Emerging Leader Spotlight: Megha Garg

Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what she is doing to take the lead in her career. We invite her to share how she achieved her current position, what obstacles she encountered on her climb, as well as tips for how to be a rising woman of influence. This month we shine the Emerging Leader Spotlight on Megha Garg, Senior Design Engineer at Caterpillar, Inc. who is a positive and inspiring leader.

Favorite leadership Megha Garg picquote: “Treat employees like they make a difference and they will.” – Jim Goodnight

What is your leadership style?
Coming from India, it took some time for me to develop my leadership style. In most developing countries, the upbringing, especially for girls, is to be submissive; meaning as a youth, I was taught to be compliant, especially towards anybody senior to me (in age or professional ranking).

So, when I first moved to the United States in 2005 and began my career here, it took me a lot of effort to speak up, and share ideas on project teams. Over time, I have learned that every team member’s opinion matters.

I feel to be a successful leader, it is important to give everyone on the team a voice, as they all bring different strengths to the mix. I am a big advocate of diversity and inclusion and I encourage everybody to understand the real meaning of these terms.

I believe taking risks is a requirement when in a leadership role, but that is not the same thing as making hasty decisions.

I heavily promote action items in every meeting I lead. This allows team members to take ownership of their tasks.

I have been described as a team lead that will absolutely get the job done, once committed to it, and my advice to the readers of this article is “never feel pressured to take on a project if you don’t truly feel committed to see it through to the end.”

I always start a project, team meeting, or a business relationship with positivity, letting my energy & enthusiasm fuel it; hence, the results automatically appear achievable and my team members show better participation.

Also, I have learned that by being a warm and humble person, as well as determined, I get my projects completed.

What key steps did you take to get to the role you are in today?
The role I am in today has an interesting story behind it. I interviewed (in the spring of 2013) with my current manager and a supporting panel for a position but was not hired.

After the interview process was completed, I decided to set-up a mentoring session with the hiring manager and asked for feedback on what I needed improve to be considered in the future.

I consistently stayed in touch and showed my interest towards working with that team. Later that year, another opportunity came up to be a part of that same group, so I applied and was selected as the best candidate.

Author’s note: This is such great advice to anyone who is looking for a new position! Like the old saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed; try, try again.” Too many people allow their egos to get in the way, which ultimately leads to unhappiness and negativity.

What is the most important thing you have learned that has been critical to your career success?
During the past nine years, I have learned quite a lot; but the most important of all is to have a positive attitude.

There have been many times that I have been criticized and told that I was not right for a position; but because I am a positive person, I am able to learn, grow, and move on.

In my experience working in engineering organizations, there is constant feedback given from bosses, peers, customers and suppliers. Sometimes it can be quite blunt. I believe it is up each individual to take the information constructively and learn from the conversation.

By remaining positive and focusing on my strengths, my peers appreciate that I am positive, especially during challenging situations. Being positive is rare and unique trait.

What steps are you currently taking to improve yourself, professionally?
I believe in improvement every day, whether it’s my professional and/or my personal life. I constantly seek opportunities where I can learn or grow.

I volunteer with various groups/organizations like Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Indo-American Society of Peoria (IASP), my division’s employee engagement team, etc.

With the modern-age disruptive technologies, the line between life at work and away from work has blurred quite a bit, and so the connections we make with others even while not working on an office project go a long way in supporting our professional and overall development.

Making connections is extremely important to me for my professional development, and I strive to make useful connections by getting involved in employee development forums, employee resources groups, community work, charity fund-raisers, etc. Recently, I attended WE14, the national SWE conference, which was a huge step towards improving my professional connections and also making some good friends.

Megha, you are a rock star! You have already had an incredible journey and I am certain there is no stopping you in years to come. Thanks for sharing your story.

Here is Megha’s LinkedIn profile, to connect with her directly.



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Ann Roushar

Ann joined Women’s Leadership Coaching, Inc. as Operations Manager in 2011. Her background is in events and program management, however, with the launch of Be Leaderly, Ann has discovered a new passion for the communications side of the business, including blogging, social media and graphic design. Ann’s vision for this blog is to make it a “must have” resource for women in business, a virtual space where women can feel comfortable about sharing their career wins, woes or worries. Follow @ann_roushar on Twitter.

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