Two leading participants in the Women’s Professional Network (WPN) program are Kamakshi Rambhatla and Sharon Davis. From differing backgrounds, both attested to the value of the program in bringing together employees and creating opportunities for growth.
Rambhatla joined Bombardier Australia in 2011 as an electrical engineer after holding roles as a software engineer at General Electric and before that for a company that made simulators for aircrafts for the Indian Airforce. Taking on the role of Testing and Commissioning Engineer in 2017, Rambhatla has worked on Bombardier’s VLocity trains, the Melbourne LRVs and Adelaide trains.
For Davis, working at Bombardier was an opportunity for her to re-enter the workforce after having children. Starting out in marketing and communications, for the past six years Davis has filled the role of HR business partner. In addition to roles on the Melbourne and Adelaide fleet, Davis also worked on the Rail Systems Alliance project.
Both were involved in the Women’s Professional Network and found the connections enabled them to expand their skills to new areas.
“WPN has given me an opportunity to interact and work with some exceptionally talented people I would have never crossed paths with otherwise,” said Rambhatla. “Such platforms encourages one to explore one’s interests and passions along with broadening one’s network, learning new skills and sharpen existing skills along the way.”
Davis explained that the WPN led her to work outside of her specific area and in her case began working on bids as well as strategies to grow the pipeline of women.
“Diversity and inclusion is often considered the domain of human resources. But for diversity and inclusion to thrive, people managers at all levels of the organisation need to own it and walk the talk, from the very point of job design.
“More recently there has been the opportunity to review the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the flow on to redesigning wellness programs across the business,” said Davis.
With training and development selected by the members of the WPN as the highest priority, both Rambhatla and Davis has been involved in passing on skills and knowledge.
“It was my privilege to host interns in the testing & commissioning department and for the WPN program at BT,” said Rambhatla.
“It was immensely satisfying to mentor interns from under-graduate, post graduate and professional development programs and give them an in-sight into of how things are done in the ‘real world’. It was gratifying to know that the students felt a sense of accomplishment at the end of their internship, knowing well, that their contribution was valued and was being used.”
With these experiences so far, Davis has been able to broaden the impact of the WPN to beyond Bombardier by working with the ARA and St Kilda Gatehouse.“The way we operate as a company and contribute to the communities in which we work are key drivers of the change effort,” she said.
As Rambhatla highlights, the rewards have been both personal and professional.
“If I can through my presence or interaction, inspire students or fellow women to consider a career in rail, I would love to be part of that journey – their journey.”