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Celebrating Women's History: Lakshmy Discusses Allyship and Overcoming Bias

Lakshmy's headshot

Lakshmy M. | Technical Content Developer | Bangalore, India

Originally Published: March 1st, 2024

Lakshmy and her daughter.

Hi there! My name is Lakshmy, and I am based in India. I am originally from the state of Kerala but currently reside in Bangalore, Karnataka. I’m married and have a 24-year-old daughter who works in the digital marketing field. I have two dogs (four and nine years old) and a cat (16 years old). My hobbies include reading, gardening, sketching, painting, spending time with my furry friends and watching movies. I am a certified Reiki and Merlin Trinity Healing System healer, telepathic animal communicator and Bach Flower Remedies practitioner. I dabble in tarot card reading when time permits!


When I was six months old, my family moved to Liberia in Africa. Later, we moved to Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1981. Being a third-culture kid has helped me become more inclusive and more accepting of diversity.


From a very young age, I questioned certain attitudes that people had towards someone of another race, color or religion. I could not understand the reason or basis for discrimination. I have always been vocal about discrimination of any kind, whether at home or at work. I try to be very conscious of my own biases, if any, and remove them from my interactions with others. As a person of color, I have experienced racism at school (I studied at the American School of Kinshasa in Zaire) and when I traveled to the U.S. and U.K. as a child. Unfortunately, conversations around diversity and inclusion were not so prevalent in the ‘80s as they are today. Those experiences played a significant role in my becoming a more vocal advocate for inclusivity.

A collage of Lakshmy's family photos.

Fast forward to today, I have a bachelor’s degree in statistics, a master’s degree in demography and population studies and over 26 years of experience in the information technology (IT) industry. I joined Dell in 2013 as a manager on our Networking Content Engineering and Translation (CE&T) team in Chennai. During my time at Dell, I have worked across many different business units as part of the CE&T team. Last year, I took on the role of Content Strategist for the APEX (as-a-service) CE&T team.


After joining Dell, I immediately joined the Women in Action Employee Resource Group (WIA ERG) because I have always advocated for women breaking the restrictive norms that society places on us, especially in India. Whether it is my friends, women colleagues, or a woman in need of help on a social platform, I have always encouraged them to think outside the boxed version of themselves and follow their heart. Things we take for granted, like keeping our surnames after marriage or holding onto our financial independence, are points of contention in a patriarchal society like India.


My journey in WIA started off with me participating in and hosting various activities as part of the Chennai WIA team. Then in 2017, I took on the role of WIA comms lead for the APJ and Greater China region. In 2022, I took on the role of Global WIA Comms lead. The journey has been exhilarating and very rewarding so far.

Can you share a story about a woman mentor or role model who has played a pivotal role in your life?

The woman who has played a pivotal role in shaping me into the person I am today is my mother. The catch is that she showed me who I did not want to become. I shared a very difficult relationship with my mother because we rarely saw eye-to-eye on many things. However, I can confidently say I am a much kinder and more accepting person because of this experience. I learned to put myself in other people’s shoes before speaking or taking any action. 


Have you faced any gender-related obstacles in your educational/career journey, and how did you overcome them?

Being a woman in a predominantly male working environment inside a conservative society is always a challenge. I have faced situations where I would not be included in discussions just because of my gender. To overcome this, I had to be more vocal about not only how I felt excluded, but how this lack of inclusion was going to impact the common goals that we had as a team. It took a couple of conversations and call outs, but I was able to make a breakthrough in the team's conservative mindset and bring about a change in attitude. Over time, I found that there was more acceptance, and the team included me in discussions.


In what ways has the Women in Action ERG at Dell Technologies contributed to fostering a supportive network for women, both personally and professionally?

The WIA ERG at Dell Technologies has many impactful programs that bring together team members of all genders to collaborate and become allies. In fact, allyship is a very important aspect of our work, because we all need to work together and support each other to break down gender inequality and biases. When I first joined Women in Action in 2013, there was a notion that this ERG was meant for only women to participate. In the past 11 years that I have been with this ERG, I have seen an encouraging trend where there is a lot more participation and support from men in the various activities conducted by WIA.


Can you discuss a specific moment where you felt empowered as a woman, either personally or professionally?

When I participated in our company's first "Be the Change" foundational learning program on inclusion, there was a moment during the conversations where I sensed a shift in the thought processes of the men present in the room. When I spoke about the challenges that women, and in particular my team, faced because of a lack of inclusivity, it created a spark. That spark eventually led to a significant, positive shift in the way my team and I were included in the broader team's discussions and activities. I am very happy that I played a role in igniting a change in the attitudes of the men in the room that day.


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