Your Career Adventure Begins Today: Advice and Inspiration for a Journey of Growth and Fulfillment

Sponsored by DISH

Archana Gharpuray,  Jennifer A. Manner, Mary McKnight,  and Tosha Pauole Zeitlin. Photos courtesy of DISH.

Archana Gharpuray, Jennifer A. Manner, Mary McKnight, and Tosha Pauole Zeitlin. Photos courtesy of DISH.

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April 19, 2024 at 9:39PM UTC

The adventures you read about in books don’t have to be confined to the pages of a novel — your real life is an adventure, too! And this certainly applies to your career, where the first step in your professional adventure often requires change. In fact, using change as fuel for growth is something that the team at DISH are experts in, especially after recently merging with EchoStar and its family of brands.

“Change is a crucial element of a successful career, especially in today's fast-paced and dynamic work environment,” agrees Archana Gharpuray, Vice President of Software Engineering at Hughes, part of the EchoStar family of brands. “The ability to adapt quickly to change is a valuable skill that can significantly impact one's professional growth and success.”

Gharpuray’s colleague, Jennifer A. Manner, Senior VP of Regulatory Affairs at EchoStar, also believes in the importance of change. While change can be scary, “it's also exciting and provides opportunities,” states Manner. As for how to handle this change, “one of the most important things is being flexible,” emphasizes Manner. Being flexible enhances your ability to adapt to changes.

And, if you’re wondering how you can be flexible and adapt to change, Mary McKnight, General Manager in the Sales Operations department on the Risk, Audit, Compliance, and Partner Management Team, has you covered. She reveals that the key is to lean into change. Change is constant, she muses, so it’s important to not let it bring you down or hinder you. “See how you can move forward, take that change, and make it a positive,” McKnight suggests. 

Leaning into change to kickstart your professional adventure also involves getting comfortable with being wrong, says Tosha Pauole Zeitlin, VP Retail Wireless Operations. “Let go of perfection,” Zeitlin advises. “Don’t just accept feedback, ask for it! Growth comes from overcoming the fear that is holding most of us back! If you are doing your best and are open to constantly improving, then that is the best you can do.” And remember that you are not alone! Zeitlin reminds us to look outside of ourselves for someone who can assist in this journey of learning and change.

Today, we’re doing just that! We reached out to Gharpuray, Manner, McKnight, and Zeitlin to ask about their exciting career adventures, their tips for embracing change to access new opportunities, and how they found support for this growth at DISH, EchoStar, Hughes and beyond! Read on for the inspiration to take your own career journey!

Career adventure inspiration.

While career adventures come in many forms, their connecting theme is change. For instance, take Zeitlin, who has had an exciting 17-year career at DISH. While she remained at one company, Zeitlin was able to grow by embracing change!

“At DISH, I have continuously embraced opportunities for growth and development,” Zeitlin states. “Over the years, I have held numerous roles and collaborated with various managers and leaders, demonstrating adaptability and a proactive approach to tackling challenges. At one point, I recognized my passion for leadership and embarked on a journey to transform my job into a fulfilling career. Inspired by DISH's innovative spirit and determination as an underdog, I pursued opportunities to lead and make impactful contributions. Pursuing an MBA was a pivotal moment that bolstered my self-confidence and propelled me into executive leadership roles. I have come to appreciate the gratification of achieving collective success, prioritizing the organization's goals over personal accolades.” And this is only one example of a career journey!

A career adventure may also involve being open to accepting that your path is different than you may have thought. For instance, Gharpuray comes from a family of doctors — but always had a strong desire to join the engineering field. That’s what drove her to get an MS in Electrical Engineering and eventually to take on a software engineering role focusing on embedded software development. And, throughout it all, Gharpuray remained open to change!

“Over the years, I worked on a multitude of projects and steadily advanced through the ranks, eventually attaining the position of Vice President,” shares Gharpuray. “Transitioning into leadership and management roles involved not only technical competence but also strong leadership qualities; it involved a shift from focusing on individual tasks to overseeing projects, teams, and broader organizational goals.”

Seeking new opportunities and growth during company-wide changes, such as acquisitions and mergers, is another key way to move forward on your adventure. McKnight is a prime example of this, having experienced an acquisition by DISH after growing from a Shift Supervisor to an Operation Support Manager at Blockbuster. 

