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!

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