Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - 12

The time I took off during my second daughter's
first year was an extreme situation, one in which
I had no choice but to stop working. But after I
went back to work, I continued to feel the pull
of maternal responsibilities. It would be years
before I realized that in most cases you can
be ambitious in your career while also being a
good mother. Although there is never a perfect
balance, you can do more than one thing well.
You can do A and B.

A LUKEWARM ASSESSMENT
Trying to figure out how to have a successful career
while raising a family coincided with questions
about the kind of career I would have and, as my
responsibilities increased, the kind of leader I would be.
About five years ago, after I had been working at
Marriott hotels for a while, I applied for another
position within the company. My interviews went
well and the hiring team called my references.

THE OLD ME, WHEN I WALKED
INTO THE BIG CORPORATE
ENVIRONMENT, ALWAYS LEFT
THE REAL ME OUTSIDE. I WALKED
A DIFFERENT WAY, I SPOKE A
DIFFERENT WAY.

One of them was a colleague of mine, who came
to me laughing one day and said, "The one
question that I got about you was, 'She's so softspoken and her demeanor is kind of soft, how
would she be able to manage this huge team?'"
I smiled to myself. Really, I thought, is that what
they took away from my interview? I think that
is when it hit me for the first time that when we
think of leadership, we often think of someone
loud and big coming in and commanding a room.
In the end, I didn't pursue the position. I decided
I did not want to fight preconceived notions of
leadership and try to prove myself as a leader.
But I started feeling very dissatisfied. I had spent
my life chasing titles and paychecks and going up
the career ladder, but now the excitement that I
had earlier in my career was no longer there.
12

My best friend at Marriott noticed the change in
me and said, "Gurmeet, you haven't been happy
in a while." I realized that I agreed, and I started
seeing a life coach to see if I could do something
about it.

A DIP IN MORALE
The biggest lesson that came out of that was the
realization that I had been holding myself back
- not the world, not the men, not my family. In
my 30s, I had tried to maintain the balance that I
thought was required, and I had stifled myself. I
had great offers - calls from Amazon and eBay
- but I told the recruiters I didn't even want to
talk. Because I had kids, because I had a family,
I couldn't even consider such offers. After those
three months of working with a coach I realized
that I had been limiting myself.
Driving my girls - who were now teenagers
- someplace, I would listen to them chatter in
the car, talking about things they wanted to do,
about summer internships, about what made
them excited, And I started to wonder, why is it
that when we start off as kids we are so clear on
what we want but as we get older we lose our
sense of direction?
I decided to take a six-week sabbatical from
Marriott to form an organization that tries
to bridge the gap between students and the
workplace, in order to better understand how to
keep young people's early excitement intact.
One thing led to another, and I ended up getting
certified as a Gallup Strengths Coach. I worked
with students trying to help them figure out who
they were and what they wanted, before their
dreams were blurred into gray by what their
parents wanted them to do, what their teachers
and others were telling them to be.
When I came back to work, I was re-energized,
and I talked to my co-workers about my
experiences as a coach. Someone in my unit who
was a new manager reached out to me after my
talk and said, "I'm new and I'm finding it really
hard to break through my team because the
other members have worked together for so
long. Can you come coach my team?" I thought



Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology

Contents
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - Cover1
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - Cover2
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - 1
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - Contents
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - 3
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - 4
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - 5
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - 6
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - 7
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - 8
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - 9
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Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - 11
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - 12
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - 13
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Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - Cover4
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - 108
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - Poster 1
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - Poster 2
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - Poster 3
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - Poster 4
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - Poster 5
Straight Talk Special Issue: Women in Technology - Poster 6
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/hi_tech
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue12
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/assetheavy2020
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/lifesciencesandhealthcare2019
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/womenintech2
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/financialservices2019/
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue11
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue10
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue9
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/womeninit
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/financialservices
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue8
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue7
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue6
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue5
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue4
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue3
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue2
https://magazine.straighttalkonline.com/issue1
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