Career Notes 3.27.22
Ep 93 | 3.27.22

Arti Lalwani: Supporting and being the change. [Risk Management]


Arti Lalwani: Hello. My name is Arti Lalwani and I am a Knowledge Leader for Risk Management and Privacy at A-LIGN.

Arti Lalwani: I remember being in college and sitting pretty undecided about what I wanted my major to be. So I sat down with my parents and I told them that I was thinking of about maybe taking a teaching career path. However I grew up with very traditional Indian parents. So if you were not a doctor or an engineer or gonna marry a doctor or an engineer, your career choice was probably worthless. After many discussions, we finally decided that I would stick with finance as a major, and I graduated with a finance degree and jumped into a financial job for a few years, until one day I realized, wow, this is not me. My parents always undoubtedly were a great support system for me. I do take everything that they say into account. It doesn't mean that I actually listen to everything, but I hear it. My parents gave up everything to come to America and to make sure that we got the best education we possibly could get.

Arti Lalwani: I jumped over to the tech world and I spent a lot of time teaching myself like asset management, how servers are put together, how to custom build servers, how to QA things. That's when I kind of saw that shift into cloud-based offerings and software. And that's when I kind of stumbled upon compliance and information security and auditing. I really, honestly, I had no clue that I wanted to go into tech. It was just pure by chance that I happened to accept a job that worked in hardware and I knew nothing about hardware. So that was kind of where I jumped into this world where I was really learning from the bottom up. I think the biggest token I can put to that factor is that the mentors that I had, they were able to push me up and get me there faster than I even thought.

Arti Lalwani: I think one of the biggest issues for women is a lack of confidence. And for me, not only was that the issue, but I also felt like I wasn't ready to lead in this industry. So I remember reaching out to a couple professional mentors and I asked for advice, I asked for help. I asked for words of even encouragement, um, because I just did not feel ready to lead . Not only did these mentors think that I was ready, but also my direct manager at the time thought I was absolutely ready to take it on. For the first time I felt like someone else saw something in me that I couldn't even see in myself.

Arti Lalwani: One of the things I said was for the longest time is that I absolutely did not wanna manage a team. Getting pushed into it and then thinking, wow, I'm glad someone kind of pushed me. So when I did take that step and I started managing a team, the first promise that I made to myself was that I never wanna be one of those managers that I didn't like when I was going through work. I wanna make sure that everybody here is heard and understood. And it's an extremely difficult task to say that, and it's easier done with a smaller team, than a larger one, but I don't want there to be any sort of leveling. Just because, I'm above you or I'm two steps above you doesn't mean that you can't approach me with simple questions. For me, my management style has always been very inclusive and I think that's what attributes to the team having a very low attrition status. 

Arti Lalwani: I have a very strong personality, that can come across as you know, when I'm passionate about something, it comes across as aggressive or bossy and I just remember feeling like I could never, I had to be a different version of myself when I first entered this industry just to feel like I was even slightly accepted. I think it was very clear when I was looking at the few other women in the industry and how they were acting and how they were perceived. I think that the judgment was just extremely difficult on the women than the men. And I feel like there were times where you could sense someone was, was judging you, not for the work that you were providing them, but for everything else that you were. That feeling of being judged because I'm a female, because I'm a minority female, I think is constantly there. 

Arti Lalwani: So I would say that for anybody that's gonna come up into this industry or, where they're embarking on a career change, the first thing you're gonna hit is a roadblock. If you give up at that first sign, you're never gonna get to where you wanna be. So keep going and find ways to pursue passed that. Whether you have to put more work in on your own or you find someone that can help you get passed that. I feel like pursuing networking opportunities, finding people that can connect you to someone else, and trying to build that network on your own. Having a big support system behind you before you're about to pursue something like this is absolutely necessary. 

Arti Lalwani: I'd like to be part of the change in this industry where women supporting and becoming great mentors for other women is the norm. I think honestly, through managing like a team of my own, the best part has been being a mentor to the women on my team, to, to coach them on challenges that they will undoubtedly encounter, and teach them things that no one really ever taught me. If you think back to how your career launched off it's usually with somebody that believed in you or helped you through the process. So being able to give back in that sense is a very important thing.