WCS Member of the Month highlights the amazing stories of female leaders in the industry. This month, we spotlight Sindhu Kotha, Finance and Strategy at Proterra.
Is it true that you found your present job through the WCS Job Board?
Yes, I found my current role at Proterra on the WCS job board!
The job board was an incredibly useful tool that helped me find a position that aligned with my passion for sustainability. The job board, however, is not the only awesome thing about WCS. For instance, the events thrown by WCS are great places to meet like-minded women in the field. Personally, I’ve met countless inspiring women who I’ve learned from and have motivated me in various ways. Also, I am part of the 2019 WCS Mentorship program and have the goal of giving back to the program as much as it has offered me.
Why did you join WCS?
I joined WCS because I believe in women helping women.
Having previously worked in a male-dominated industry, I’ve noticed how male-to-male interactions often result in organic mentorships and candid feedback loops, both integral components to developing and retaining junior-level talent. However, such open rapport and upfront approaches were not as visible amongst the women, and I wanted to change that. It didn’t take me long to scope out the Women’s Forum (or “WF”) within my previous company and join the junior steering committee. Through the WF, I worked on building a senior/junior mentorship program and discussion events around key topics in the workplace such as family management, performance reviews, and best practices.
We (the women) need more of this in the business world. Public support for female advancement and leadership is key to seeing more women in decision-making roles. I view Women in Cleantech and Sustainability as invaluable in leveling the field for women in the green industry by cultivating the confidence to lean in and do good.
What excites you most about the future of your industry?
I’m excited about cleaner air, clearer roads, and faster commutes. Working at a cleantech company that makes battery-electric transit buses, allows me to be part of a team that is working towards real change – change that is integral in preserving our planet. Climate change is not arriving, it is already here. Public transit is on track to go 100% electric before any other vehicle sector and will have a meaningful environmental impact. By eliminating air and noise pollution and offering a lower cost of ownership than legacy fossil fuel-powered alternatives, battery-electric buses are attractive mobility options that not only improve our environment, but also provide high economic value. I’m excited about the future of heavy duty electric vehicles because they allow us to significantly slow down the deleterious effects of a warming planet and improve the quality of life for all.
What failure or setback have you learned from?
Earlier in my career, I was a yes-woman. I would always seem to have extra capacity to take on another project or help a teammate out with their workload. My desire to singlehandedly move work progress along was neither reasonable nor humanly feasible at times. I had viewed the act of asking for help as the real weakness, and in turn, had refrained from putting myself in that place of vulnerability at all costs. I wanted to be viewed as dependable, but rather, my overpromising sometimes led to missed deadlines and a weakened credibility. I’ve learned that more things tend to get done faster and better when you raise your hand for help.
What advice do you have for other women in WCS?
My advice, particularly to those who are at the same career stage as I am, would be to lean in and take advantage of the resources available through WCS. For instance, the job boards are incredibly helpful in finding a position that aligns with your passion for sustainability and green goals. In fact, I found my current role at Proterra on the WCS job board! Also, attend the events and meet likeminded women in your field! I’ve met countless inspiring women who I’ve learned from and have motivated me in various ways. And finally, invest in the WCS community. As a part of the 2019 WCS Mentorship program, I have the goal of giving back to the program as much as it has offered me.