When Sukrutha was nominated for the SOLIDWORKS Women in Engineering program, I read through all of her accomplishments and involvement in different organizations, and thought that there was no possible way that she had only the same twenty-four hours in the day as the rest of us. The reality is, however, that she seems to be very organized, and put hers to great use!
As a young student, she was very interested in Physics and Math, but not so much in Chemistry and Biology, so she searched for a way to turn these disciplines into a career. After researching and talking with people, she was led to consider a degree in Engineering. She pursued a B.E. in Telecommunication Engineering at R.V. College of Engineering in Bangalore, and went on to get a M.S. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California.
Currently, she is working for Salesforce as a Sr. Software Engineer in Test on the Salesforce Platform. This alone would be an impressive career for a young professional, but that is just her day job! Sukrutha has also spent time volunteering at several different organizations including Hackbright Academy, which is a 10-week accelerated software engineering fellowship, where she helped teach women about computer science and web development. Students can work with their mentors, like Sukrutha, to develop ideas for projects, and gather advice from engineers already in the field.
Another organization she has worked with is the Grace Hopper Celebration Project, which brings women in computing together from around the world. Sukrutha offered her time to help with the website for this conference after seeing a call for volunteers on the group’s Facebook page.
What really caught our eye when Sukrutha was nominated to be featured, though, was that she is the Managing Director for Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, an organization that brings women together to learn, inspire, and to encourage each other. The dinners have had companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft as sponsors, and feature women speakers from different industries and experience levels. The dinners have become so popular that they sell out in minutes, and have as many as 450 attendees!
The Bay Area chapter alone has over 15,000 members. When I asked Sukrutha how she manages to find time to be such a large part of this organization, as well as holding a full time position at Salesforce, she said she had gotten very good at time-boxing her work, and reserved weekends and certain days of the week for Girl Geek Dinner work. Initially, when becoming part of this group, she said that it was so important that she built her network and realized how many people wanted to help. “I have learned that the smartest thing you can do is ask for help” she noted, and that her friends, family, and co-workers have been very supportive.
We were not at all surprised to learn that Sukrutha was recognized as one of the 30 Most Important Women Under 30 in Tech by Business Insider in 2014. She said that it had always been a dream of hers to be part of something like this, and beyond just holding the honor, it has been nice to have this kind of visibility.
As a female engineer, she said it can be challenging to be part of a male dominated industry, but she lets it bring out the best in her. Sukrutha feels that it helps her push herself to not be afraid of the challenges, and has found that it’s important to be all inclusive to be successful, and to learn from everyone around you.
Listening to people who have been in a similar career or situation has helped her to realize that it’s good to take risks, and not worry about the “what if” situations. That is part of the reason it’s so important to her that more people share their stories in situations like the Girl Geek Dinners, because each time they do, someone else will realize that others have faced similar challenges and gotten through difficult times.
Sukrutha’s Advice to girls who want to begin a career in Engineering or Technology: “Keep at it. It’s hard, but so is walking!”