In this blog post, explore the personal journey of one of our EM’s and see how she has harnessed resilience in her career.
Durga, thanks for taking the time out. It would be great if you could start by introducing yourself and your role here.
I’m Durga Krishnan, I joined Deliveroo nine months ago as an Engineering Manager in Care. I have over 15 years of experience in the Tech industry. I started my career as a Software Engineer and moved to an Engineering Management role over four years ago.
Why did you choose resilience as a topic to explore in this blog post, and what does resilience mean to you?
When I think of resilience, there is one quote that always comes to my mind - “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”― Confucius
I believe resilience is really important because meeting challenges, personally or professionally, is part of life - it is how you tackle these times, and in particular developing strategies to navigate them, which is important. The adversities I have faced have shaped me into the person I am. They have helped me learn, grow and more importantly have given me the strength to not be overwhelmed when situations like these happen again.
When in your role as an Engineering Manager and a Woman in Tech have you had to implement resilience?
I struggled to find a job when I moved to the UK in 2013, despite having significant experience. I applied for 15 - 20 jobs per week for nearly two months without securing an interview. I’m pleased to say this turned around after obtaining a first interview which led to an offer! But that was just the beginning of the challenges I have faced in my career.
Over the last 10 years, I have had to show resilience in fighting to be recognised as a woman in Tech and I believe this has helped me get to where I am today. Although the process can be uncomfortable and challenging, I view it as an opportunity for personal growth. By actively addressing and confronting biases, I have not only become stronger myself but also found the ability to assist and empower other women in similar situations.
I actively pursue growth, embrace new responsibilities, and boldly voice my ambitions to my manager. I’ve discovered the importance of advocating for myself. I also regularly engage with our Employee Resource Groups, which has empowered me to champion the needs of marginalised individuals and drive meaningful transformations in policies, practices, and culture within the organisation. Most importantly, I have learned to acknowledge and celebrate my achievements and give myself credit for the progress I make.
Deliveroo were part of a panel at Women of Silicon Roundabout where resilience was a key topic of discussion. Did you take away any key learnings that you could share with us?
It was really inspiring to hear stories from the amazing women at Deliveroo. Everybody goes through difficult times and it is important that we support each other. It also re-emphasized the fact that each person has a different way of dealing with adversity.
When I find myself facing difficult situations, the initial step I take is acknowledging my current state and understanding my emotions. This recognition plays a significant role as it enables me to explore strategies to overcome that particular adversity. There is no one size fits all. It has taken me a considerable amount of time to discover what methods work best for me, but eventually, we all find our own path.
Do you have any advice for women or other minority groups who are trying to out a career in Tech?
Firstly, always be yourself. As a neurodivergent woman of colour, I spent the first few years of my professional life in the UK trying to blend in, which was exhausting. If you are not accepted for who you are, then it is probably not the right place for you. I’ve learned that sometimes the best thing you can do is to walk away from situations/places where you don’t feel you aren’t valued or can’t be yourself. Nothing is worth your mental health!
Secondly, play to your strengths. One of the best pieces of advice I got from my mentor was to find a role that combines my strengths with my passion. When you focus on your strengths, you tap into your natural talents, abilities, and skills. This allows you to perform at your best and achieve higher levels of success. Focusing on your strengths doesn’t mean ignoring areas of improvement. The idea is to strike a balance between leveraging your strengths and acquiring new competencies to become a well-rounded individual.
As a neurodivergent person, are there any tools, or techniques which have helped you in your day-day work or life?
It is important to communicate your needs, preferences, and strengths to your manager and other colleagues. Having a supportive and inclusive environment that appreciates and values neurodiversity is essential.
One thing I personally found useful is joining a community or Employee Resource Group where you feel safe to share and learn from others in the community.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s journey is unique, and what works for one person may not be the same for another. So, my last piece of advice would be to try out different opportunities and see what works for you.