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VSG & Milgard Women’s Initiative at UW Tacoma.

VSG President, Alex Devine, recently had the opportunity to serve as a mentor through the Milgard Women’s Initiative at the Milgard School of Business’ Center for Leadership and Social Responsibility at the University of Washington, Tacoma.

The program is designed to pair females who are leaders in the business community with female graduate students who are gearing up to enter the field. Through this process, Alex was introduced to Ashlesha Tiwari.

Ashlesha is an international student who currently holds an undergraduate degree in Pharmacy, along with an MBA in Marketing, and will be receiving her Master’s of Science in Business Analytics from UWT in June 2023.

Full Interview with Ashlesha with Alex

The program proved to be a valuable experience for both Alex and Ashlesha.

I am grateful that you [Alex] are here to share your knowledge, and your experience, with me.

– Ashlesha Tiwari

This was Alex’s first experience as a Mentorship through the MWI program at UWT. Speaking about her time with Ashlesha, she said she appreciated the resources provided by the program, as well as the fact that they we’re each able to learn from eachother.

I think we have to respect our diversity of perspectives, and see inherently that each of us has value to contribute to the conversation and we’re learning from each other.

– Alex Devine

To watch the video on YouTube, click below!

Lastly, you can learn more about the Milgard Women’s Initiative through the Milgard School of Business’ Center for Leadership and Social Responsibility at the University of Washington, Tacoma by clicking here.

[Start transcript]

Alex Devine 0:07


Alright, I think we’re live. Well, let’s let’s just start by introducing ourselves, as you well know, my name is Alex Devine. I’m the president of VSG marketing. We’re an agency located in Tacoma, WA. And I was reached out to through. I was nominated for 40 under 40 last year. And so UW Tacoma reached out to me and said, hey, are you interested in being in this women’s mentorship program that we have for our grad students? And I said amazing. I’d love to. And that’s how we got introduced. You want to introduce yourself?

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 0:39

Right. So my name’s Ashlesha. And so I had a really nice stint back in the day when I was working, and I had, worked for the pharmaceutical industry as a brand manager for 7, more close to 8 years. But yeah, it got a bit monotonous. And then I decided to come to UW Tacoma for my program in Masters in Business Analytics. And that’s where I met Alex.

And I’m happy that I met Alex.

Alex Devine 1:08

Yeah, we’re very happy that we met each other and we wanted to just share a little bit about our experience in the mentorship program. It’s MWI and I’m terrible… I gotta look up the acronym, it’s a very long name at UW Tacoma, but it’s through the Center of Leadership and Responsibility and it is a program where female leaders in the business community are paired with graduate students. And then you can have it be as structured or as unstructured as you would like it to be. So we thought we’d just chat today about our experience and kind of what we gained from it and hope that we encourage other women to to seek mentorship and to offer mentorship as well. I think it’s it’s important. Remind me what you’re studying and how close you are to graduating. Tell the good people right. Like what kind of job are we looking for?

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 1:57

Right. So after pursuing my undergrad in pharmacy, then going on to become an MBA in marketing, finally, I don’t, I would say finally, but I think I have found a new calling which is really interesting to me and that is business analytics. So I am pursuing Master of Science in Business analytics at UW Tacoma and I’m pretty close to graduating though. I’m just… it’s scary. I’m just a month and half away. It was a long program which ran by really fast, very enriching.

Alex Devine 2:26


Ashlesha N. Tiwari 2:31

It was like. I mean I I was doing data analytics all along, but it was very unstructured. So I got introduced to new tools, new platforms and I would recommend this program 100% to anybody who’s interested in, you know, loves working with numbers and enjoying all these insights. Go for it. It’s it’s a fantastic program to go for.

Alex Devine 2:52

Good, good. I’m glad to hear that. It sounds like you got a lot of like hands on experience and actual business knowledge you’re ready to hit the ground running. That’s awesome.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 2:56

You know.


Alex Devine 3:02

How did you first hear about the MWI, like the mentorship program? And what made you want to apply for it?

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 3:08

Right. So during our orientation itself, we were exposed to a lot of initiatives that Milgard School of Business where it’s it comes under UW Tacoma where my program is. So they are in their long list of wonderful initiatives that they take for students. One was specifically for the female students and this was the MWI program, the Milgard Initiative Program that we are both enrolled in. And it was interesting and someone who’s been mentored tried from day one by a female in the corporate.

