Women at Axelerant: Chapter One

Tags: Culture, Diversity, global teams



I sat down to speak with the amazing women of Axelerant, and they each shared their unique perspectives about what it's like being professionals in their field. In this chapter, Shweta, Avni, Trupti, and Karuna expound on this—and in their own words.

Shweta-Sharma-QA


The first thing you notice about Shweta is her unbridled enthusiasm. It’s catching.

“I love my career and I’m really passionate about it,” she says. “I can’t be happy if my kids aren’t happy. But I could never be happy without a professional life.”

She recalls the time she traveled 90 km for work each day, spending three and a half hours in the middle of Pune’s pollution and traffic. After she got married, she switched to an organization that was closer to home, but soon after, the first of her two children was born, and she decided to take a break from work in order to take care of her baby.

While she was very happy to be a new mom, there was something missing: “I like to challenge myself, and to keep learning and growing. If I’m not learning, I’m not happy.”

Shweta’s husband encouraged her to put her daughter into daycare and begin working again, and that’s when she joined Axelerant.

Now, she is able to pursue everything that excites her, without having to choose. Apart from her full-time job as a QA professional at Axelerant, she attends regular fitness classes, goes swimming, travels whenever she has the chance, looks after her daughter and takes her along to extracurriculars, and occasionally cooks exciting new meals. “And the best part? I’ve been able to resume my favorite hobby, Kathak (a form of Indian classical dance), after more than a decade.”

In her opinion, all of this is possible only because remote work helped her cut down on travel time, and she now has the time and energy to pursue other interests. “It makes me so happy and content that I can take care of my family and have a professional life of my own.”

Her advice to young women? “Chase excellence, and not success… seek excellence in whichever profession you choose, and success will follow.”

 

Avni-QA

 


Kya karna hai padhke? Shaadi ho jani hai.” (“What will you do with an education? Eventually, you’re just going to have to get married.”)

This is what a lot of daughters hear from their fathers in India, including Avni’s own friends growing up. “Now, when those fathers see me…” she laughs.

Meet Avni: a high performer in college, who now works as a QA professional at Axelerant while also pursuing a postgraduate degree in Big Data and Machine Learning.

Avni is unquestionably proving people wrong about what’s possible. And she’d like her own daughter to take away different lessons than her friends did in the past. “Gender equality starts with how you bring up a child,” she says. “Educate your daughter; help her stand on her own feet. There’s no harm in being ambitious.”

Avni has another dream. In about 10 years, she’d like to be running an NGO to empower women from weaker sections in the society. For her, this dream took shape as she worked her way through some challenging questions about three years ago.

“When you see certain woman, you can see that they’re being held down,” she says. Avni found it disturbing that while more women in urban spaces are independent today, in rural India, the difference in social status is steep.

“Nobody should have to live in a miserable state, whether man or a woman. And women in rural areas really need help,” she says. She plans to help them learn new skills so that they can look after their own needs.

Meanwhile, she’s taking it all in stride, delivering great work during the week and spending the weekends painting with her daughter and pursuing her schooling. She finds being a professional while having a rich family life extremely fulfilling. “You do have to juggle, and you do have to set your priorities,” she says. “Sometimes, the problem is we just keep quiet and try to be flexible all the time. But once you set your boundaries and expectations right and communicate them well to others, it works.”

 

Trupti-Sawant-QA

 


Trupti recalls beginning her career with some hesitation about her role in the male-dominated tech industry. “Most of the time, I’ve worked with only male counterparts. There were no other women on my team. It was a group of 8-9 devs and a single QA professional—a girl.”

Her male counterparts were very sound technically and she worried about the fact that her role required her to challenge them, and how that would play out. “Some people have this attitude that QAs aren’t necessary. QAs are a headache to them, because we point out their mistakes.”

Today, she doesn’t have these concerns: “now I work closely with all my technically experienced male counterparts and feel more confident as a woman,” she says.

How did this happen? “My communication skills, patience and resilience as a woman have helped me to improve my knowledge and to develop more competency among my peers.”

As a QA professional, communication is particularly important for Trupti’s place on the team. She explains how all the different roles she plays in her life—daughter, wife, sister—bring out particular qualities which help her develop her professional outlook and improve her skills.

“Between personal and professional, there’s a bridge that helps. If someone in my family is in a bad mood, I have to understand that and be patient with them.” And it’s this same understanding that informs her work with the team, allowing her to be patient and gentle with teammates, and to keep the peace (even in difficult situations).

When Trupti is not at work, she slips into the role of a typical housewife. “When I am free and have no other plans, I’m happy dedicating myself to household work,” she says.

Is it hard to manage the needs of work and family? Her response: “It’s not very easy, but we have to manage our time and our work accordingly, per our schedules. Since we work remotely, we don’t have strict timings. We are flexible, so we are able to manage it effectively.”

 

Karuna-Batra-COO

 


“A career choice should be as close to 100 percent in alignment to one’s passions… to not drain someone. Something that can motivate a person to get up and go to work every day.”

Karuna continues: “...knowing what we want to do, its alignment to our divine purpose and architecting it as a career is the best route to try and hit that 100 percent resonance.”

As COO at Axelerant, Karuna’s role spans across people engagement, projects, process and operations management through direct involvement or consultation as needed by the ecosystem collaboratively. Outside of work, Karuna spends time learning about spirituality and evolved consciousness, trying to become the best version of herself, either through books or social media. Her ambition is to learn, grow, and evolve every day to help herself and the world around her.

Because she is single, managing work and life have not been difficult for her. When things get challenging, she manages through re-prioritization and re-arranging her task list. “One needs to be good at multitasking in a position like mine, where you’re heavily involved across the organization,” she says. 

Since Axelerant is a remote company, it all works. “For me, this framework—which I have closely co-architected—has really worked well not just to take care of my health but also to provide timely support to my family members as and when needed.”

In contrast, she recalls the time when she used to travel 40 kilometers one way on Delhi's busy roads to the office, and was totally disconnected from her family; working more than 10 hours and spending four hours (sometimes more) on the road each day. 

“At Axelerant, we try our best to strike a work-life balance for all, even if it demands continuous re-invention—and that’s not easy.” 

Check out Chapter Two and Chapter Three of the Women at Axelerant series. 

Madhura Birdi, Marketing Associate
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Madhura Birdi, Marketing Associate

When she isn't creating great content like this, you'll catch her writing poetry, sketching beautiful things, or herding cats to the musical stylings of Vivaldi.