GoBarefoot: If I turn back and see the last four years of my journey as an engineering student, I find three major pillars that deserve the credit of my success – family, college, and Katalyst. The first two are common to most students but the third is special and the most significant.
Katalyst, an NGO started in 2007, works for the continual elevation and transformation of young women from low income communities to lead change in their professional and personal spheres of life. It provides an enabling environment through specific development interventions such as skill enhancement, mentors, internships and exposure visits thereby creating women leaders who are economically and socially empowered.
The intensive programs and professional training made a significant difference in shaping my career. The aptitude training, group discussions, mock interviews (technical, managerial and HR) were so useful that I have never failed in an Aptitude or a GD round in any of the interviews that I have given. Apart from that the soft skills training helped improve my communication skills and my personality.
These days having a computer is a necessity but there was a time when I couldn’t afford one. But under Katalyst’s laptop scheme, I got one at a subsidised price and could finish my final year project. Katalyst ensured that be it providing training or financial support, no hurdle should be able to stop us from succeeding.
The wonderful thing about the programme is that it provides holistic training. Attending classes and technical trainings according to the requirements of the industries is great and useful but Katalyst works to impart real-life knowledge through leadership roles, volunteering activities, and organising events. I loved the field visits which exposed us to the corporate culture and its environment. It was a great opportunity to visit organisations like Goldman Sachs, Cisco, Siemens, and SKF and interact with people there.
However, the biggest influencer has been the mentorship program.
My first mentor is, and I say ‘is’ because the relationship never truly ends. I still call and seek advice and guidance from my mentors. Pradeep Kumar, an energetic and enthusiastic person, taught me about projects, its selection, planning, literature survey, execution, and evaluating the outcomes. The biggest lesson has been about how to handle failure.
My second mentor, Aditya Dogra from Cisco, helped me get a project opportunity from the government. My third mentor, Dr. Mukul Saxena from Siemens taught me one of the most important lessons: “Follow your passion and never give up”. When the going gets tough, this is what keeps me going.
Katalyst has been my strength and a support system in getting me where I am today. Working at Siemens would have been just a dream had it not been for the education and training I received at Katalyst.
The icing on the cake: they haven’t just helped me in terms of education but have also resurrected my childhood passion of dancing. I have always wanted to learn Bharatanatyam but never got an opportunity. Recently, Fund a Child in India supported me to learn the danceform. I further trained other girls in Katalyst and together we performed at the Katalyst’s Annual Convention.
Everybody can see a kite flying in the sky, but nobody notices the thread which is the reason for the kite to soar. Katalyst has been the thread for my success.
Chaithra B, 4th year B.E
Cambridge Institute of Technology