The Importance of Professional and Personal Mentorship in Growing Into a STEM Leader

Sponsored by Southern California Edison

Sheena Devadoss. Photo courtesy of Sheena Devadoss.

Sheena Devadoss. Photo courtesy of Sheena Devadoss.

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Fairygodboss
June 23, 2024 at 4:48PM UTC

Sheena Devadoss knows how important mentorship is — in fact, she even published a research paper on it when she was in college. For her paper, titled, “Do Mentorship Programs and Supportive Environment Encourage Women to Enter Leadership Positions?,” Devadoss did a considerable amount of research including interviews with about 25 men and women at Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the nation’s largest electric utilities that’s also bringing more clean and renewable sources of energy to Southern California.  Through this experience, not only was Devadoss able to see for herself how mentorship is a powerful tool for growing into leadership, but this work helped her accelerate her own career, too! As a result, Devadoss says that she was able to gain a higher visibility, networking opportunities, and her own mentors who could guide her on her career journey.

In regards to mentorship at SCE, Devadoss has had both formal and informal mentors. For instance, one of her formal mentors made time for recurring 1:1s, helped her make connections, and empowered her to gain visibility by participating in the  IT Women’s Forum. Informal mentorship also supplied Devadoss with key advice on career advancement, introduced her to opportunities such as partnerships with Fairygodboss, and helped her improve her understanding of DEI.

And mentorship isn’t the only way that SCE supported Devadoss’ career either! “I received educational reimbursements for my MBA, Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification, and Yale University’s Executive Management Program” she shares. “I also became Yellow-Belt certified through the company’s Lean Six Sigma program.” These opportunities align with SCE’s goal to support and advance women throughout their organization.

Today, thanks in part to this support, Devadoss has grown at SCE from a Data Engineering Intern to a Proprietary Telecom Systems Specialist. She also pays this support forward by acting as a mentor herself, as well as being a part of organizations that empower young girls and women — such as EmpowHer, a group that focuses on reducing the high school dropout rate among disadvantaged girls from low-income families.

Here, Devadoss tells us more about her work, the importance of mentorship, and how SCE has supported her every step of the way.

You’ve grown an amazing career! Looking back, who is the most influential person in your professional life and why?

My paternal grandmother is a major influence and inspiration in my professional life. During the 1970s, she was the Director of the Surgical Department in a major hospital in India in a male-dominated society. This was a time that executive opportunities for women were minimal. Her strong work ethic, perseverance, charismatic personality, ability to always have a positive outlook on life, and her bright smile have had a strong impact on me. This has been a constant motivator for me to break the glass ceiling and push through any obstacles in my own career journey

Next, can you tell us more about your current role?

My current role is multidimensional. It consists of project management, process improvement, and cross-functional assignments with other SCE organizational units. I interface with other business units to oversee client projects. I am certified as a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt and have led several process improvement Kaizens. 

How does mentorship work at SCE?

The company has a mixture of informal and formal programs such as our Networker Business Resource Group’s Mentoring Matters Program. While I was an engineering intern, it became clear to me that I wanted to follow a management route. So, I looked for a mentor who can guide me to achieve my career goal

Do you feel like your mentorship experience has been reflective of the overall culture at SCE?

Through my cross-functional assignments with other organizational units, I have come to realize that there are employees willing to support and guide others in their career journey.

What is your favorite perk about working at SCE?

I appreciate the culture of work-life balance. My manager is willing to accommodate my family commitments. 

Ultimately, what has led you to stay at SCE?

I love the family environment in IT Grid Services. Work is enjoyable when you work with people that have become close friends. I got married in October 2021 and many of my wedding guests consisted of my SCE family. Precious, life-long friendships can be created at SCE



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