Life @ ADP

Season 2 Episode 6: Grace Hopper Celebration Minisode with Jyotsna M.

Episode Summary

For the second installation of our GHC minisode series, Jyotsna M., Director of Product Management at ADP, shares why she is excited to attend Grace Hopper and shares a teaser to her session, "A Secret Guide to Drive Career Growth in Product Management," giving us insights into the differences between being a woman in tech vs. being a woman in STEM.

Episode Transcription

Kate: [00:00:06] All right, so another Life at ADP podcast coming to you. But we've changed the format a little bit, and in honor of the Grace Hopper Celebration being held this month in September 2022, we are meeting with three of our speakers who are representing ADP Tech at Grace Hopper and, Ingrid we are lucky enough to be able to have our speaker today join us. So without further ado, would you like to make the introduction?

Ingrid: [00:00:42] Absolutely. You know, I love to, so let me introduce you to my friend Jyotsna M. She is Director of product management at ADP, and Jyotsna, welcome to Life at ADP, the podcast.

Jyotsna: [00:00:56] Hey, thank you for having me here.

Ingrid: [00:00:58] Absolutely. So since we're speaking about Grace Hopper, why don't you tell us a little bit about why are you so excited to be attending Grace Hopper celebration?

Jyotsna: [00:01:10] What an impactful question, so thank you for asking. So this is my 14th, almost starting my 15th year with ADP, and it will be my second time attending Grace Hopper and second time speaking at the Grace Hopper event. So Grace Hopper, when we look at it, there is history to it, but the impact of it is most powerful as it brings together emerging professionals. So think of the college students, our next-gen students who are attending the event to learn from experience, mentors who are presenting sessions and they are also there meeting their future employers. So the event brings together students, the technical staff, the professionals, working professionals into that format to keep learning from each other, meet people, expand your network connections, and more importantly, be inspired about abundant possibilities. Who you are today is just a starting point, who you can be tomorrow is a world of wide open opportunities. So I'm super excited and feeling blessed to be representing ADP and also attending this event.

Kate: [00:02:19] And Jyotsna, we were we were joking before we went on air if you will, that you're the Grace Hopper veteran of of the group. And I'm really excited to be able to see you speak in person because I know that the 2019 event that you did was just so well received. And I remember you coming back and just being like, it was awesome! People were coming up to the booth at the ADP booth and being like, Oh my gosh, your talk was amazing. So, you know, and just working with you on, on an ongoing basis, you know, your energy is infectious, your passion behind the work that you do at ADP, but also what it means to be part of a collaborative team and then a woman in STEM. You know, all of that together just brings together all of that together. Just brings this force. That's the only way I can put it. So, you know, that being said, can you share with us a little bit about what you're going to be talking about at Grace Hopper

Jyotsna: [00:03:24] Absolutely. And thank you for all the kind words. It's a journey and and all of us, even if you take the seven billion people, we have unique career journeys inspired by where we grew up, what we saw, who are the people who inspired us and what career paths and decisions we have made along the way, right. Literally the journey of a river from origin and it's still an ongoing one. In 2019, I had the opportunity to talk about designing a happy career and loving your work. And this year I'm very fortunate to be presenting the Secret Guide to drive career growth in product management. So it's impactful because the world of work has rapidly been transformed by the digital acceleration. Thank you to the pandemic, right? Everything is digital. You can buy milk on Instacart and do things like that. Everything and finger touch one, tap, one, two, three. And it's done. So as a woman in STEM and attending Grace Hopper, my topic is important because product management is that incubation space. Where are these next ideas being developed? What do we visualize? How do we work with the business? How do we make that meaningful impact to our business, our clients and people like us who happen to be our users? So if I could clarify, right? So think of us. We are people doing our day jobs and let's say we are working in fields A, B and C for different domains, right? Banking, tech, whatever, consumer durables, whatever. But as our paths intertwine and they keep crisscrossing what you learned, and once we are able to apply that outside and thinking to the new feel that we are going into, the new job that we are going into, the new dimension that we are going into. So by taking this approach to go zig-zag and drive your career and within the incubation space. So as a product manager, am I working on front-end mobile apps, for example, for a couple of years. I think that experience and take it into building into a platform where the platform can have not just one mobile application but different product sets coming out of that, right? So taking the experience of what we learn in one current space and applying it to the other one so that together you can build that journey for yourself, a growth zone, and take your expertise to just re-imagine possibilities. It's all waiting out there for us. So deeply thrilled and really excited about this particular topic.

Ingrid: [00:05:58] Wow Jyotsna! I mean, that was amazing. And, you know, definitely driving growth. I know that's something very, very important for you personally, but also, you know, professionally. So along those lines, do you mind maybe talking to us a little bit. What does it mean to be a woman in tech? And also, if you wouldn't mind, tell us about the delineations about being a woman in STEM.

