“I credit my childhood experiences for teaching me that managing change and embracing differences are essential to growth and success.”
For Project Manager Amulya Gupta, growing up in an army family shaped her approach to creating more opportunities for women in tech.
My life began with humble beginnings as the daughter of an engineering services officer in the Indian Army and a homemaker mother. With my father’s postings, my family and I lived throughout India, experiencing diverse cultures and environments—from Ladakh, our country’s coldest desert, to Rajasthan, its hottest region.
My father had a new post in a new place every two years, and each time my sister and I had to settle into a new school, adapt to a new curriculum, and make new friends. While the constant change brought its challenges, my parents helped us adjust by taking us on explorations of each region we lived in—hiking, river boating, and other activities. It helped me appreciate the beauty of our changing surroundings.
As a child, I primarily lived in northern India, where most people are very fair complected, but I was not. I had to tackle colorism at a very young age. I often felt dejected, but my mother taught me to embrace my unique self and qualities to make my mark in society rather than to fit in. She taught me to embrace my color, my presence, and the way I speak and to never compromise my identity. That was the first time I understood the word “identity.” From then on, whenever I saw incidents of bullying or my classmates/friends getting ridiculed, I took them under my wing and stood up to voice how inclusion and diversity is important.
As a kid, I also had the challenge of limited academic resources in remote areas, which made it difficult to have a holistic learning experience. I often learned by speaking to people around me about their thought processes—I now think of them as mentors. During this time, I discovered Encarta, a digital encyclopedia created by Microsoft. Using it for my school projects, I became fascinated by how a computer program could make such a great impact. I never imagined I’d actually be working for Microsoft one day.
Several years ago, in wanting to give back to our community, my sister and I started a mentoring circle to help children of military personnel prepare for higher education. From a handful of students, we have grown to more than 80. It’s a very personal project for us, one that offers extra support and a sense of community to young people.
Working at Microsoft has caused me to evolve as a person. Last year, I became a core team member of the Women at Microsoft Employee Resource Group India. Through this group, I’m following my passion for mentoring and creating opportunities for women in technology.
Our initiatives aim to focus on the motto of “all genders thrive equally.” One initiative we launched was a pilot program where senior-level women mentored junior-level women, utilizing a tech-enabled platform that automated the registration process. The program received a positive response with more than 60 career advisors registered and more than 130 mentoring sessions booked.
I have worked on initiatives and projects with people from all over the world, understanding different cultures and thought processes. I credit my childhood experiences for teaching me that managing change and embracing differences are essential to growth and success.
Discover more stories like Amulya’s by visiting: https://aka.ms/InclusionisInnovation/Military