If you had told my 10-year-old self that she would one day open and host a townhall for the C suite executives of a renowned organization, she would just think of it to be a dream. Well, at Schneider Electric if one has dreams and aspirations, the company gives you wings to fly high and realize them all.
The show of my dreams
Recently, the C suite executive leadership from the U.S. visited our office in Bangalore. It was beyond my wildest dreams to have had the opportunity to open and host the event. When I was asked if I was confident enough to host the show, I knew I would have to move heaven and earth and give it my best. My experiences in public speaking a Schneider had instilled in me all the confidence I needed, but this was my first huge event at corporate – being hosted in the office and streamed globally. A cherry on top was being recognized by senior leaders for a talent that I hold very close to my heart. I’m sure it is just the beginning of many more wonderful experiences to come at Schneider Electric.
Whoever has ever described office culture as a 9 to 5 dull monotony, has obviously not had the Schneider Electric experience.
Stepping stones of leadership
Being a team player is who I identified myself with. I was part of various clubs and committees in my college, which instilled in me a true spirit of working in teams. Very comfortably, however, I never put myself in the team leader’s shoes. At our office in Bangalore, we have a chapter of the #ToastmastersInternational called Schneider Electric Toastmasters Club: A platform to improve one’s public speaking, leadership, and networking skills. This supportive platform at work was led by people who constantly guided members to overcome their fears and improve themselves.
In the club, I was an eager beaver. After considering my enthusiasm to deliver speeches, and always network with people, my mentor within the club encouraged me to take up an executive committee position within 3 months of joining Schneider Electric. This is when the imposter syndrome would visit me. Will I make a good leader? Will I be able to make justice to the role? Only time would tell, and it was time for me to step up as a leader.
I knew it would be an honor to lead teams someday. This platform at work was a great start. As of today, I have been serving as the President of the club for the last 11 months. At times when I had cold feet, having never taken up a leadership position earlier, I was reminded of the more such people like me that I could help. I’m a proud mentor of a few members of the club, while I #LearnEveryday to understand my strengths and weakness, both as a team leader and a team player.
Realizing who you are
My journey with Schneider Electric began when I joined as an intern during college in 2020. Now, I’m an Electronics and Communications Engineer. While I worked for a support team for the last year and a half; I now serve as a Project Manager for the International Operations team at Schneider Digital. Sounds like a crisscross? I was always wide-eyed when I heard what different teams and Business Units at Schneider do. Hence, I would network and speak to different individuals to understand the organizational structure at a high level. This helped me better visualize the big picture. I’m ever so thankful for the flexibility at work at Schneider. A year and a half into corporate, I realized I wanted to contribute to a role that would challenge and improve my communication skills.
A day in my role involves rolling out communications for various regions and their languages, collaborating with leads from different countries, and leading training sessions for an audience of close to a thousand. I interact with regions which have just begun their day, and regions that on the other hand, are enjoying their sunset. I was overwhelmed by my interactions with people from different countries, languages, and cultures. Everyone has a different way of working, and I’ve learnt so much about diverse cultures, it’s like traveling the world with the click of a button during virtual meetings. It is as Global and Inclusive an experience that one could have – and never fails me on the edge of my seat.
The Open Talent Market (OTM) played a vital role in facilitating my cross-functional exposure in areas that I never previously imagined. Having platforms, mentors and empathetic leaders channeled my aspirations into actions, thus empowering me to progress in my career path.
Thinking outside the box!
How do you draw the line between following what is given to you and executing your creative ideas? Luckily at Schneider, my creative side doesn’t need to shy away, I’m encouraged to think outside the box. Any new ideas I might have, I’m always given the opportunity to speak out. I’m encouraged to explore new initiatives and new frontiers thus enabling me to #DareToDisrupt. There’s always room for improvement, so I also ensure I receive constructive feedback to better myself. Early career individuals like me are frequently connected to leaders who have walked the same path to answer all our questions about the right roles & opportunities we may have ahead of us.
You learn the most while you have fun
With Schneider being my first corporate, I’m glad I’ve experienced a great work culture at the start of my career. The work-life balance is great, and I always look forward to my day. I’m encouraged to actively participate in activities whose takeaways I could also translate to my work.
Participating in Speech contests is one such area. It instigated in me the spirit of sportsmanship while being open to feedback to improve further. At Toastmasters, I participated in various Speech and Evaluation Contests and bagged multiple awards. This year, I have brought home the trophy from the Division level Speech Evaluation Contest. I will be taking the stage at the District level. This is the first time that someone from Schneider Electric Toastmasters club is representing the Division at the final level.
My team is not just appreciative, but extremely encouraging of my talents. They motivate me to participate more by recognizing my efforts. I’m humbled by the recognition culture at work. Having fun, a corporate routine and improving myself have been very closely connected at Schneider Electric.
About the author:
Bhargavi D is a Project Manager for the International Operations team at Schneider Digital. She has pursued her B.Tech in Electronics and Communications Engineering from MIT Manipal. She is passionate about public speaking and is on the constant look out for experiences that could challenge her skillsets. Bhargavi intends to inspire others to overcome their fears and find their voices. In her free time, she is found amidst books, with the ukulele or hiking over hills.
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