International Women’s Day: AVEVA’s Deepti Chacko
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we sat down with Deepti Chacko, Account Manager for AVEVA’s South India and Sri Lanka region. Deepti talks about her interest in STEM and what International Women’s Day means to her
What is your role at AVEVA? How long have you been working in the STEM industry?
I am the Account Manager for the Geographic territory of South of India and the country of Sri Lanka. I am responsible for Sales and Business Development of AVEVA solutions through direct selling in this region.
When did you first develop an interest in STEM? Who/what inspired you into a career in technology?
I have been in the STEM industry for 12 years, but my interest in Technology and in the STEM industry was developed and moulded by my Alma Mater. I did my degree in Instrumentation and Control Engineering from India's most prestigious college, Govt. College of Engineering, Pune.
It was here I saw my teachers and seniors contribute their knowledge and experience to the industry through various initiatives. My biggest influencer has been my Head of the Department, Dr. Sudhir Agashe, who is a pioneer in R&D for the Industry. He always maintained that great technology needs even greater "Sales" professionals to make it acceptable to the world. He always insisted we should start from a grassroot approach to understand the depth of any solution. That way we can inspire many to do the same.
What is your favorite thing about working in the STEM industry? What is the most rewarding aspect of a STEM-based career?
STEM is a fast-growing industry and is subjected to frequent changes and new developments. It needs continued learning to be abreast with latest trends and competitor approaches. I feel highly motivated when I work independently on end-to-end solutions and win an order as it is the flexibility and learning opportunities which I feel are the most rewarding aspect of this career.
How is AVEVA helping women into STEM? And what do you think can be done to entice more women into this industry?
AVEVA treats men and women equally. There is no difference between them in our organization. It is their performance that matters.
Policies like Parent’s Insurance Coverage and Child Care support are highly appreciated as it gives me the comfort and reassurance I need. If we continue to maintain this environment of allowing us to work in dignity, we will attract more and more deserving women to our team.
Have you faced any challenges being a woman in a male-dominated industry? How did you overcome them?
My customers are in Chemical, Petrochemical and O&G industries, which are located in remote places in India. Most of these companies do not have basic female toilets in their manufacturing plants. I manage these challenges by planning my visits well.
Then there are issues with people’s acceptability of “tough women” negotiating with them on their terms. This cannot be handled individually. It needs the understanding and support of seniors in the team, which I am fortunate to have here. We deal with challenges like this every day, but we take it as a part of who we are and do our very best.
But the most important role in this is played by our families. I come from a family which never told me that there are “men” and “women” and that there are different rules of each. I was bought up by my parents giving me more than that they could afford and did not teach me to compromise my dreams in any situation. I am married into a family where I am appreciated for my work. When such family and Team Leaders are with you, there will be no road blocks for you.
If you could change one thing to improve diversity in STEM subjects, what would it be?
I would strongly recommend a change in attitude right from the recruitment team to the operations team. Today our industry does have ‘Women-Centric Roles’ which women can be in the same city and do not have to travel. This assumes that women would prefer these roles. In my opinion, this is a wrong way of thinking. Roles should be defined by expectations and candidates should be not judged on the basis of their sex, marital status, or age of their children to determine if they would be too much dependent on a particular company workplace or even work location of their spouse.
Today every woman is hungry for success and wants to have the opportunities where she can prove herself. As an industry it is our responsibility to maintain an environment which ensures this.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It is the time of the year where we should look at women who faced challenges but emerged with flying colours. It is the time to renew our oaths to support each other. It is the time we learn from each other and promise not to be jealous of each other's success, but to cherish it.
Deepti Chacko is an Account Manager for AVEVA’s South India and Sri Lanka region and is responsible for Sales and Business Development of AVEVA solutions through direct selling in this region.