Sukanya Pani

Alumni on the Move - June 2016

Andreas Winardi   Asian Discovery, Class of 2014

Andreas Winardi

Asian Discovery, Class of 2014

Andreas recently accepted a position at Trane/Ingersoll Rand Company in Bellevue, WA as their Strategic Solution Project Developer. Andreas worked for Puget Sound Energy for the last 6 years as Sr. Energy Management Engineer.

When I was at PSE, I was in a good job, where the schedule was right, I had work-life balance, a great boss and colleagues, and good pay where I could comfortably support my family. I was also growing and contributing in the community. The problem was that I was getting too comfortable at PSE and reached my growth potential. 

The light came on for me when my boss (an EDI Alumni) told me early in 2016 that he was worried that he may not be able to offer any more challenges for me at the current level, especially in the technical side of the coin. I had all the technical certifications that he suggested, and even more, went to all the trainings, managed projects, even a very complex one for the team, and managed programs for the departments. He is a very technical person and a wise man and I consider him as my mentor who cares not just for my performance but for me as a person. So when he mentioned that in our one-on-one meeting early in January this year, I took notice.

I completed my MBA in August 2015, and I did have several opportunities presented to me. This particular one came up late in 2015, but due to my vacation schedule and a family emergency that required me to be out of the country for more than 2 months, I put it on hold. After everything calmed down, I finally was able to think about these opportunities. This particular position really interested me, since it is in a Sales Office, and in my 12+ years career, I’ve never worked in a Sales Department. Nevertheless, I always feel satisfied when I can pick holes out of a sales proposal, so it is interesting to be part of the team, and again, I think it is a great opportunity. It will be good to develop myself and learn more about Business Development.  

EDI really influenced me especially the risk session. I still remember – Nothing Risked – Nothing Gained. It was also interesting since during the process of getting this position, I was in a meeting where my CEO at PSE was there and she gave a speech about trying to ensure that employees don’t get too comfortable in any given position.  She always looks for ways to grow her employees and to be on the “Mid” circle (where growth takes place) instead of the center.

It was interesting, since I was struggling to make the decision to go or not to go and after that presentation, I made my decision to move on. It will be an adventure to go back and work for a global company, from PSE with over 3,000 employees to Trane/IR with over 50,000 employees worldwide.

As I look back on my development, EDI really influenced/ helped me in deciding to accept this position. I have always excelled due to my technical skills which is what allowed me to move forward in my career and into the various positions that I’ve held.  After EDI, I am striving to grow intentionally on my soft skills (presentations, dealing with people and especially perceptions).  One of my mentors who is also an EDI graduate really influenced me and held me accountable for what I wanted to achieve.

This year, I’m volunteering my time as a program chair for EDI to develop myself and learn how to manage the program and to learn more about non-profits.  I’m using this as a learning laboratory to improve my skill set. 

Advice that I’d like to share is that the best way to prosper yourself is to prosper others. Also, if you are not continually learning and upgrading your skills, somewhere, someone else is.  When you meet that person, you will lose. Get out of your comfort zone, and start to work on prospering others and your life will prosper. 

Sukanya Pani    Asian Discovery, Class of 2013

Sukanya Pani

 Asian Discovery, Class of 2013

I have had the privilege of serving our community for over 10 years working with non-profits to address issues concerning workforce, housing, domestic violence, and more that are critical to ensuring individuals and families have access to opportunities and resources to thrive and be self-sufficient. I am excited to continue to serve the community in my new capacity as the Deputy Director - Operations at Seattle Jobs Initiative (SJI). SJI has been a pioneer in the workforce development community and has continued to innovate through program, policy and consulting to bring about systemic change to support individuals, families and communities with living wage careers. It is an honor to be a part of an organization that is committed to making our diverse communities stronger through training and careers and the mission speaks to my belief that education and employment opportunities are integral human rights.  In my new role, I will be working to create, align and strengthen systems, processes and resources both internally and externally for SJI to support the innovative work that the organization undertakes in our communities.

I was provided the opportunity to participate in the EDI Discovery Program through the Tateuchi Foundation Scholarship when I was working as the Director of Student Services at Year Up Puget Sound. I feel extremely indebted to EDI, Mrs. Tateuchi and Year Up Puget Sound for the support they provided me during the whole year to complete the EDI program. Being a first generation immigrant, I often second-guessed myself and my leadership style as I felt it wasn’t a part of the “mainstream” even within the non-profit community that often is more embracing of diversity. In the EDI program I was able to identify that my leadership style has numerous cultural influences and rather than molding it into what I thought was expected of me, if I embraced the same and built on it, it became a unique strength that I could bring to many spaces.

I had my son a year after graduating from the EDI program and even though it has been the most beautiful experience of my life and I would never wish anything different, professionally I felt that I was hitting the glass ceiling in my professional growth that many working mothers face. I value stability, and at one point I started to realize that I needed to push myself to embrace the learning from EDI, that taking risks was an extremely important part of professional growth. As I was struggling through this, I continued to tap into my learnings from EDI (values of compromise and conflict avoidance at times may not work and it is important to speak up for yourself and for others)  and have learned to advocate for a workplace that not only values the diversity of who I am and proud to be (woman, first generation immigrant, parent etc.), but also ensures that it paves the way for others who are often impacted by the glass ceiling because of who they are (race, sex, gender, age, ability etc.).

I feel extremely fortunate to have had numerous mentors all throughout who have continued to invest in me and push me to do and be better. EDI’s continued focus on the richness of the mentor-mentee relationship has helped me be both a better mentee and a mentor. I have specifically greatly valued the opportunity to observe, learn and be mentored by leaders, many of whom are people of color, who are authentic to who they are and their cultural background and build on that to be effective and make a difference in the community. I aspire and am committed to being a leader that is authentic, builds on the strength of my cultural background and provides the same opportunity to others as I have transitioned into a new leadership role of Deputy Director-Operations with SJI.