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Women in Consulting: “Measure Yourself with Internal Yardsticks of Responsibility, Courage, and Emotional Fortitude”

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On this issue of #WomenInConsulting, we are featuring Shikshya Khatiwada – the Business Development Executive at IBM Services. She shares her favorite part of working at IBM, her passion and advice on finding a mentor.

Name: Shikshya Khatiwada
Position/Positions Held at IBM: Business Development Executive
Current Work Location: 63 Madison Avenue
Length of Employment at IBM: 2+ years

What do you do in your current role and what are you known for at the company?
I am a Business Development Executive. My superpower is simplification! Especially in a “buzzword” rich industry like technology consulting, jargons dominate a lot of our client presentations and even CXO studies/research.  My role has always been to find the easiest way to communicate our key value propositions to our sales teams and our clients. My yardstick usually is- if I can’t explain it to my mother, then I am not doing a good job!

Where’s your favorite vacation spot and who do you take?
I am always up for a trip to Yosemite National Park!

What is one of your most important professional achievements (most rewarding experience in your career to date)?
I can honestly say that any professional achievement pales in comparison to the long-standing relationships I have built with individuals that I have worked with over the years. I am so proud to call these dynamic individuals my mentors, my confidantes and my closest allies!

What’s your advice for finding a mentor or coach and are there any specific career development opportunities that have helped you the most in your career with IBM?
I have never found mentors by searching for them. It has always been a natural progression from a working relationship of some sort. Whether it was a second line manager that I helped support outside my day-to-day work, or a person I admired that I decided to write a white paper with, it always started with- “how can I help make this individual successful?”  When you begin with the mentor’s success in mind, a long-term relationship is built that can be nurtured once reciprocity ensures. Mentorship isn’t transactional, it is a deep commitment to each-others’ success; and those relationships usually can’t be built by – “oh will you please be my mentor? I can learn a lot from you!” Constantly try to figure out how you can add value to the person that you most admire and do the work first… mentorship will follow.

What valuable advice have you received in your career that helped get you here?
“Measure yourself with internal yardsticks of responsibility, courage and emotional fortitude. They are more important than the external yardsticks of career progression, paychecks or net worth.” With experience, I have realized the former is the process and the latter are the goals. Centering on the process actually makes the goals easier to accomplish. Focusing on the latter usually just makes you anxious and stressed out!

Interested in a career in consulting? Check out Women at IBM Services  or sign up the IBM Talent Network for more information and career opportunities!


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