years into her career, she gave birth to her son, who was born prematurely and spent some time in the hospital. She ended up taking three and a half years off to care for him and be with her family.
When she wanted to return to her career, she realized she was a bit behind. "When you actually leave your career, you don't keep yourself up-to-date with skills," says Namrata. "I struggled a lot at first and focused on just gathering all the information. There are a lot of online resources nowadays, so it's not required to go out and find a mentor," she says. After focusing on upskilling herself and catching up, she got a job as an ASP.NET trainer working with the open-source Microsoft-backed web framework.
Then she found out about an opportunity and MINDBODY and applied.
As she progressed throughout the interview process and eventually accepted an offer, she was initially nervous about having to do a three-week training at MINDBODY's California headquarters. She wasn't sure she could leave her family.
"I asked myself, 'Should I step back here?' I didn't want to travel. But for so many women, that's where we step back — we don't want to leave our family," she says. She couldn't pass up the opportunity, though: "I realized I could do it. My family and my husband were very supportive of my working," says Namrata.
After her training—which went well, despite her reservations—she stayed at MINDBODY, and over the last five years she has grown into an important role.
"I've always wanted a position to keep myself connected with upcoming skills and technology, as well as work with leadership. Engineering manager is a perfect role for me," says Namrata. "I know the language [of the engineers] and understand the challenges they are facing, and I am also able to put that to the leadership team."
Her experience at MINDBODY has only confirmed that she made a good choice in pursuing the opportunity there. "[MINDBODY's] mission of wellness is completely aligned with my personal mission. And when you are working something which is completely aligned with your personal mission, you can give your heart completely to it," says Namrata.
Paving the way for other women
Namrata first learned about Women Who Code, a nonprofit focused on inspiring women to excel in technology careers, from Regina Wallace-Jones, an SVP at MINDBODY who is also the mayor of the city of East Palo Alto. "[Regina] is kind of a role model for me," says Namrata. "I always wonder how she gets so much energy to manage so many things at one time!"
Namrata hadn't previously heard about Women Who Code, but her own experience of trying to restart her career helped her to immediately identify with their mission. "I loved the concept and wanted to be a part of it," she says. She connected with the group and helped start a local Pune chapter that now hosts monthly events for women at all levels of their career.
"When you start your career, you'll see a lot of women. Lots of beginners come and join our events. But when your career advances, there are way less participants. A lot of women leave and don't come back," she says. "There's a lack of mentorship we see everywhere."
To address that problem, Namrata and her team kicked off a quarterly leadership series focused on encouraging women to become leaders in their organizations and helping them to connect and encourage each other. They run public speaking workshops, technical classes, and social events to facilitate connection.
Namrata says that her work with Women Who Code has helped her to be a more inclusive leader at MINDBODY. "It gives me a lot of insight on what women are feeling and what kind of challenges they face," she says. She's started an India-branch version of MINDBODY's Women in Technology employee resource group and has addressed leadership gaps on her own team.
"There's this idea that women are supposed to take care of children and the household. But women can break that mindset. It's not just your responsibility to keep all of the household work. It's okay to delegate that responsibility or give it to your partner," she says. She helps women at work figure out what is right for their career goals and runs feedback sessions in small groups to help them build confidence. Namrata highlights MINDBODY's flexible working hours policy—something that existed pre-COVID but has certainly been extra-appreciated now—as a boon to helping women figure out how to balance family and career progression.
To women outside of her sphere of influence, Namrata offers the following advice: "Stay focused. Know your goals. Even if you are out of the workplace, stay focused in technology and keep growing yourself professionally."
She recognizes that women have the impulse to "take care of everyone," and encourages women to do that by taking care of themselves, too.
How MINDBODY takes care of their employees
"Mindbody believes in creating an inclusive and diverse culture, where everyone feels valued and has a sense of belonging. We feel that this is foundational to build an inspired team, amazing products, and delighted customers," says Namrata, who shared with us the following initiatives sponsored by MINDBODY:
- EDI Office Advocates, who help promote EDI activities across all offices, arrange local events, and seek to increase awareness of EDI.
