Reflections from Rome: Avanade Leadership Program for Women brings together 32 managers from across the globe

  • Posted on January 28, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
Reflections from Rome: Avanade Leadership Program for Women brings together 32 managers from across the globe

For three days in January, 32 of Avanade’s most accomplished and promising women managers came together in Rome for the annual Avanade Leadership Program for Women (ALPW). Participants traveled from across the globe to collaborate and learn from the program, but more importantly from each other. Many of them struggled to define what made the three days so impactful, describing ALPW as an experience that must be lived to be understood. In their own words, four of the women explain what made ALPW meaningful to them.

Leandra Schrag, Manager, Change Enablement

Before Avanade, I’d never lasted longer than five years at any one organization – I either grew beyond the opportunities that were available to me at a company or got bored and needed to look elsewhere for something that would peak my interest. But with Avanade, that restlessness has been calmed by the breadth of opportunities and experiences available to me. The ALPW is no exception – this event was something I had aspired to attend from the moment I’d learned about it. It signaled a recognition of my potential and really brought home to me the fact that I can do so much more – and that Avanade is here to support me in that. It told me that Avanade is just as interested in my success as I am. That is hugely meaningful to someone who has spent at least half of her career working to grow on her own, without the support or backing of an employer. Knowing that I have the breadth and depth of Avanade’s considerable resources behind me is both humbling and thrilling. 

Negar Farjadnia, Group Manager, Infrastructure 

I went to ALPW with ZERO expectations. I heard that this was one of the best trainings at Avanade from previous participants but wasn’t given detail beyond that. I have been to similarly branded trainings with previous employers, and everything discussed was often forgotten just a few weeks or month following the training. Now that I am a graduate of ALPW, I can see why others didn’t give me many details. We didn’t learn through books, slides or exams, but by being present; it is a true human way to learn through sharing experiences and getting to know yourself by asking questions.  

Even though we were at separate tables, we discussed everything as one big amazing group of women with a common goal. From translating from Japanese to English and back, to trying new foods together or pouring wine for each other at dinner table (or much later into the night) and then dancing to karaoke, we were just really there to support each other and make sure we were all taking it all in and having a great time. We laughed and cried, we held hands and imagined together, and we learned so much through all of these feelings! Everyone in the class left this program with planned next steps to make an impact.   

Hilde Wong, Manager, Delivery Management 

It was a complete surprise when I was selected for ALPW! There are so many high performers throughout the world at Avanade, and I questioned what qualified me to participate in this program. When I arrived in Rome for the first day, I was surrounded by incredible, intelligent women, and I felt myself getting excited about being a part of such an excellent group. During the program, I learned the importance of dealing with my inner critic and the seven common hurdles each of us face. Dealing with all of this together made me realize that we aren’t alone in our struggles, and it became clear to me how important it is that I support the women around me to success. This network of encouragement is what we need to make Avanade an even more incredible workplace for women. I have been with Avanade for more than five years now, and after ALPW, I see how much more I have to learn and grow here. 

Joanna Lee, Manager, CRM Business Analysis

The program gave me a unique opportunity to work with executive leadership coaches and senior Avanade leaders to strengthen my leadership skills, learn from the different career experiences and network with high potential women in Avanade. Everything I learned, I will apply not only to my current role, but to the rest of my career at Avanade. It means a lot to me to be selected for ALPW, especially it was a recognition from the higher management in Avanade for my performance and for my leadership potential. Their willingness to invest me makes me want to become better and to contribute back to Avanade.  

Watch the blog for more reflections from ALPW in the coming weeks.


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