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Finding career growth by helping others succeed - Hanna's story

As a Belarusian national soccer team player in her spare time, Hanna had faced inclusion issues from an early age in this male-dominated sport. She’d also struggled with low self-esteem, and decided to study psychology to try and help overcome it. This inspired her to work with diverse groups and build a career in HR — where she spent time studying abroad and gaining the vital skills needed to take that next step.

After returning to Belarus, Hanna joined the HR Business Partners team at EPAM, a global software development company. Aware that the business wanted to improve its diversity and inclusion, Hanna set about using the knowledge she’d gained while attending an #IamRemarkable workshop in Belarus to become a force for change. The workshops are designed to encourage women and other underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements and realise their potential. One area in particular that Hanna wanted to address was ‘imposter syndrome’ — her own personal fear that she lacked the skills or experience needed to be promoted, ask for a promotion, or negotiate the right salary. The workshop also helped Hanna learn that she could make a positive, company-wide, impact at EPAM. “Having experienced different cultures, I realised my role here was important,” she explains. “I wanted to help people believe in themselves, achieve more self-awareness, and get their career to the next point.”

Inline ImageHanna Bandarenka
After several months of talks, I was offered the job. This was an amazing result for me, and it’s a great example of what you can achieve by using the takeaways from #IamRemarkable.

Armed with her self-empowerment skills and learnings from the workshop, Hanna shared her vision of creating the role of Diversity and Inclusion Lead within the business, and spent the next few months persuading management to give her the chance. “After several months of talks, I was offered the job. This was an amazing result for me, and it’s a great example of what you can achieve by using the takeaways from #IamRemarkable” says Hanna.

Within her new role, Hanna’s impact on the business was quickly felt. “We realised the #IamRemarkable workshops could empower EPAM’s employees and help with self-promotion, especially among women who tend to be underrepresented with the technology field,” she explains. Inspired by the results she achieved from working on her self-promotion skills, Hanna became an #IamRemarkable facilitator, running her own sessions within the business. To date, more than 500 EPAM-ers have participated — many of which have gone on to become facilitators themselves in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and even Canada. “I’m helping to create a diverse, inclusive and friendly workplace that supports and inspires women and underrepresented groups to accelerate their careers,” adds Hanna. “And EPAM too is achieving one of its major goals of helping employees learn and grow.”

Inline ImageAn #IamRemarkable workshop at EPAM facilitated by Hanna Bandarenka
By empowering and helping others, I empower myself.

With help from the #IamRemarkable program, Hanna has addressed her own personal challenges around low self-esteem and feelings of being unqualified, or unworthy, of her role within the business. She’s better at acknowledging her own potential too, and continually looking for new challenges and opportunities for further career enhancement. In fact, since completing her workshop, Hanna has successfully asked for two further promotions — and delivered the #IamRemarkable workshop to local non-profits, from NGO aiming to help women to start their business, to local LGBTQ+ and youth NGO's. As Hanna puts it: “By empowering and helping others, I empower myself.”