June 21, 2021
Development through diversity: Get to know Addy Bholanekar
"I'm a person of color, an immigrant, English is my third language, and I'm gay," said Addy Bholanekar. "Despite that, this company enabled me to be successful. And because of that, I'm confident with all these aspects of who I am. That's amazing to me." From intern to joining the Accelerated Development Program to his current role as a full-time UI/UX Designer at Trane Technologies' corporate offices, Addy Bholanekar's journey is one that's full of inspiration, courage, strength and commitment.
Addy immigrated to the United States in 2010 from India. At the time, he had never even been to the U.S., nor did he speak English. Challenges aside, he went on to graduate from Virginia Tech University with a degree in Business IT Tech. It was during the summer of his freshman year that Addy began an internship at Trane Technologies. He was happy to find a company that was committed to supporting its diverse employees.
Addy spent all of his college summers as a Trane Technologies intern in various corporate departments such as Quality Assurance and IT Field Services. He then participated in the Accelerated Development Program after graduating, with rotations in IT infrastructure and data analytics. "My assignments required me to go out of my comfort zone and see problems from different perspectives. I learned to be independent and was able to take ownership of tasks assigned to me."
A defining moment
During his first internship, Addy hadn't come out yet. What inspired him to take that step was passing by one of his leader's desk and seeing a personal photo of her and her partner. "I still remember that moment. It was so amazing to me and gave me so much confidence. It told me that I can show up as my full self within this company and also be successful in leadership positions."
That leader introduced Addy to the PRIDE Employee Resource Group (ERG). "It has really empowered me by connecting me to people who understand me and where I'm coming from." Addy has helped to evolve the PRIDE ERG from one that just coordinated the PRIDE parade, to one that leads meaningful dialog for diversity and inclusion within the company. He's led seminars on "How to be an Ally" and the ERG hosted weekly virtual seminars during PRIDE month to increase awareness about LGBTQ+ issues.
Now, when he looks around the office and at his coworkers, he sees more people who want to get involved. "Just little things like people posting 'I am an Ally' signs around their workstations and in their email signatures has been inspiring to me." He also points to the action Trane Technologies took to offer benefits to domestic partners. "That speaks a lot not only to the employees, but also to future employees because they see that we are a company that's progressive."
As Addy continues his career at Trane Technologies, he's optimistic about his future. "There are so many areas where we see support from leadership and that means so much to me," he says. "By demonstrating a commitment to including diverse talent, we can attract the brightest minds. It's the reason we are an industry leader."
Navigating career paths
As a person of color, first-generation American and member of the LGBTQ+ community, Addy shares career advice that anyone can benefit from, especially those from diverse backgrounds:
Find a mentor and build a network. "When people in leadership positions give you advice, that makes your life so much easier." He says a mentor can be part of a formal program or part of a longer-term connection that you can tap into throughout your career. "It's really a lifetime of relationships."
Be confident in who you are. Unique experiences and perspectives help a group discover a broader set of solutions and positive outcomes, Addy says. "That's the strength you can bring to the table. Be confident in that."
Join an ERG and be active. Addy recommends joining an Employee Resource Group to connect with coworkers who share similar backgrounds or interests. Members can support each other and advocate for important initiatives on behalf of their communities. It can also be a way to develop leadership skills and discuss issues directly with executive sponsors. "This is an important resource for someone starting out at Trane Technologies," Addy said.
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