Bahe Ramanan can attest to the value of engineering outreach activities aimed at acquainting young women with the profession. It was one of those events that drew her to electrical engineering.
“We tried out elements of the various engineering disciplines, and I found electrical to be the most fun and relatable,” she recalls. “I enjoyed the math behind connecting a circuit together to make our LEDs light up.”
The 2004 Electrical Engineering grad started her career in an engineering role before moving into project management, then product management. Her current role is as a senior category manager in the procurement department at Rogers Communications Canada Inc.
“I manage a skilled team of purchasing professionals who source complex technical services for the company,” she explains. “We create category strategies, run commercial events and negotiate contracts with suppliers to provide services for our wireless and cable access networks.”
While all of her roles have made use of her engineering knowledge, Ramanan says her first few years in the workforce gave her some insights.
“I realized that I enjoyed interacting with people and overseeing large projects, which led me down the project management path and gave me experience in managing aspects of large network roll-outs,” she says. “I also realized that I craved the ability to make a larger impact with my work, leading me to the role of product manager of wireless in-building systems and exposing me to the business and marketing sides of the company.”
The jump to procurement was more daunting, as it was outside of the career path she’d envisioned for herself.
“Despite that, the role highlighted things that I thought I was good at, sounded intriguing and offered several growth opportunities,” she says. “I’m happy I embraced the change. I enjoy what I do and I feel like I’m making a positive impact on the way Rogers builds state-of-the-art networks.”
She urges students to stay open-minded about career options: “You don’t have to have the next five years or 10 years mapped out. Let the course of your career be equally shaped by your experiences and the learning and growth you undergo from those experiences.
“Sometimes you have to take chances on things that scare you and take you out of your comfort zone. It’s the best way to learn and grow, and I think growth is a key part of a fulfilling career.”