Prior to joining WW (formerly Weight Watchers), Jaya Khanwani had been familiar with the brand from seeing it on TV but it wasn’t until she started working there as a summer intern that she realized just how innovative the wellness technology company truly was.
Three years later, Jaya is now a Software Quality Engineer at the iconic company and she credits the leadership and supportive environment for her career development. “The culture at WW is very inclusive & mission-driven. People here, in addition to being proficient and hard-working, are always ready to listen and help.” explains Jaya.
In a recent interview with Fairygodboss, Jaya gave us a closer look at the career path that led her to her recent position at the company, and how WW is advancing inclusion and diversity with its female leaders.
How long have you been with WW? What about the company first made you want to join?
I have been with WW for around three and a half years. Before joining WW as a summer intern, all I knew about the company was mostly from its association with Oprah Winfrey. But, it was during my internship that I realized how the tech team at WW is using the latest cutting-edge technologies to solve real-world problems and is having a positive impact on the lives of millions of members. This propelled me to continue my journey at WW as a full-time Quality Engineer.
Tell me about the roles that you’ve held at WW as well as your current one. What about this role most excites you?
Throughout my tenure at WW, I’ve held different titles but ultimately, my work and role as a Software Quality Engineer entails ensuring and improving the quality of products and processes at hand while managing and developing test automation at different levels; from the API level to the UI level.
The most exciting part of this role is that I am not restricted to a particular domain, platform, or technology and it allows me to delve end-to-end to get a deeper understanding of the product with the goal of improving its quality.
What’s something you’re especially good at work?
At work or outside work whatever I do, I try to do it with conviction and complete involvement and so far it has worked well for me.
What are your favorite aspects of the culture at WW?
The culture at WW is very inclusive & mission-driven. People here, apart from being proficient and hard-working, are always ready to listen and help. As a result, you always feel welcomed at WW!
Ultimately, what has led you to stay at WW?
WW is a purpose-driven organization where I can see my efforts help people achieve their wellness goals. Moreover, my team is led by an exceptional leader, Kimberly Salerno, who has always provided me enough space and opportunity to grow. Also, throughout my journey at WW, I have learned a lot about Quality Engineering from my mentor Vijay Kannan, who is one of the best engineers I have come across. All these factors have helped me work at WW effectively.
What benefits or programs has WW offered you that have contributed to your success?
I would put “Summer Internship Program” at the top since it helped me get a taste of working at WW full-time. Another thing that I regularly benefit from is “WW Inspire” which is our internal speaker series that helps provide a much-needed dose of motivation & inspiration.
What’s something you think most people (perhaps even current employees) don’t know about WW that you think they should?
Whenever people think of WW, they mostly think of SmartPoints, food tracking, activity tracking, etc., and tend to overlook the fact that there is a talented team of engineers working tirelessly to enable the entire experience. I would definitely give well-deserved kudos to the WW Tech team (which I am a part of!) for their hard work and commitment towards delivering incredible customer experiences.
Do you think your company is a particularly supportive work environment for women?
Absolutely! WW has been a female-centric company since its inception - it was founded by a woman, currently led by a female CEO, my Quality Engineering team is led by a woman, and there are many other inspiring and supportive women leaders and colleagues at every level of the organization.
What advice do you have for women who are looking to enter a career in STEM?
It is an exciting time for women to pursue STEM careers since in some ways we are paving the path for future generations. My advice would be to 1) Keep learning 2) Do not be scared or intimidated since no one knows everything and everyone is trying to figure out ways to make things work, and 3) Follow your instincts!
What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?
"Just get out of your head and show up”— less of a piece of advice and more of a chastising remark, often made by my dad during my childhood days. But these words still ring in my head and hold relevance in many situations.
Fairygodboss is proud to partner with WW. Find a job there today!