Q&A with Sharmila Gade - United Hub

Q&A with Sharmila Gade

By The Hub team, March 16, 2018

Sharmila Gade speaking at an event.

In honor of Women's History Month, we are sharing stories of the inspired and strong women of United, like Sharmila Gade. Sharmila, Senior Project Manager - Sales & Commercial Strategy, champions projects that improve United's sales effectiveness.

1. Who is a woman who has inspired you?

I was born and raised in India. My mother is the primary inspiration and influence in my life. My mother did not have an opportunity to go to school as our family is into farming. She always encouraged and influenced me as much as she can that allowed me to break the social barriers and societal stereotypes. Education is a fundamental right and I highly value and encourage women's education and economic independence as it is still perceived as an unnecessary indulgence in many parts of India. I have couple of degrees that includes Masters in Mechanical Engineering, degree from Stanford in Advanced Project Management and I am currently pursuing Executive MBA at Kellogg school of management and I am certain the journey does not stop here

2. What challenges have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

I started my career as a Mechanical Engineer in a shop floor environment back in India for an automotive company where you stand for hours on the shop floor surrounded by men and machines. This experience was very challenging and intensive but certainly helped me later on dealing with plant and assembly line environments when I moved to United Sates and took a job in Supply chain at Daimler Chrysler. The whole supply chain process helped me draw parallels and shape my strategic thinking and execution of projects programs very efficiently and effectively which is very similar to assembling a car end to end on a line station. The biggest challenge was for me to understand the culture in United States and thrive as member of the team and build relationships. But I overcame this challenge by being an empathic listener, learning about other people in ways that enable them to appeal to their unique needs and sensibilities. I trust my skills, gut and intuition and leverage these strengths as a woman in a strong and a powerful way.

3. Who at United has helped you succeed?

I joined United as an independent contractor and helped implement Transatlantic and Pacific JVs in Alliance space and got hired in 2014. I have collaborated with many leaders and my peers and team members during several project discussions and gained valuable inputs and insights from all the project stakeholders and this helps make better decisions with a well-rounded view of the project and drive the execution successfully. I am always grateful to all the leaders and coworkers that I work with on a day to day basis for their guidance and feedback that makes me a better person and a leader. I am fortunate to be part of uIMPACT leadership team as a Treasurer for last 2 years and there is no other better way for me to contribute meaningfully for the purpose of women advancement.

4. What's the best part of your job?

The best of my job is to solve problems by collaborating cross functionally, analyze options, see the bigger picture, initiate projects and effectively convey that vision to all the stakeholders and get them onboard to execute it right to deliver value. Defining and executing a strategy in terms of programs and projects successfully is similar to climbing Mt Everest and successful teams that get to the summit climb as a tight knit group. They climb as one, summit as one and descend as one.

5. What advice would you give to girls or other women to help them succeed?

If people ever doubt and judge you how far you can go, go so far that you cannot hear them anymore!

This quote really applies to my life story.

6. Is there anything else you'd like to say or any other stories you'd like to share?

I proudly own my story, my trials, tribulations and accomplishments so far and I believe I have lot more to achieve with integrity and courage and pass on the torch to my amazing daughter and many more aspiring women! I am proud of my 10 year old daughter who got selected for U.S National Level swimming and I am super excited for her!

Celebrating immigration perspectives and diverse journeys

By The Hub team, September 25, 2020

From Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, the U.S. celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month, a chance to pay tribute to the history, culture and contributions that generations of Latinxs have paved to enrich U.S. history. It is also a reminder to celebrate our differences and spark difficult, yet important, conversations.

To kick off the month, UNITE, our multicultural business resource group for employees, did just that by hosting a panel discussion about the immigrant experience and what it means to be an immigrant in the U.S.

United Litigation and Managing Counsel Elizabeth Lopez, who is a pro bono immigration attorney, moderated the panel, and was joined by Ashley Huebner, Associate Director of Legal Services at the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) and Magdalena Gonzalez, Program Manager, Leadership Development Programs at Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement. The three women shared their insights and personal stories, while addressing some misconceptions and highlighting the contributions of immigrants to our company and country.

