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Raegen Szablewski. Photo courtesy of DISH.
“Do it! Take the leap. Apply for the role, even if you don’t feel fully qualified. Be an advocate for yourself and your career. The worst thing that could happen is the role ends up not being for you, and then you do what’s best for your next step. Your career is a series of steps forward, so just keep on steppin’.”
That’s the top piece of advice Raegen Szablewski, IT Manager II at DISH, has for other women who are looking to pivot their careers. Szablewski certainly knows firsthand what it takes to make a career pivot, as she’s done this successfully multiple times in her own career.
“My career journey started as a Transportation Analyst at DISH…[before] I was approached to apply for a role on the Manufacturing Program Management team,” she tells us. “That role really opened up the world for me. I worked on cross-functional projects and learned what it was like to own an initiative’s success.”
And, importantly, her time in this role enabled her work on an important project — the Boost Mobile acquisition. Through this work, she ended up applying to an internal position on the Integration Management team, which manages DISH’s Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) acquisitions and partnerships.
“While on that team, I became ingrained in our retail wireless sector and eventually became the originator and manager of the Retail Wireless Program Management team,” Szablewski states. “It’s fascinating to understand the ‘why’ for enterprise initiatives and to then be a part of the execution.”
In her time at DISH, Szablewski has already managed to shift from supply chain and manufacturing to program management and strategic development. “It’s been an immense benefit to have experienced different areas of the business,” she lets us know. “Having an understanding of end-to-end processes, back-end systems, and customer experience gives you a holistic perspective that helps drive informed decisions. This can also help you be more marketable for future positions.”
And Szablewski is not done with growing her career, either. “I’m excited for what’s next,” she notes as she starts her new role in IT.
Here, Szablewski took the time out of her busy schedule to dive more into how she’s pivoted her career, the benefits of doing so, and how DISH empowers employees like her.
Raise your hand, stretch your abilities, put yourself in a situation where you can grow, and prove that you can do the next level role. And be a catalyst for results. Don’t just be a meeting attender, be a contributor and even a driving force toward getting things done.
The most rewarding part is definitely learning something new. The ability to learn and grow is immensely valuable in your career. And, for me personally, it’s valuable to be stretching my mind instead of being bored. The most challenging aspect is adjusting to the new — a new team, new leadership, new business, and new industry. It takes a minute to get yourself in a new flow; however, while it’s a challenge, it’s exciting, too.
I drove some role changes myself while others were me being tapped on the shoulder. There are situations where your eagerness and abilities are noticed, which leads to opportunities being presented to you. There are also situations where you need to be your largest advocate and make the leap to apply for roles that are interesting to you. It’s also important to seek out opportunities based on your one-year, five-year, and 10-year goals.
DISH encourages both paths, and the company has been beneficial to my career growth.
Opportunity is certainly the best part of working at DISH. One thing I can say about my time at DISH is that I have never been bored. I’ve worked on meaningful things that matter to the company’s goals, and I’ve worked on new, fascinating projects that stretched me and grew my abilities.
There are many strong female leaders who I have looked up to and even been mentored by. I hope someday to be like that for others. And, when I retire, I hope to do so in a world where women leaders aren’t a rarity, but a norm.
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