Generational Inspiration - The Power of Diversity in STEM


"Inspiration comes in many forms, and moments of inspiration can be fleeting. Some of the most thought-provoking and inspiring moments come from learning new ways of looking at things from people who bring unique perspective to the table. This isn’t limited to networking or technology – it transcends the workplace and permeates throughout our lives. 

With sources of inspiration come barriers – some people face more challenges than others when it comes to letting their inspiration flourish. This is why it is important to not only recognize but elevate and celebrate the individuals who face these challenges and continue to rise above.  

Today, in honor of International Women in Engineering Day, we are taking the opportunity to recognize our outstanding female engineers, all of whom bring diversity of thought, culture and opinion to Extreme Networks. Each one of them serves as a source of inspiration to future generations of outstanding women in STEM." - Nabil Bukhari, CPO & CTO, Extreme Networks 

To celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, we sat down with three of Extreme’s engineers and asked them two simple questions: What inspired them to pursue a career in STEM? And, what was a moment in their career they felt inspired and empowered?  

Here's what they said: 

Rekha Krishna – Director, Product Management 

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering? 

A: I got my very first computer in grade 11 and that was the beginning of my journey in engineering starting with what makes up the computer - CPU, memory, processors etc. I chose to major in Computer Science when I went to college. I enjoyed writing programs for websites as part of my engineering course in college, and I have always loved to build products and love playing with gadgets. In fact, I am one of those people who cannot sleep at night if the gadget that just got shipped to my house is not completely explored - be it access points, smartphones, smartwatches, cleaning robots, IP cameras and so on. 

Q: What was a moment in your career that made you feel empowered or inspired? 

A: While working for my former employer, I introduced a flexible licensing model for my product line which got implemented in fewer than 6 months and resulted in 150% year-over-year growth. In fact, the licensing model was so successful that even after I left the company, they extended to other product lines to provide the same flexibility to customers. To this day, I am very proud of this. One more inspirational work I did was early in my career when I built the very first automation suite for the user interface and command line which reduced testing time by 70 percent. The automation code I wrote was used for more than eight years even after I left the company. 

Kathy Marble – Director, Software Applications Engineering 

A: My inspiration to pursue a career in engineering came from my exposure to computer programming. I was fascinated with the ability to control how a computer behaves and the logical thinking and problem solving that was involved. It was also very satisfying to come up with solutions and be able to implement them in code. The more I learned about computer science, the more I enjoyed it, especially as I continued to successfully build my skills and confidence. 

A: One of the most impactful moments early in my career came from when my mother was in the hospital in the cardiac intensive care unit (ICU) after a heart valve replacement. I remember looking up at the patient monitoring device that was tracking her vitals and I was both alarmed and relieved to see it was a product from my current company. I was alarmed because the first thing I thought of was known software bugs, but then relieved to also know the rigor of quality testing that went into that product.  That experience instilled in me a heightened personal commitment to code quality and great satisfaction seeing how software engineering can have a direct impact on people’s lives. 

Seema Meethale – Manager of QA Engineering 

A: Since childhood, science and technology has fascinated me. As a young mind, I got an effective STEM education ecosystem in school. Projects I did during my bachelor's and master's degrees gave me a good insight into Engineering and to explore the impact of technology. I wanted to be in a profession which involves problem solving, critical thinking, and allows me to be at the intersection of innovation and technology. This led me to pursue a career in STEM.  

A: There have been several occasions when project quality ownership and trust from management has made me feel empowered. Driving quality engineering projects for cloud and wireless products leading to successful releases – especially with the first-to-market cloud-managed Wi-Fi 6E access point – have been truly empowering. When I am part of a successful release, or when I am challenged by a project, I think of a quote by Theodore Roosevelt: “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Working in engineering is hard work, and I feel it is more than worth doing. 


About the Author
Nabil-Bukhari Headshot.jpg
Nabil Bukhari
Chief Product and Technology Officer, GM of Subscription Business

Nabil serves as the Chief Product and Technology Officer, and GM of Extreme’s subscription business. In his role, Nabil leads the vision, strategy, execution and delivery of Extreme’s suite of differentiated products and technologies, driving an ever-improving experience for customers.

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