If I knew then what I know now

By: Sushma Punuru

To Women in STEM:

As I write to you, I am reminded of how far I've come as a woman in technology and how much I have learned along the way. I want to take this opportunity to offer some guidance that I wish I’d received when I was just starting out in STEM.

Embrace Uncertainty

In the technology industry, uncertainty is inevitable. There will be new technologies to learn, projects that may take you out of your comfort zone, and changes in the market that you cannot predict. Instead of being afraid of uncertainty, embrace it as an opportunity to learn and grow. You will not have all the answers, but each next action will make things that much less hazy. I remember when I was first assigned a project that was outside my area of expertise. It was daunting, but by asking for help, seeking out mentors, and approaching the challenge with an open mind, I was able to develop new skills and become a better leader.

Don't Leave Until You Leave

As a woman in technology, it's important to stay focused on your goals and dreams, even in the face of unexpected challenges. During your career, many of you will take time off to care for a family member. I want you to know that caring for a child or loved one doesn't mean you need to sacrifice your own career aspirations. Seek out support from your workplace and understand that this is a point in time, and it does not define your identity. Many people (both men and women) face similar situations. By staying engaged, even during difficult times, you will be better equipped to achieve your goals in the long term and have a fulfilling life.

Seeing is Believing

As a woman in STEM, it can be difficult to find role models and support. It's easy to feel like you don't belong, or that your aspirations are out of reach. I want to remind you that you are capable and deserving of success. Don't settle for less than you deserve. Seek out mentors and role models who can show you what is possible. Even if you don't see many women who look like you in technical or leadership roles, know that you have the potential to be a trailblazer and a leader in your own right. Don't be afraid to attend networking events, join women in technology groups, or participate in mentorship programs. By surrounding yourself with supportive and inspiring women, you will gain the confidence and knowledge you need to succeed. I am so grateful for the mentors and role models who have helped me along the way and inspired me to achieve my goals.

You are part of a community of strong, ambitious, and talented women who are breaking down barriers and making their mark in the industry and communities across the globe. Here’s to a bright and successful future and paving the path to more women in STEM!

Warm regards,
Sushma Punuru



Women in Tech

To learn about more women's inspiring STEM careers, check out these videos from MetLife's recent Triangle Tech X conference.

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