- Regular EDI events like EDI female connections, EDI chats on different topics, ask-me-anythings with affinity groups, and invited speakers from
- EDI trainings like "Unconscious Bias" and "Fostering Inclusion in the Workplace"
- Mentorship programs to groom and grow in transversal skills across levels and jobs with cross-functional and cross-regional mentor-mentee pairs
- Affinity groups including:
- Women in Tech, a group of MINDBODY professionals, inclusive of all genders, whose mission is to attract, advance, and retain women in the organization
- MB Pride, a group for the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies, which works to empower all employees to be their true selves
- Mindbody Alliance, an affinity group focused on accessibility that works on making MINDBODY and affiliated services accessible, inclusive and welcoming to people's diverse physical and mental capabilities
- Mindbody Veterans, which works to empower veterans and their families by engaging team members and veteran communities through shared core values
- MBUnited, a collective of ethnic, racial, cultural minority and non-minority members that look to promote intercultural dialogue, awareness, and increased opportunities for all minorities both within Mindbody and in our proud minority communities.
- Supporting community movements, including by donating $100k to the Black Lives Matter Movement in a show of solidarity and support for equality and justice for Black lives following George Floyd's death
If you're interested in learning more about MINDBODY or applying for one of their open roles in their India or U.S. offices, check out their PowerToFly page here.
💎 Partnerships in remote environments is one of the most important aspects to construct in a company. Watch the video to the end to get good tips on how to do it successfully.
📼Wondering how to create partnerships in remote environments? Play this video to get three top tips that will help you to achieve it. You'll hear from Olga Shvets, HR Business Partner, and Viktoriia Litvinchuk, People Team Operations at Unstoppable Domains, who will explain the essentials of this process.
📼How to build partnerships in remote environments? Tip #1: Communicate Effectively. Communication is the key to enabling your remote team to be successful. Choose the channel that works best. For this, chat with your employees and see what they use to communicate, that's how you find the best solution. Also, make sure your team is on board with your internal tools and they know what, how, and where they need to use them.
📼A requisite for building partnerships in remote environments is Tip #2: Show appreciation. Appreciation is shown through your actions. Let your employees know that you value everything they do for the company. Create a special gratitude channel where everyone can share their appreciation for their colleagues for some contribution. Celebrate some wins, promotions, and everything that is important for the company. If you appreciate the employees, employees do the same for the company.
Create Partnerships In Remote Environments Using Trust - Tip #3: Give Honest Feedback
Use engagement surveys! They are a quick and effective way to receive honest feedback from your team and you can see what's working well and what needs to be improved. Your main priority is to create spaces where managers and employees can share honest, relevant feedback.
📨 Are you interested in joining Unstoppable Domains? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Olga Shvets
If you are interested in a career at Unstoppable Domains, you can connect with Olga on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Unstoppable Domains
Unstoppable Domains is bringing user-controlled identity to 3 billion+ internet users by issuing domain names on the blockchain. These domains allow users to replace cryptocurrency addresses with human-readable names, host decentralized websites, and much more.
By selling these domains direct to consumers for a one-time fee, the company is making a product that will change cryptocurrency and shape the future of the decentralized web by providing users control over their identity and data.
We all have our favorite websites– the ones we frequent, bookmark, and recommend to others. You might even enjoy some website features so much that you’ve found yourself wondering why they aren’t more popular. Or maybe you’ve experienced times where you were frustrated with a website and wished you could add features or even design your own!
If you’ve ever found yourself intrigued at the prospect of designing and developing your own websites, then a career as a web developer might be just for you!
As a web developer you would be responsible for coding, designing, optimizing, and maintaining websites. Today, there are over 1.7 billion websites in the world and, in turn, the demand for web developers is on the rise. In order to figure out what kind of web development work best suits you let’s start with an introduction to the three main roles in web development that you can choose from.
The Three Types of Web Development Jobs
Front-End Web Development: The Creative Side
In addition to programming skills, front-end developers need to be detail oriented, creative, willing to keep up with the latest trends in web development, cyber security conscious, and geared toward user-friendly designs. The median salary for a front-end developer can reach well into the $90,000 to $100,000 range.