By a female mentor. It is really interesting for me because… I don’t know. I sometimes feel that we just have to try a little bit harder and prove ourselves everyday a bit longer. As a person, I really like to study people’s personalities. I really like to I I read books which are, I think, mainly biographies and autobiographies. So it was a very good chance for me to work with the woman who’s achieved so much, 40 under 40!

Yeah, I mean, just to know what differently do you do to reach where you have reached and you know, it’s really impressive. And I really look up to these kind of all you kind of women who’ve, you know, been there for your way through and achieved a lot and I mean it’s it’s really, I mean I’m grateful that you are there to share your knowledge and your experience with me. So I guess that was my thought process when I enrolled for this initiative.

Alex Devine 4:41

Love it. Did you have any kind of, like, fears or preconceived notion about what it would be like?

You’ve you’ve had mentors in the past, of course, but kind of a formalized mentorship program on top of your schoolwork. What were kind of some of your anticipation or your biggest fears going into it, and how did it turn out for you?

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 5:00

So my biggest fear was that probably you will add me with somebody who’s very, you know, to the point and straight forward. Then let’s stick to the structure and probably it will be all… you know, which is nice. I am a process oriented person, so I like sticking to the structure, but I was full of pleasant surprise when I was matched with you.

And because, I mean, I don’t know if you remember our first conversation, which I think you were in the exact same room and. Yeah. And we just, I mean, I didn’t come up with a list of questions. You didn’t come up with a list of questions. We just sat and we chat. And I think whatever. I wouldn’t say fears. But I had these preconceived notions. Oh, this is gonna go in a structured format or you know somebody’s coming from the corporate so they they won’t have time for me. I’ll have to keep running behind them. I think the first meeting itself everything went away because.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 5:53

We matched on various levels our personality, the way we think, the way we wanna work. So everything kind of matched and I think for me it was the ease and the first conversation itself. How about you?

Alex Devine 6:09

Yeah, I’d say something similar and anytime you join a program, especially where mentorship is concerned and you don’t know the person, you’re going to be matched with, I think your fear is always like, am I going to mesh well or do I have anything to offer that’s valuable? And is this a good use of both of our time? So, often the biggest challenges in programs like this are are purely just schedule coordination. When can we meet? Does this work for you? Hey, something came up. Can we move it? So I think we’ve been very fortunate and that it we’ve coordinated easily and we have all kinds of technology; we just jump on and have been able to connect virtually. So I know that’s a barrier to entry for professionals as well as students is like, do I have time for this? Will the person be responsive and show up and kind of treat our time seriously.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 6:40


Alex Devine 6:57

The other thing that you mentioned was that rigidity. Like, yes we could follow a program. We could have, you know, a six week lesson plan. But you’re in school already. I think you have that structure and you have assignments and different things work for different people. But I really appreciated connecting as humans part of being women in the business community is allyship. And just listening and having camaraderie and have shared experience. So it’s really important in any, like, coaching scenario, whether you’re being coached or doing the coaching, to just connect, on a personal level. What are you into? What do you like? What motivates you? What are we scared of?

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 7:30


Alex Devine 7:33

Let’s just meet person to person and and kind of come up with our lesson plan from there. So I think we, we did that pretty well. Were there any topics that you wanted mentorship on throughout this process?

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 7:45

So for me the scenario like you know is very different. I’m an international student and I have a a lot of added layers going on for me and I have to look at a lot of things just apart from my program and my job so.


I mean because somewhere it it really worked for me because you have a touch, a hint of a people looking for…who are you from different countries and who are, you know, trying to get a job where sponsored well and everything. So that’s really helped me.

Because if… I believe that you had that knowledge already, so it became easier for me to talk to you about it, about what kind of guidance do I need? OK, so I’m a woman. I’m a woman in science. I’m an international student. How do I go about even starting applying for the job? So even with that simple basic question, I think when I entered this program, I had you know some some questions in my mind, how do I portray myself? How do I carry myself when I’m going out there? Because I have a lot of parameters to take care of, but it really helped that you already had some background knowledge about it, so I didn’t have to explain everything to you or you didn’t have to go back and read. You had already something to add to it.

So I guess, as an international student that was like the biggest plus point for me.