This change led her to interview for — and accept — a position at DISH as an Operations Manager on their Compliance team in Sales Operations. “I then worked my way up from a Compliance Manager to Risk and Audit Manager,” shares McKnight. “In addition, while working at DISH, I obtained my Master’s degree. Today, I'm the General Manager of the entire team.” It’s clear that being open to joining the DISH team unlocked many opportunities for McKnight to grow and gain new skills.

And that’s not all — your career adventure doesn’t have to be confined to your day-to-day responsibilities either! For example, after experiencing a merger, Manner used this opportunity to proactively connect with the DISH Women's Network. “One of the things I always try to do is figure out what are the benefits of ‘us,’ and how do we take advantage of it,” she shares. “We really have the same goals.” Manner is dedicated to always building trust and getting to know people, which doesn’t waver even in times of change. Today, thanks in part to this dedication, Manner has grown to be one of the co-chairs of the combined Women’s Impact Network resource group. Manner also drove the creation of this combined group after the merger with  EchoStar — further showing the power of taking charge of change!

Actionable advice to jumpstart your career adventure.

If you’re curious about how you can translate change into opportunity, these leaders have trusted advice from their own adventures to share with you! Here are their top 10 tips for growing your career through role changes, acquisitions, mergers, life changes, and more.

  1. Adapt to change by staying flexible and having a growth mindset. (Gharpuray)

  2. Believe in yourself and know your “why.” (Zeitlin)

  3. Communication is key — try to make connections with short 1:1 conversations. (Manner)

  4. Always do your best and give 100%. (McKnight)

  5. Build your support network and find guidance (e.g., mentors, sponsors, and employee resource groups) and ask for help when you need it. (Gharpuray, McKnight, and Zeitlin.)

  6. Don’t be afraid to take on a challenge or risk — and don’t be afraid of failure either; this leads to growth. (Gharpuray and McKnight)

  7. Be tenacious, driven, and actively seek out opportunities for professional growth and development. (Zeitlin and Gharpuray)

  8. Remember to set boundaries and always make time to take care of yourself. (Manner and Zeitlin).

  9. Keep a positive attitude and stay open to what’s possible. (McKnight and Zeitlin).

  10. Be vocal: let yourself and your accomplishments shine. (Manner)

How companies can empower employees to grow their skills and advance.

While you are on your career journey, it’s important to know that you’re not alone! Organizations like DISH are there to support you as you grow and take on new challenges.

For example, one key way companies can support you in your career adventure is by fostering a culture of learning, and this is certainly true at DISH! “A real benefit at DISH is the ability to learn,” shares McKnight. “If you want to learn a new skill, you can simply ask or take the time to find out how you can learn it.”

Zeitlin also emphasizes the importance of DISH’s culture of learning. “I have learned so much on my journey that has empowered me to be the best version of myself,” Zeitlin says. This journey involved Zeitlin following her career ambition to reach an executive role — which wasn’t a direct or easy path. However, she continued to say yes to challenges and was empowered to constantly learn, ask questions, and grow at DISH. And she wasn’t alone in this journey. “Over the years, I have leaned on the support of leaders, peers, ERG resources, and HR; all there to listen, give advice, teach skills, and sometimes help me to remember how far I have come and to not give up,” she states. 

And Zeitlin is not alone in noting the importance of making connections and joining programs that help upskill you, either! Gharpuray also emphasizes how mentorship programs, dedicated training, and development programs are essential to acquiring new skills (such as technical skills or leadership), enhancing existing ones, and networking. “Opportunities like these helped me move around in various projects within Engineering, which enabled new opportunities and experiences while staying within the company,” Gharpuray says. 

Companies can also support your career adventure by allowing employees to grow in external ventures. As an EchoStar employee, “I have a lot of flexibility to pursue outside interests,” reveals Manner. “For instance: I speak a lot, I get to travel quite a bit for my role, and I'm also a big writer. I've been able to write articles, I’ve written three books, and I’ve even produced two movies. The company gives you the opportunity to pursue your interests — you just have to look for what you're interested in.”

And, perhaps most importantly, are the people who make up a company. These leaders were quick to emphasize how one of their favorite parts of working at DISH is the people who are there to support them on their journeys — no matter where these journeys take them!

With all of the opportunities available, it’s a great time to join DISH! Check out open roles via the link below.

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