The Steminist Spotlight Series: Sonalissa Sen, Consultant in Cloud Migration Services
Empowered by science and technology, women are transforming the way we live and work—and they’re changing the world for the better along the way. Our blog series, The Steminist Spotlight, celebrates these women.
The Steminist Spotlight amplifies the voices of the amazing and inspiring women in tech who are making history here at Navisite. As a Steminist, these women have the power to inspire the next generation of female leaders to choose a career in STEM, where they can co-create the future and help build a diverse, inclusive workforce.
Meet Our Steminist:
Sonalissa Sen, Cloud Migrations Consultant
Our next Steminist Spotlight features Sonalissa Sen, a consultant for Navisite’s cloud migration services customers. In this spotlight, Sonalissa shares her tech beginnings, role models and advice for the next generation of female leaders.
How did you get your start in tech?
When I was a kid, every answer I ever had to, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was something related to technology. I’ve always been a problem solver, and I loved exploring the different ways technology made all parts of our lives easier. The world of technology was so vast and new to me, and I couldn’t get enough. At the end of the day, I found it hard to put the computer down—I just wanted to keep learning. You won’t get bored with so much to learn and so many different areas to pursue within tech!
I later brought that passion with me when I enrolled in college, and I decided to pursue a degree in information technology. From there, I was lucky to be hired by Navisite right after I finished my studies! Like technology itself, my role at Navisite continues to evolve—especially as my hunger to learn pushed me to keep trying new things. I was originally hired as a systems engineer for the Windows team, and today, I’m excited to be a part of the Azure and cloud migrations team.
Can you share a little about what you do at Navisite and what your typical day is like?
Today, I focus on professional services under Navisite’s cloud migrations team, where I’m responsible for onboarding customers as they begin their cloud journey. More specifically, I specialize in Azure projects, where I assess a customer’s IT environment, help them build a custom-tailored solution and work in lockstep with their team to implement it. On any given day, I’m usually spending time connecting with Navisite’s customers to learn more about their business and their needs and talk them through their options. It’s incredibly rewarding being a part of their cloud journey from the beginning—and it’s even more rewarding to see firsthand how technology is making their business and teams stronger. My team has the opportunity to problem solve and innovate every day on our customer’s behalf, and it’s putting what I loved so much about technology as a kid into practice—all while helping real people along the way.
What do you like most about your tech career?
When I look back at where I started when I first joined Navisite as a recent college grad and where I am today, it’s been a career filled with personal and professional growth. On most days, I’m faced with new challenges, new situations and new questions from our customers—and that excites me. It means that even when I think I know all of the answers in the world of cloud technology, the reality is I’ve only just scratched the surface. There are always new methods, new innovations and new scenarios to learn from, and that means my job of learning never truly stops. While I’m filled with gratitude for how far I’ve progressed and learned already, the greatest thrill is knowing that my professional growth has only just begun.
Who are your women in tech role models?
There are so many women I look up to and who I aspire to be—both in the real world and the “reel” world. There are two role models who stand out the most right now, however. The first is Hedy Lamarr. In the midst of World War II, she invented the basis for all modern wireless communications, setting the foundation for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology. She was also a famous actress. It’s an incredible combination of beauty and brains—and she crushed so many stereotypes just by being herself and following her dreams.
In the real world, I am so inspired by our very own COO, Gina Murphy. She leads our organization fearlessly, and it’s so clear that she deeply cares about Navisite’s people and our success. I’ve always aspired to lead with that incredible blend of strength and compassion.
What has been one of the proudest moments in your career so far?
One of the proudest moments in my career (so far) was when I was given the opportunity to travel and meet with a prospective customer. I was tapped to talk the customer through their cloud migration options and brainstorm with them on what their journey could look like. It was a huge responsibility—and it made me feel so immensely proud that my leaders believed in the skills and expertise I worked so hard to build. It was during this moment that I realized the hard work I put in to continuously grow and learn pushed me to fulfill one of my biggest aspirations—to take the lead and help a company solve their biggest IT challenges.
Another proud moment was when I completed my first five years here at Navisite! It truly felt like just yesterday when I started my career. Now, it’s so humbling to see how much I have grown in this industry. I start every day with so much pride knowing that the role I play on my team is one that makes a lasting, positive impact.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle for women today who are interested in pursuing a career in tech?
The tech industry has come a long way in recent years, but there’s no denying that it’s still male-dominated. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I think one of them is the fact that women are still stereotyped when it comes to the types of positions and roles they should take on in (and outside of) the workplace. When the world around you is saying where a women’s place does and doesn’t belong, it turns a young girl’s view of the world from limitless to limited. Too often when a woman’s ambitions shatter these stereotypes, they’re met with discouragement—when really what they need is to be lifted up and motivated to pursue their dreams. Only with that unbiased support and encouragement can we make a real impact on the progress towards equality in the workplace.
What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in STEM?
As much as you can, stop worrying about what the rest of the world expects of you. If you have always dreamed about a career in STEM, go for it and don’t look back. Your voice, your knowledge and your opinions are needed in this industry to foster innovation and inclusive and holistic solutions. You have the opportunity today to influence and shape the future—never let stereotypes or the opinions of others take that power away from you.
Understanding that I wasn’t in this alone was a powerful motivator for me. That’s why it’s also so important to find a mentor in this industry who encourages you, supports you and teaches you well. That support will lift you up and push you forward when you feel discouraged.
What’s a fun fact about you that many people may not know?
I am a trained classical dancer! I never stop dancing. In fact, I need to listen to music throughout my day no matter what I may be doing. It keeps me motivated, brightens my day and keeps spirits high. I love the energy it brings, even when you’re not having the best day. I’m also a huge fan of supercars. My ultimate dream one day is to have my own supercar—it only seems fitting as we continue to crush female stereotypes left and right.
Our Steminist Mission
At Navisite, supporting women in their STEM education is not only important to us—it’s vital to building the inclusive and diverse tech workforce the world needs. Our mission is to help bridge the gender divide and bring diversity to the technology sector by empowering the next generation of female leaders to consider a career in STEM.
The Navisite’s Next Steminist Scholarship
The Navisite’s Next Steminist Scholarship program offers female undergraduate students an opportunity to level up their careers and realize their dreams with a one-time $10,000 scholarship. Applications are now open!
Visit our Navisite’s Next Steminist Scholarship webpage to learn more.