Alex Devine 9:04

Yeah, and that that’s a tough one. That’s a really unique situation. Yeah. So as Ashlesha mentioned, she is an international student on a student VISA. And so her job search is far more complicated because she has to find a job that’s willing to sponsor her. And that can be complicated through the VISA process. VSG Marketing has tried to sponsor international students before that have worked for us. We’ve had like a lot of really good talent. And as you well know, sometimes it’s luck of the draw. There’s a lottery process in order to even go forth.

So we’ve had a little bit of experience there and then I happened to marry and international student when I was in college and have gone through the US Immigration process first hand and it’s really scary and confusing. I think it’s even more difficult depending on the country that you’re coming from, the hoops you have to jump through. So, that fear is real, and it makes everything more difficult and I think just looking for guidance, like, okay which companies can help me or which companies would be willing to help me?

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 9:06



Alex Devine 10:02

So it will be interesting when we share this with our network I’d love to hear from local business owners like, are they willing to bring on international students as talent? I think there’s a lot of benefits and diversity of perspective, diversity and knowledge on different markets and just a different way of doing business. It’s always insightful. We can always learn from that. And I think you pick up things that we don’t see. Something that’s commonplace to us, you may be able to pick up and go well. Why are we doing it that way and give us fresh insight? So I think it’s advantageous.

But the government does not make it easy. So as you face a job search, right, like you’re graduating in June. It’s April 11th. Right now, you’re compiling a gorgeous, gorgeous resume that I have seen that really displays your experience and your talent. I think any department and business analyst or project management or brand management would be lucky to have you. Like you are talented. I’ve vouched for her.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 10:43

Thank you.

Alex Devine 11:01

What are? What are some some fears or some struggles that you’ve had in the application process so far kind of gearing up to do that that you would want to talk about with a mentor?

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 11:11

Right. So.

I believe that for me, because my role has been transitioning from a brand manager to a business analyst.

Which I know there is an overlap and I have both ways… both worlds to offer I have because I have seen the marketing side. I have seen the brand management side. I’m now with the most structured analysis of data coming in. I think my profile becomes really strong, but I think one of the biggest fears that which I think you also pointed out when you were going through my CV was link your brand management to your data analytics. Why have you made that transition? So I guess my fear is, what if somebody not views it like, OK, this is like this program for me is like upgrading myself, you know? And taking that one step ahead to becoming a part of the top management which I shared with you the other day that this is what I aspire to be. And what if that somebody sees it as two different buckets? It’s OK. First, she was a brand manager and now she’s a business analyst. So what is the connection here? So I know that once I get a chance to speak, I can bridge that gap. But yeah, I think that is one of my biggest fears. Of course, apart from the other formalities that I have to take care of.

But I think the first step to getting over that hurdle is…I don’t want people to see that I’m in two different buckets. There’s a link between what I have done earlier and what I want to do and this program is the link to that.

Alex Devine 12:46

Yeah, build that narrative. All experience builds on itself. That’s a really good point. And I think you have a unique viewpoint where you’re saying, hey, I had a career change. I wanted to better myself. And I went as so far as to go to a different country, to dig into that. Right? So I have all of this experience that makes me a good professional and provides value to a future company. And then I went and got more education. So how do I bring all that experience that’s going to carry over into this job?

Uh, you know? Am I worth the paperwork? Right? That’s the narrative we’re creating. Hey, guys, I am talented and here’s this experience that I bring on. I think a lot of women in business, international student are no carry that burden you have like career gaps. You have career changes as you realize your talents and you wanna pursue roles in leadership, you want to get into maybe something in STEM. You want to become a web developer, you want to model data in, kind of like, these more male dominated fields.

Umm, I think that’s a common challenge that people have to overcome. How do I tell this story? How do I explain that my previous life experience contributes to my talent? It’s not like I just started doing this, even though I went to school for it. Do you feel like?

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 13:47


I I don’t know.

Alex Devine 13:59

Go ahead.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 13:59

Sorry, I don’t feel this as a transition because I wanna stick to the industry that I am in. So I worked in the healthcare for the past.

Alex Devine 14:03


Ashlesha N. Tiwari 14:07

Approximately like 8 years and I want to continue in that area. It’s not that I am changing my path entirely, it’s just that I’m getting better at something which I was doing in a very unorganized manner. I was just using. I’m not demeaning excellence are very, very powerful tool, which I’ve recently learned, but it was only basically a limited to excel. But now I have more tools in handy. Now I can be take more insightful decisions. I can make more informed decisions.