Participants' headshots from United's Hispanic Heritage Month Panel From left to right, Elizabeth Lopez, Ashely Huebner and Magdalena Gonzalez

"I started to notice that there were things I was scared of doing, that I needed to be cautious," said Magdalena while sharing her personal experience as a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient. "My friends, who a majority of them are citizens, did not need to worry about that. As I was able to see that, I realized that, 'oh, there's so many things that revolve around not just being a DACA recipient but revolve around being a person with an undocumented status here in the United States.'"

United maintains a close relationship with the NIJC. In May of 2019, United co-hosted an asylum clinic put on by the legal services organization, where several attorneys and legal professionals were trained on representing asylum-seeking applicants. At the end of the clinic, members of our legal department were assigned an asylum case through the NIJC.

Litigation Managing Counsel Elizabeth Lopez, Commercial Transactions Counsel Tiffany Jaspers, Global Compliance and Ethics Counsel Nancy Jacobson and Employment Litigation Senior Manager Dorothy Karpierz were partnered with attorneys from the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery to take on an immigration case of a mother of three from Honduras. Recently, after a years-long court battle, the legal team was victorious, changing the life of the woman and her family.

United is committed to connecting people and uniting the world. Whether you're an immigrant, a child of immigrants or simply want to learn more about the immigrant experience in the U.S., discussions like these, related to this hot-button issue, are important to have in order to understand the human lives behind it.

Make your voice heard

By Brett J. Hart, September 22, 2020

Your voice matters. Voting is one of the most influential civic activities we can engage in as Americans. At United, our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. That's why we've long provided our employees with resources to help them get registered to vote.

This year, we're taking our support a step further as the official airline of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Since the start of the pandemic, we've overhauled our cleaning measures through a program we call United CleanPlusSM , and the CPD has placed their trust in United to fly Commission production staff to each of the four debates, starting with the first one on September 29, hosted by Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University.

Today, on National Voter Registration Day, we also want to make sure our customers have access to information about how to participate in the 2020 Election. Over the past several months, you've heard a lot from us about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed air travel. We've learned that with some planning and extra effort, it's still possible — and safe. That's true of voting, too.

No matter which party you support or how you're planning to vote, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and make a plan to vote.

Best,

Brett J. Hart
President
United Airlines

United named to Year Up Opportunity Hall of Fame

By The Hub team, September 17, 2020

Since its launch 20 years ago, Year Up, one of our critical needs grant recipients, has helped more than 10,000 young adults gain access to corporate business and technical experience at large companies like United while offering the invaluable perspectives they bring with them.

On Wednesday, the nonprofit inducted United into its Opportunity Hall of Fame – a selection that occurs once every five years.

Year Up's mission is to help close the opportunity divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Since 2018, our partnership has allowed talented student learners the opportunity to gain corporate business experience and technical skill training at the airline while bringing their unique perspectives to our United family and culture. One of those students is Emily Lopez, who graduated from the Year Up program in January 2019 and was hired to be part of the United family as an analyst in Revenue Management.

"I moved from Venezuela to the United States in July 2016 and being a young immigrant with no resources can be difficult to pursue a career in a new country," said Emily.

After learning about Year Up and ultimately being accepted into the program, Emily landed an internship with United, an opportunity she is very grateful for.

Emily Lopez - Analyst, Pricing & Revenue Management

"Feedback from my mentors, coaches and managers was key during my internship phase and helped me convert my internship at United to a full-time position. I am grateful for the opportunity United has provided me and my Year Up Alumni colleagues to keep building a professional career within the company. I am so excited to continue building a professional career with the company and to see United being inducted to Year Up's Hall of Fame. Let's continue closing the opportunity divide!" said Emily.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has made this year's partnership a bit more difficult, we continue to do our part to support the Year Up student learners. Last month, we surprised 145 graduates of this year's Year Up Chicago program with roundtrip tickets to pursue career and networking opportunities within the United States.

"I've been personally honored and inspired to be an advocate for Year Up since I joined United," said CEO Scott Kirby. "This program gives young people from challenged backgrounds an opportunity to get their foot in the door as interns at United. This year's graduates are entering a challenging job landscape, but we have one thing that can help: a route network that provides easy access to major business markets across the United States."

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