By Lata Valluri
While women comprise 36% of India’s IT workforce — a 100% increase since 2013 — they only hold 25% of managerial positions, with less than 1% in C-Suite positions.
I am focused on improving this inequality. As a Director that focuses on leadership development in India, I created the Rise program in 2021 to support women technologists of all experience levels at Salesforce India — substantially growing their workplace relationships and skills development.
Salesforce programs such as Rise tackle workplace inequality by promoting equal opportunities and nurturing a culture where women can flourish — eliminating barriers to ensure women can thrive professionally and contribute significantly to the team’s success.
Recent Rise graduate Ishita Mathur highlights how Rise has impacted her overall career and life skills.
Rise’s goal is to enable career development and address cultural obstacles encountered by women in tech in India. The program features four levels, each catering to specific personas:
- Level 1: Focusing on foundational topics, this level guides recent university graduates, helping them build confidence and establish connections.
- Level 2: This level centers on guiding women in their early career stages, providing strategies for their progression and development.
- Level 3: Featuring a two-day immersive learning workshop in tandem with the Indian Institute of Management, this level helps women obtain the key skills and knowledge as they ascend to senior roles with significantly more responsibilities.
- Level 4: Partnering with renowned universities such as Stanford, Berkeley, and Cambridge, this level empowers participants to select courses for higher learning, prepping them to be industry engineering leaders.
All levels share a similar objective: Enable technologists to improve their leadership expertise and grow their careers at Salesforce. Read on to explore seven key strategies these programs convey — designed to enhance your career and take your professional relationships to new heights.
1. Achieve Self-awareness
Fully understanding your strengths and weaknesses, also known as self-awareness, forms the foundation not just for a career at Salesforce but for your complete professional journey. While nearly everyone believes they’re self-aware, in reality, only 10% to 15% actually are. Knowing yourself and what you desire to accomplish crystallizes your career path, transforming it into a customized, actionable, and effective plan. Consequently, this guarantees better results and fulfilled careers.
2. Enhance Your Communication Skills and Boost Your Confidence
To be an effective communicator, you must be able to engage in impactful interactions with diverse stakeholders throughout your personal and professional journey. As you interact with stakeholders, listen actively, express your ideas clearly, and adapt your communication style if necessary.
Being a good communicator fosters understanding and takes your confidence to the next level as you navigate conversations with assurance, knowing that you’re conveying messages effectively while creating positive connections along the way.
3. Use Strategic Thinking to Power Long-Term Career Success
Building a satisfying career is more than just working at your company; it requires following a strategic path that aligns with your goals. How does each of your career moves align with your overarching plan? What skills do you need to acquire? How does each role enhance your experience?
These questions shape a thoughtful approach to career progression. With the right mindset, strategic thinking, relationship-building skills, and leveraging career programs like Rise, you can chart a course towards long-term success. Remember, your career is your story — make it a compelling one.
4. Build Strong Connections via Stakeholder Management
In our daily lives, every professional or personal interaction presents an opportunity for stakeholder management – the process of establishing and maintaining great relationships with people to drive successful activity outcomes. Excelling at stakeholder management begins with being self-aware; understanding yourself enables you to easily understand and relate to others.
By investing time to connect with your stakeholders, you transform them from nebulous entities to people with whom you can create purposeful connections, quality relationships, and dynamic collaborations — unlocking exciting new possibilities for supporting future projects.
Recent Rise graduate Lavanya Kousika shares how Rise helped her understand stakeholders and connect with them.
5. Practice Self-compassion
In Salesforce’s fast-paced environment, it is impossible to solely complete your tasks at speed and scale while delivering perfect results.
Applying self-compassion — the act of supporting yourself with self-kindness when encountering setbacks — is key for living a fulfilling professional life. Instead of juggling 100 tasks and dealing with the associated stress, learn how to delegate and leverage your internal relationships for collaboration. This also relates back to self-awareness — understanding your strengths and needs for improvement — while being willing to lean on your teammates for assistance as you continually sharpen your skills.
Meet Rise’s recent graduates.
6. Negotiate for Successful Agreements
From rescheduling professional commitments to deciding on family activities, negotiation helps steer daily agreements.
When facing conflicting responsibilities like managing dual projects with simultaneous deadlines, your negotiation skills become crucial. By embracing this negotiation mindset, you will engage in clear and transparent communication with stakeholders, working collaboratively to find solutions that benefit all parties and ensure successful project delivery.
Ishita explains why she would recommend Rise to her peers.
7. Shape Your Professional Identity with Your Personal Brand
Possessing a strong personal brand spotlights you as an important asset to your organization. In fact, 70% of professionals feel that a powerful personal brand helps drive career success. By confidently crafting and building your brand, you align leaders’ perceptions about you with your aspirations — ensuring your special value is acknowledged in the increasingly competitive environment of career advancement.
- Did you know that there’s a U.S. version of the Rise program? Check out this blog to learn the 5 key tips it teaches.
- Read this blog to meet 5 superstar women leaders who are driving engineering success at Salesforce.
- Stay connected — join our Talent Community!
- Check out our Technology and Product teams to learn how you can get involved.