Alex Devine 14:15


Ashlesha N. Tiwari 14:38

Because I have added skill sets right right now. So I’m not changing entirely anything, I’m just upgrading myself. Kaizan how we say in Japanese, so that’s all I’m doing. Yeah.

Alex Devine 14:41

Leveling up.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 14:54

And like you said, it is. It is tough to be a woman in science, especially when it when it comes to very technical aspects like the programming languages or the other. You know the the, the male oriented tools is what how it’s perceived as. So yeah, I mean so that is where I guess.

It’s really encouraging to see a woman coming in and giving you that example, that being that role model, that, OK, it’s doable. I mean, you just have to be, you just have to be, like, stick with what you have, stick to your guns and just be good at it or just keep improving yourself. But it is doable. And I think that is what as women, we need right now is that encouragement that that example in front of us that yeah, we can do it. We don’t have to.

Yeah, we don’t have to be intimidated about anything, so.

Alex Devine 15:46

Yeah, really well said. Representation is critical. It’s really important. Love it.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 15:47


Alex Devine 15:53

Good. Any other thoughts about mentorship program? I feel like we got lucky. We hit it off right away. We had a wonderful experience. But if you could, like, turn around and see like if you were gonna recommend your friend to go into a mentorship program, what kind of advice do you think you’d give them before they started?

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 15:59

Ohh yeah, I mean.

Umm, so I would say absolutely go for it because it helps to talk with somebody and just voice out your concerns. You probably have it up in your head, but you are scared to speak it out. Especially I feel because you know I have added layers. I’m an international student. I have to look for sponsorship. I have. I have a lot of things going on. So there is some amount of fear or some amount of inhibitions or doubts in everyone’s mind. And I think just to by voicing it.

Alex Devine 16:21


Ashlesha N. Tiwari 16:39

Out really helps a lot because then you get to know that. Ohh and it’s not just about me, it’s it can be about any person, a native from the US itself, I mean.

They might not have a platform to somebody to talk to, or they might have some an individual person to talk to. So I guess any of the future, people who are seeing this go for it 100% recommend and if you’re lucky you’ll find someone like Alex or you’ll find Alex as well.

Alex Devine 17:09

Yeah, lucky.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 17:09


Yeah, because, see, like you were saying, I mean, for us from day one, it was. It was great. Yeah. I mean, I never felt I met you for the first time. I mean, it was like just because our personalities match, I guess it’s because of that. But it was really insightful. You were very easy to talk to.

Alex Devine 17:19


Ashlesha N. Tiwari 17:28

I mean, I know you’ve changed your schedule a couple of times just to accommodate mine and really appreciate that. And yeah, I mean.

Alex Devine 17:32

Happy to.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 17:36

Ohh, the biggest part was that at least I have someone to go out and talk to because it changes when you are talking to a male leader and it changes when you’re talking to a female leader because some of the things you don’t have to explain to a female leader.

Alex Devine 17:48


Ashlesha N. Tiwari 17:49

They just know it so so that is I guess 100% recommend and keep your fingers crossed. You might get Alex.

Alex Devine 17:50


Maybe no, well said, well said. Good. Well, I wanna spend a couple minutes looking ahead. So you’re going to graduate. You’re gonna get a job. Talk to me about what’s important for you as you look for your next potential employer. What’s so? Let’s assume they can sponsor you and we get all that fun legal stuff taken care of. What’s going to make you feel like it’s a home you wanna contribute? You’re gonna stay there for a long time.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 18:03


Right. So something that really makes me feel is that first of all, I’m gonna accountable professional. So I mean, there won’t be any issues on that side, but a place where you’re allowed to speak up, think out loud rather than speaking up. It’s about thinking out loud and somewhere where where I experience my experience lies is that someone got your back, you know? So I mean, I’ll do my work. I’ll do my do 100%. I will I will not try to make mistakes, but if something goes wrong, someone there standing behind and letting me know that, OK, this is OK, we can manage it, we can manage it. So something like that, I mean as this is irrespective like you said of everything else, just as a working professional.

