With strong technical skills and a penchant for art and craft, Keerthana Kolandasamy, Senior Lead – Technical Solutions and this year’s Mentoring Champion, joins us for a conversation on her 8-year-long journey at Soliton, her key strategies for guiding her team members, the challenges she faces in mentoring during the virtual mode of work and more.
What are the key rules that you follow to mentor someone?
The most crucial aspect in mentoring someone is communication. This helps me understand where they stand, what might be missing, and where they require help/ guidance. Also, I analyze the work they do, which gives me insights into each one’s key focus areas. At Soliton, everyone has the passion, dedication, and willingness to grow. A small nudge in the right path is all they require to move ahead.
How do you encourage innovative ideas?
An open platform without any hierarchy serves as the best place to invite and encourage creative ideas. Proper acknowledgment and recognition of the idea, right from the nascent stages, results in a greater expression of the idea and leads to a new solution at the end!
Who was your mentor and what were some of the key skills that you learnt from him/her?
To start with, I don’t just have one or two mentors. Over the years, every manager/lead whom I have worked have contributed to my growth in some way. From writing better emails to becoming a confident communicator, each person has groomed me to make me what I am today.
What is your biggest strength as a mentor?
I build a good rapport with my team through one-on-one meetings and this, I feel, is my greatest strength. These meetings help me understand each one’s strengths and weaknesses. Then I let them share their thoughts about themselves and share my analysis as well. This way, we arrive at common interests and goals to move forward.
Could you tell us about your journey at Soliton?
My journey at Soliton began almost 8 years ago. My transition from campus to corporate happened in just a matter of 3 days- my last working day at college was on a Friday and I joined Soliton on the following Monday! (laughs) My career track here has been unique, as I have had a chance to work on multiple projects across a vast tech stack. I am mostly involved in the initial phases of a project to get the team and the project into a rhythm, and this has helped me learn throughout the journey.
How does your typical day goes like?
I begin my day at 8 am or 9 am- start off by reviewing the status of projects and tasks and plan my day accordingly. I then connect with my team for about 30-45 mins during our sync-up. Following this, I meet with the other leads and managers to get a high-level overview of the road ahead. I then attend my core job- reviewing code, debugging, and connecting with the team members in need of help. My late evenings (beyond 6 pm) are allocated for customer calls.
What does your team like best in you?
That I am one among them. I work along with them without just delegating tasks. If a task is getting delayed, I stay with them until it’s done.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I love to dance! Though not professionally trained, I enjoy it as a hobby. I am also interested in DIY art and craft like crochet, jewelry making, and pencil sketching.
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