Jyotsna: [00:06:27] That's a wonderful question and thank you for giving us the opportunity. So this is my view of the world. So at school I studied mathematics and I graduated with a degree in mathematics, which we call the primal science, the fundamental science. Now the focus of STEM and all our, you know, from the programs, even ADP supports, right? In the communities STEM workshops and such is just more towards the younger generation. Think of the college students, think of the students in middle school and high school as they are starting to think, What will I become? Who will I become? What do I want to do? We want to encourage them to take in the technology element. So now for technology, the word technology is loaded, yet it tries in to from science, engineering, mathematics, right? So all of this helps us with analytical thinking. When you start thinking analytically and bring it together in a format of technology, you can literally imagine and redesign the entire world. That's the power of technology that inspires the students of STEM to make that difference. So as a student, I look at it from, you know, say, yes, emerging professionals, young students, women in STEM. And as we start getting into a career perspective, I look at it more as a woman in technology have started working in a technology company, you're working on technologies themselves and you are making that impact. So as a woman in tech, I look at the opportunities we learn some things in school. We are learning continuously at work and how can we make an impact for a better tomorrow? That's women in tech, powerful people who are here to redefine the future.

Kate: [00:08:15] That was that was some really powerful.

Ingrid: [00:08:17] Yeah, pretty powerful. Yeah.

Kate: [00:08:20] Information. What would you tell your younger self, right? So little Jyotsna, what would you tell your younger self about your career and your career journey and what would that mean to some young women or women of any age, quite frankly? You know, that may be inspirational for them to hear.

Jyotsna: [00:08:39] You've got me thinking. And the one thing that I continuously wish I had done better was to, you know, develop my own self-confidence and believe in myself a lot more. So growing up and without cultural, you know, aspects of life, I think there's across cultures of women especially, we tend to not speak up about our accomplishments, we hold them back. So that is something that I continuously work towards improving for myself and also working with my mentees in ADP and outside ADP coach and also with our peers coaching each other so that we can be better together. The aspect is that unless you share what is your strength, unless you share what you're passionate about, unless you share what you're curious enough to, you know, roll up your sleeve and get your feet wet and just go figure it out. How would anyone else know? How does your manager know how to support you? So I wish I have been more confident. And that is my, you know, my thoughts to my younger self and to all of us actually speak up about what you do. Tell them why you're so excited about it and what inspires you. Then more people can help you accomplish your dreams by creating and opening those doors. So believe in yourself.

Kate: [00:10:05] So Jyotsna, would you then say that speaking up and sharing, for instance, like what your expectations and hopes are in your role with your people, manager or your teammates has led to greater confidence within yourself?

Jyotsna: [00:10:24] Absolutely. 100%. So I share we have our one-on-one with our managers and it's been always like, you know, we have the standard, so we use the loves and loads, right? So not just that. So that is from a weekly of check-in perspective, but even in the conversations with the manager, it's about like, what is so cool? What did what did I learn? What did I really thrive on? What did I love about? And that becomes the strength, right? That, you know, we talk about the red threads. What do you love about it? It's all connected because that is your zone of strength. That means anything that is aligned to that. Like for me, I'm super curious. Like, I don't know what is the maximum word that you can go for curious. I am that, the highest curiosity quotient. And what happens is that anything that I see, I am naturally driven to learn more about it. And that way I'm inspired to say, okay, if I'm doing something today, how can I do that tomorrow? And will there even be any dots to connect? Right. The curiosity element. But because these come up with the conversations with my managers, with my mentors, and even with my team, we'll be sharing. Like, you know, we were just like reading about this and I found this fascinating, here is an article. It opens up that collaboration forum, and you're talking about things that each of us have interest. It helps us not only to build a team, the strength but also to get to know each other as people. And once we connect those people on a common mission. The possibilities are endless. So that's a strength. So definitely share the aspirations, share what you love, and also ask for guidance from managers because your manager is looking to finish some projects and they're looking for people who are, you know, open to being, you know, comfortable with ambiguity. And why not, just say yes and see where it is and get all the guidance. There's only we can't go wrong. It's a learning journey and you'll be only thankful that you did.

Kate: [00:12:27] It is a learning journey. And I love that you mentioned standout. And so for those of you who are listening to our podcast and are like, what is Stand Out? Stand Out is a tool that we use where instead of like goal setting, how most organizations do, it really allows for two-way conversation, as Jyotsna was saying, you know, for you to share with your people, leader, what you liked about the past week and what you didn't like about the past week. So it really builds a nice a nice level of transparency, and it's a safe space where you're allowed to share those things. And then, you know, it also encourages to a conversation. So Jyotsnaa, a good call out because that does lead to more confidence, especially within your role here at ADP, because you know that you're in an environment of nurturing and where feedback is asked and expected on a weekly basis, so great stuff there. And then the irony is not lost on me or Ingrid that you wish that you could have been more confident earlier on in your career, and here you are speaking at Grace Hopper for the second time on behalf of ADP Tech. So I love it. I'm so proud of you. And to see your growth, you know, since you and I met in 2019. So thank you for joining us today. We had a wonderful time.

Ingrid: [00:14:01] Jyotsna thank you so much. We are we're super, super excited to have you. We know you're going to be doing amazing. You're a veteran at Grace Hopper. But tell the audience about your session.

Jyotsna: [00:14:14] Oh, absolutely. And definitely thank you for the opportunity to be here and, you know, share my learnings. It's a continuous learning process, but I'm speaking as a Grace Hopper event and it's a virtual lightning talk, the TED Talk-style. The topic is a "Secret guide to career growth in product management". The session is scheduled for September 21st at 4 p.m. US Eastern. So we hope you come and not just listen to the session but also to other speakers and be inspired in your journey. Best of luck.

Ingrid: [00:14:43] Thank you, Jyotsna. Good luck.

Kate: [00:14:46] Thank you, Jyotsna.