UMA Fellows' Interviews

We’re excited to share the success of an Umaship at a technology company’s New York City office and how it turned into a rewarding career for an Uma Fellow….

Doran Jones Inc. is a women-owned Digital and Information Technology Consulting & Services firm specializing in Risk and Regulatory Compliance comprising a diverse team of professionals from various top tier financial organizations. To round out their team, they were looking for an employee to spearhead talent acquisition as well as have a strong technical background, so they turned to Uma.


At the same time, Vaishnavi Venugopal, a former software engineer on Wall Street, was reevaluating her future career goals and her work/life balance.


Following a successful six-month Umaship, Doran Jones and Vaishnavi decided to make their union permanent. We were pleased to sit down with Vaishnavi and Doran Jones to hear about their partnership. It’s a terrific story—one that shows firsthand how companies can create opportunities that match the lifestyle goals of diverse women, resulting in a win for corporations and the women they hire.


Uma: What was your previous career path and what were your thoughts about returning to work?


Vaishnavi Venugopal (VG): I was a successful software engineer on Wall street for 10+ years. However, my work hours as a programmer were 10+ hours from the office during the day, and I would login after getting home. With constant product releases I was working weekends as well. This lifestyle was a challenge after having children so I took a two year career break after I had my second child. This was a big step for me as I was doing very well in my career, but I also knew I was ready for the new phase in my life. I enjoyed every moment with my children, and as my youngest reached toddlerhood, I felt ready to get back into the workforce.


Uma: What motivated you to return to work?


VG: I always loved my work, especially the independence it gave me, which I missed when I was a full time mom. Although being able to spend time with my children full time was so rewarding, I missed the part of me before having children. Not just my passion for coding and technology, but I missed having a social life. So I made the decision to return to work. Mom-life balance was important to me just like we all like having a work-life balance.


Uma: What was the “perfect” job for you?


VG: Ideally I wanted a job with flexibility in work hours, so that I could be available when my kids needed me for school events, in case of illness, help with homework and afterschool. I also wanted to continue my career in technology as I was really good at it!


Uma: What intrigued you about Uma and the concept of the Umaship?


VG: There are many Returnship programs out there but what’s different about an Umaship is that you have an option for soft re-entry back to work and the guidance and coaching throughout the entire job application process. It was invaluable to be mentored and constantly supported before, after and during the process.


Uma: Did you find Uma Academy helpful in your Umaship placement?


VG: As I was thinking about next steps, Uma Academy was particularly helpful for career direction and strategy. I was essentially switching careers from programming to technical recruiting, so the guidance I received on updating my resume to tailor my past skills and interview preparation were vital.


Uma: How was your Umaship structured?


VG: I was offered a period of soft-entry for 6 months, if required, which Uma worked closely with my hiring manager to structure. As it happens, after the first few days, I felt very comfortable in ramping up my hours a lot sooner, as my daughter had started pre-school and I had found a reliable nanny, so Uma structured the ramp up.


Uma: How do you assess the way the Umaship and now your job met your career goals?


VG: I cannot thank Uma enough for the opportunity to get back into the workforce as a technical recruiter. This was not an easy transition given I had no prior experience in recruiting, but Uma worked diligently to build upon my skills and find the right opportunity. Career changes are a tough choice to make and even tougher to prove yourself in a new area, but I was lucky that Uma and Doran Jones recognized my past credentials and gave me the chance to prove myself.


Returnship programs help women return to existing fields of work, whereas Uma helped me transition from one career to another without compromising on my past work experience!


Uma: You mentioned the importance of work-life balance, especially as a working mom. Do you feel you have achieved that at Doran Jones?


VG: Yes absolutely, the team are so supportive. It’s important for me to attend school events and also get home in time to help with homework. And of course when sickness strikes, I am on mommy duty! As much as I love working, my family will always be my first priority. The support I received from my husband and children has been a major motivator in my life and is what ultimately encouraged me to pursue my career.


Uma: Are there any stereotypes you would like to challenge on women returning to work?


VG: We are more present at home when we have time for ourselves be it work or a hobby, and are more productive at work as we are used to juggling multiple responsibilities.


Uma: Do you have any advice for women who are returning to work after a break?


VG: Do what makes you happy. In my case it was returning to work with the comfort of knowing I can manage my family’s needs and my job. And you won’t regret it. Things will fall into place, and your family will also adjust to your new lifestyle. Go for it and you will be a happier person!

  • Share