Umm, I think it really makes a lot of difference when you’re not your first line manager or superior, just trusts you with the with your work and because I’ve had a couple of mentors from the extremities, one wouldn’t ask me anything because he knew that I’m gonna come up to him and I’m gonna annoy him every single day. And the other part was where I was constantly asked for updates. So I have been on both the sides.

And I think of course there are no surprises, no prizes for guessing this. But my mentor, who was really, you know, gave me my space.

And I mean, he has rejected my work. It’s not that. And my work has never been rejected. But he gave me my space to work and come up with the ideas. I guess that is what I am looking at to get the best out of myself.


Umm hmm.

Alex Devine 20:13

Yeah, some autonomy and. Uh, how important to you is knowing that your work makes a difference to the company in general? Right, because we all have little tasks we can work on every day but big picture wise, you know what does this work that I’m doing? How does it contribute? Is that important to you at all?

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 20:19

Of course it is, but I wouldn’t make it the center of the world because I know that.

Alex Devine 20:23


Ashlesha N. Tiwari 20:25

I’ve been working on cross functional teams and you cannot work in silos. Your work. Just my work is not important to the organization. Everybody works together and that’s how it becomes an important package to the organization. So of course it’s important. Of course, it’s nice to know that people at the top management know you by your name, which has happened to me in the past and it’s it’s an amazing feeling.

But at the same time, I’m also aware that my job is not the only job in the organization. I have to work with other people, which which I’m completely OK with keeping my personality in mind. I just, I can go and talk to anybody. So I think yes it is important. But now the center of the world.

Alex Devine 21:08

Like it. good. What about benefits? So if you had your pick, if three companies were competing for you and you had to pick which one you were gonna work at, what are some of the perks that would sway you in one direction or another?

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 21:21

Ah, that’s a tricky one.

Well, I guess more than benefit will because I’m seeing when I’m applying right now more or less everybody’s offering the same thing, But what I would look as what I would look into an employer would be do they trust me.

Alex Devine 21:30


Ashlesha N. Tiwari 21:38

So I guess that makes a difference. All the organization for example, like you said, three organizations, all of them at are at equal levels. Everybody’s giving me equal pay or equal benefits. How do I choose the person who trusts me, who I believe trusts me. So I because I know that if I choose a person uh, who trusts me?

I’ll be that person will give me a lot of space to work and I can see a a longer running relationship with that organization or with that supervisor to say because.

Ohh, I guess that’s that’s where. That’s my personal opinion. That trust is what matters to me. So I’ve I’ve always chosen my jobs in that manner which I have been lucky with. Never gone wrong with that manner. So I would like to continue with that methodology.

Alex Devine 22:30

I like it. Good. So in a in an interview setting or you know when they’re figuring out culture fit, it’s really important that they trust in your expertise. They know they’re hiring you for this job. They know you’re qualified, and they let you run and you’ll do a good job. Right. And they they communicate that to you. OK, that’s good.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 22:44

Absolutely. I mean, yeah. And then you say run, it’s not just that I don’t ask me questions and it’s not gonna be like that. But yeah, the the freedom to be creative, the freedom to.

Ohh you know.

Have that buffer you have that room to go a little bit extra or to just go wild with your idea or something like that, yeah.

So how was your experience, Alex?

Alex Devine 23:10

Great question. I this is so this is my first year as a Milgard Women’s Initiative. Thank you for that acronym, mentor. I have done some mentoring and other avenues and I think their program is fantastic because they give you structure if you want it, but you don’t have to follow it that way. So you and I kind of negotiated our own pathway and I think one session we looked at financials of a company. Here’s how to read like a profit and loss statement. Here’s what stakeholders care about. So we talked financials, we look through marketing automation technology.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari23:13


Alex Devine 23:41

And different tools you might encounter in your day-to-day, especially with data analytics. So I think you and I are unique pairing. We had more opportunity to kind of build our own sessions that are uniquely valuable to the industry that we’re in. It’s almost like they did that on purpose. I wonder if they did. So that was wonderful, but for those folks who maybe didn’t have as much in common or couldn’t speak to industry specific stuff, there was a lot of resources. So there was like Ted talks, there are thoughtful questions, there’s books to read, there was resources to really dig in and figure out.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 23:46


Alex Devine 24:16

Mentee, mentor relationship that worked for everybody, which I think is important. I think we have to respect our diversity of perspectives and see inherently that each of us has value to contribute to the conversation we’re learning from each other. I’m not just talking at you and you’re taking notes like we are having a conversation and learning. I see your struggles. You can ask questions. So my experience has been wonderful. I feel like I got very, very lucky, because you’re highly motivated and are already working on bettering yourself. That’s I think another unique thing about being in a more rigid type program where people have to apply to be a part of it. You actively took initiative and volunteered to be a part of this program, so that in itself speaks to your desire to better yourself and to learn which is a really great starting point and makes mentors want to spend time with you and give you I guess all we can.

