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Every year on March 8, the world recognizes and celebrates the lives, accomplishments, and contributions of women on International Women’s Day. In honor of this special day, we would like to showcase several of the wonderful women at Katalyst Technologies who help in running and supporting the company’s operations, processes, and initiatives.

At Katalyst, there are women who work in various areas, teams, and levels of the company. One of these areas is Corporate Marketing and Communications. This department is currently led by Prajakta Gandhi in the company’s Evanston office. When asked how she got started at Katalyst, Prajakta was happy to share her story with us.

“I came to learn of Katalyst through an acquaintance who asked me to apply for the job online,” shares Prajakta. “While the whole interview process was very daunting, but it gave me great comfort to know that Katalyst had a lot of women who worked here and most of them held leadership positions. I started at a junior position, helping out with financial analysis and also the creation of corporate marketing materials for the company, knowing there was an opportunity for growth.”

Speaking of growth, there are indeed opportunities to grow and advance at Katalyst. Melissa Valdespino is one of Katalyst’s many female employees who has experienced advancement at the company. “I got started as a summer intern at Katalyst, explains Melissa. “From there I moved to administration, worked with immigration and now I am in sales for Katalyst’s BoardShare unit and presales for SAP. … Over the course of 10 months I really have been able to grow and understand all the different components that make up Katalyst.”

The opportunity for growth and advancement is just one of the many perks that women at Katalyst can enjoy. But there are others. For Vijayalakshmi Pavadai, known as Viji, who works in Katalyst’s Immigration department, she enjoys having control and freedom in her work.

“I work as an Immigration Manager, responsible for handling Immigration Compliance for Katalyst employees,” says Viji. “I love that I have a great degree of control and freedom within my job, I get to collaborate with different departments and enjoy their cooperation and encouragement.”

This is a sentiment that Prajakta also finds in common with Viji. “I enjoy having the freedom and autonomy to experiment and bring creativity to work and the variety of each day.”

But if there is one thing that the women at Katalyst enjoy, it’s the people.

“I think the number one reason I love working at Katalyst is because of the people I work with,” says Prajakta, “they are practically my family. … We work hard and smart and support each other with projects and everyday tasks.”

Melissa agrees. “Everyone is so friendly and approachable. Whether its during lunch, yoga or even just stopping by to chat, my coworkers really brighten up my day. … Also, Shobha (Katalyst’s Chief Operations Officer) has been a great mentor to me. Since the beginning she has pushed me to do my best. I can always come to her for guidance, even for matters outside of work. Having Shobha and Manjari (Katalyst’s Executive Vice President of Strategy) as corporate role models truly inspires me to push my limits. Out of all the places I’ve worked, I can truly say that it’s great being surrounded by strong intelligent women at Katalyst!”

Viji also adds that having such friendly coworkers create a conducive work environment, and is inspired by all working women who are able to balance their professions and family.

When asked if they had any tips for women who look to advance into a position like theirs, Prajakta, Melissa, and Viji all had great wisdom to share.

“This may sound like a cliché but “Be Calm & Pragmatic” is my mantra,” says Prajakta. “No matter what the situation, keeping yourself calm would mean half the battle won.”

“I think the best tip I have is to never back down from a project, no matter how big or new it may be,” advises Melissa, “Especially in a situation in which you may the only woman in the group.”

As for Viji, she emphasizes the importance of not being afraid of change. “You can achieve anything by self-awareness and hard work.”

From all of us here at Katalyst Technologies we would like to thank all the women who make Katalyst a great place to work, and wish everyone a great and happy International Women’s Day.

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