Want to Help Advance Women at Work? These 3 Leaders Share How They Do Just That

Sponsored by Ansys

Dr. Bridget Ogwezi, Janice Casagrande, and Sujata Bandyopadhyay. Photos courtesy of Ansys.

Dr. Bridget Ogwezi, Janice Casagrande, and Sujata Bandyopadhyay. Photos courtesy of Ansys.

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Fairygodboss
May 18, 2024 at 7:0AM UTC

Want to make a positive impact at work and support your colleagues during Women’s History Month and beyond? If so, one key thing to remember is that “personal connections and relationships have such an impact,” shares Dr. Bridget Ogwezi, Senior Academic Development Manager and Black Employee Network co-lead at Ansys.

In her case, Ogwezi makes sure to always be on the lookout for chances to work at events or meet other women to share her experiences and encouragement. This is true “especially for younger girls since I work for a tech company,” emphasizes Ogwezi. “I’m also part of our Women in Tech (WIT) employee resource group (ERG) at Ansys, which allows me to coordinate and participate in activities that lift up other women.”

Resource groups are a great way to support other women at work. Just ask Janice Casagrande, the Area Vice President of North America Enterprise as well as the Global Leader of Ansys’ WIT ERG. “I am very cognizant of the need to support other women,” says Casagrande. “I have the opportunity to put programs in place to help women advance their career. I also get the opportunity to meet with women across the world and listen to their stories and support their careers at Ansys.” And, beyond this work, she also organized a North America female sales leader group.

Sujata Bandyopadhyay, the Director of Ansys Customer Excellence for India and the South Asia Pacific region and WIT co-lead, also acknowledges how important groups like these are. “I am privileged to lead and represent the Asia region in our global WIT forum and have an opportunity to work with the women in technology group in Asia across functions, which allows me to talk to women employees and hear about their career journeys, aspirations, and need for development — enabling me to identify their hidden potential,” Bandyopadhyay tells us. “The WIT group activity is the perfect place to provide an opportunity to young employees or hidden gems with leadership responsibilities and provide them the confidence to take up uncertain or unknown responsibilities.”

Here, these three leaders share more about their own journeys, how individuals can help support women at work, and how Ansys is leading the way!

To start, how have other women and Ansys aided in your own career journey?

Bandyopadhyay: When my former organization, Fluent, was acquired by Ansys, it opened up a big opportunity for learning and professional development with expanded technology solutions and multiple functional roles. I got the opportunity to lead the presales and technical support function, along with starting the consulting and training business for the region. Although I am a chemical engineer by training, I took every opportunity that Ansys provided and worked with different industry sectors

It has been extremely rewarding to see how Ansys is bringing digitalization in the product development of our esteemed customers, and I am extremely happy to be part of their successful journey. At Ansys, I learn every day and have had the opportunity to attend numerous sales-related trainings as well as a leadership training program. 

Casagrande: Many people at Ansys helped advance my career. I was given opportunities to lead great accounts and opportunities for advancement, and I was guided and nurtured along the way. For example, mentorship was really important for my career growth. I started my career as a Field Applications Engineer (AE) and eventually moved into a Technical Account Manager (TAM) position. After that, I moved into sales. There was one particular colleague that mentored me from Field AE, to TAM, and then to sales. This person taught me so much and really helped me find the role that was right for me. I am forever grateful for his guidance and belief in me.

Ogwezi: I think it was my relationships with women, who were collaborative rather than competitive, that made the most impact.

Recently, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and take on more responsibility at work. This made me realize that I really needed support. Through our women's resource group, I’ve been privileged to be connected with women in my company who are doing great things. I reached out, and they have been helping me successfully navigate the new space that I’ve found myself in. This helped put me in front of people who were then willing to speak about me positively in the right places.

From your own experience, what are your top tips on how women can help advance the careers of those around them?

 Bandyopadhyay:

  1. I encourage women to take on challenging work without fear.

  2. It’s important to help and provide tips for building up a network.

  3. You should promote the good work of the women around you and be an ally. 

Casagrande

  1. Sit at the table. When you are meeting with others, don’t sit back — take a seat at the table. And, if you see other women sitting back, ask them to sit at the table, too. Make sure your voice, along with the voices of the women around you, are heard.

  2. Be encouraging to all women. Understand their strengths and help them excel at what they do really well.

  3. Be sure to recognize women who you know are doing a good job. Mention them by name to others in the organization, their leadership team, or on social media.

  4. Form groups of women (formal or informal) and organize gatherings so women get a chance to network; then, when opportunities arise, suggest women from your network for those opportunities.

  5. Network, network, network — both within and outside your organization.

Ogwezi:

  1. Be an example. Representation is so key in helping others develop their own career aspirations.

  2. Be vulnerable, as much you’re comfortable with. Share failures just as much as you share successes — it’s so inspirational.

  3. Make room for others. If you have a role or responsibility, take other women alongside you and let them learn and grow with you.

Finally, how does Ansys support women?

Bandyopadhyay: We recently started a leadership program in Asia to help high-potential women employees grow their careers. We have also created a Women in Tech groups, with leaders within each Countries in Asia, which is a great opportunity for networking, learning and cultural exchange. In India, Ansys sponsors women students during their bachelors, masters, or doctoral program through our corporate social responsibility (CSR) funding. Ansys also supports the Women Baja Team of MKSSS Cummins College of Engineering for the Women SAE off-road ATV (all-terrain vehicle) race. We recently also started an internship program for girls to provide them with the required training needed to start their corporate journey.

Casagrande: Our Women in Technology ERG is there to support women’s careers. We also have initiatives from the executive leadership team to advance women within the organization.

Ogwezi: I work in a tech company, so women are underrepresented. However, there is a top-down commitment to supporting women and increasing the number of women hired, retained and placed in senior positions. We have outreach goals that we take seriously. This works adjacent to our women’s resource group, which supports mentorship, professional development, community building, and outreach.



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