Back-End Web Development: The Logical Counterpart
While a house can be beautifully decorated, it’s incomplete without a solid foundation and efficient infrastructure. Similarly, a well-designed website depends on logical and functional code to power the features of that website. Back-end web development is code-heavy and focused on the specifics of how a website works. If you enjoy the analytical challenge of creating the behind-the-scenes code that powers a website, then back-end development is for you.
Full-Stack Web Development: A Little Bit of Everything
A full-stack developer is essentially the Jack (or Jill)-of-all-trades in web development. Full-stack developers need to be knowledgeable about both front-end and back-end roles. This does not necessarily imply that you would need to be an expert in both roles, but you should fully understand the different applications and synergies they each imply. In order to work in this position, you will need to know the programming languages used by front-end and back-end developers. In addition to these languages, full-stack developers also specialize in databases, storage, HTTP, REST, and web architecture.
Full-stack developers are often required to act as liaisons between front-end and back-end developers. Full-stack developers need to be both problem solvers and great communicators. The end goal for a full-stack developer is to ensure that the user’s experience is seamless, both on the front-end and on the back-end. In return, you can expect to earn a median salary of $100,000 – $115,000 a year for this role.
Taking the Next Step
Web development is both in-demand and lucrative! All three roles described above contribute to specific aspects of web development and the scope of each one can be customized to the industries and positions you feel best suit you. Regardless of which role you choose, all of them need a foundation in programming.
To gain the programming skills needed in each role, you can enroll in courses or learn independently. Coding bootcamps are a great way to boost your skillset quickly and efficiently.
Click here for some of our highly rated programming bootcamp options! Make sure to check out the discounts available to PowerToFly members.
💎Want to know what engineering teams are like at Workiva? Watch the video to the end to find out!
📼 Engineering teams at Workiva are constantly hiring. Marie Yue, Senior Engineering Manager at the company, tells you what they look for in a candidate and what the dynamics of teamwork are like.
📼 The typical path in the engineering teams at Workiva is that you grow into a senior, and then you move into a lead role. From there, there are a few different tracks that you can take depending on your interest. You can become a staff engineer, an architect, or even an engineering manager. What are you waiting for to apply?
📼In the engineering teams at Workiva every member should feel empowered to do their job effectively. For this, each has to understand how the work they do day to day solves customers’ problems. Managers will always seek to be aware of members’ career path aspirations so that they can look for opportunities and projects to help each person reach the next step in their career.
Engineering Teams At Workiva: A Safe Space
Marie Yue’s team is a safe space for people to make mistakes and ask for help, and each member feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. She wants to make sure that everyone is individually empowered to lead and make decisions. For this, the team has regular meetings where they do fun things like play virtual games or eat lunch together, and they also like to re-review and add to their team working agreement once a quarter.
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Workiva? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Marie Yue
If you are interested in a career at Workiva, you can connect with Marie Yue on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Workiva
Workiva was founded to transform the way people manage and report business data with various collaborators, data sources, documents, and spreadsheets. Today, people all over the world use their platform to seamlessly orchestrate data among their systems and applications for transparent and trusted connected reporting and compliance. At Workiva, they are innovative in everything they do—from how they build their software, to how they serve their customers, to how they treat their employees.
After two years of remote programming, we’re excited to welcome the 2022 NIKE, Inc. Internship Program back to our U.S. offices this week!
This year’s class of 318 represent the top 1% of 34,000+ applicants from 113 universities – including 10 Hispanic Serving Institutions and five historically Black colleges and universities. And that’s not all! Many of this year’s interns are Division 1 student-athletes, representing Track and Field, Rowing, Soccer, and Volleyball, to name a few.
During the nine-week internship – built around the theme of Never Done Shining – interns will work across Nike, Jordan and Converse taking on meaningful projects for the business areas they’re supporting. We can’t wait to watch this talented, diverse group kick off their Nike journey and shine!
Want to learn more about the program? https://jobs.nike.com/internships