Distinguished business and technology leader Chandrika Shrinivasan empowers students with opportunities in STEM and is helping the next generation of mentors find their voice.

Shrinivasan started her career as a software programmer and advanced to an executive role managing multi-million dollar portfolios for Tata Consultancy Services. She provides thought leadership for clients on their business and technology roadmap and conceives, designs and delivers solutions to support growth in their businesses.

Having experienced the power of an influential mentor early on in her career, she now serves as a mentor to middle and high school students and to corporate associates. She cites the mentorship she received early on by a colleague as an inflection point in her career. In a recent STEM talk to students, ‘Dare to dream and never lose hope,’ Chandrika talked about the importance of dreaming of a future that seems beyond reach today.

In the words of Chandrika Shrinivasan:

How is the world changing with respect to STEM?
“Every aspect of our lives is touched by STEM – from the cars we drive to the printing of a grocery bill. STEM careers themselves are evolving with the advent of more advanced smart phones, social media and artificial intelligence. I think we are looking at STEM pushing us to reinvent ourselves every few years.”

How can the world increase diversity in STEM fields?
“Diversity can be increased in the STEM fields by reaching students when they are young. Instilling a love of math and science early on and its application in day-to-day life is essential. One other area I believe will help increase diversity is in understanding how to circumnavigate roadblocks. As you move up the corporate ladder, there will be times when you must lead teams to overcome obstructions – both business and self-imposed through determination and a positive outlook. “

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?
“From my own experience, having a strong network of support is essential. This can happen on many levels from one-on-one mentoring to small support groups. And in addition to the confidence and support women can gain from each other, even something as simple as spreading the message that there is no such thing as a ‘super-woman’ and that asking for help is ‘OK’ can be a powerful motivator when obstacles seem insurmountable.”

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?

“The right strides are being made but we have a long way to go. I see a lot of women taking up challenging and leadership roles. I hope that each of these women sets an example for other aspiring young women to take up STEM jobs. Technology does provide an incredible platform for women to advance.”