We also had some structured sessions, so something I really appreciate about the program was we had in person and virtual conversations together as a group of mentors and mentees and kind of talk through topics that were important to everybody. And then we also had sessions just mentors.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 25:12


Alex Devine 25:27

Which was fascinating. Like, hey, what are you guys seeing? What’s going on? What’s your experience? I remember bringing up in our mentor only session and like, hey guys, it seems like 70% of this cohort are international students. Are we doing all we can to support them and their next steps like they have this added layer of complication and fear?. Like do we have resources for them? Does the school? So just having a platform to have some kind of consistency or identify trends in a larger group setting was awesome.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 25:39


Alex Devine 25:58

And great for connection building like they’re wonderful women who want to give back to other women working on themselves. So really, really good energy. It’s good vibe met a lot of great people, so yeah.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 26:02


Yeah, yeah, yeah. The the in person session that we had, the first one, it was such a powerful experience because, I mean everybody was there to just uplift the other person and like, because and again, it was like the first big gathering after COVID. But the energy of the room was fantastic. I mean, it was amazing to see how.

Alex Devine26:19


Ashlesha N. Tiwari 26:31

Ohh, contrary to what is believed about us, but women are just working to bring each other up and I guess that was really, really nice to experience.

Alex Devine 26:37


Ashlesha N. Tiwari 26:41

Fantastic experience.

Alex Devine 26:42

Yeah, totally agreed. Pretty cool. It doesn’t happen very often, so very appreciative to the Milgard School of Business and the MWI program. Specifically their coordinators have been great and it’s important we need to continue to build programs like that and make sure that there’s equal opportunity to join those programs, right? So if it’s just for grad students undergrad, I know they even have, like, maybe a middle school and high school program where the mentors would be a little bit different. So I think at any level that you’re looking to get involved.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 26:46


Alex Devine 27:12

There’s opportunity and it just depends on your unique gifts and what you want to offer. But women at every stage can benefit from that. So it’s pretty cool. I’d do it again.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 27:17


Absolutely. And it has to have. Ohh yeah. I mean, if if the school wants me back, I would love to come back as a mentor too. But yeah, I mean, that’s really nice that it’s.

Alex Devine 27:25

Sure they do.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 27:34

Ohh we have somebody who has practical experience and just not. Ohh this is the structure. This is the this is the model reader book or Google or whatever.

But it really helps to have somebody who has for setting first hand experience into managing with a lot of situations and making their and yeah, I guess that’s what makes the difference and it’s a fantastic like you said like from high school up till the graduate level.

Milgard has a lot of initiatives going on and I recommend everybody who you know, takes admission at UW Tacoma or Milgard School of Business. Just go for don’t leave. At least this. This one. I would say that I am not enrolled in very many initiatives myself, but this was something that I really looked forward to right from the first day of my orientation. And just go for it. It’s it’s you’re gonna just come out as a better person. That’s all I’d say.

Alex Devine 28:28

Yeah, I was reminded through this process the demands on a student’s time, especially a graduate students time and I, you know, wasn’t that long ago when I was in school, I was in school, I graduated 2014 was the last time I was in school.

And wow, like the it’s not only the physical time that you have to spend in class and then you add this virtual element on top of it, which typically takes longer like self learning. You have a job, you got to pay rent, you got to buy groceries, right? So we have to some kind of income unless you’re very lucky and that’s not a factor for you, but that’s rare and then homework and really big projects and meeting up with groups and you almost don’t have any time for yourself. So I think a lot of what you and I talked about was not even self management but reducing burnout.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 29:03


Alex Devine 29:14

Like, how do I make time for myself? How do I live? How do I make mental space for this?

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 29:14


Alex Devine 29:20

For these things we’re talking about, I can barely, like, get my papers turned in on time, and I have two tests next week, and so I really, I had forgotten that in my career like I have, I have free time. I work hard like I put in 60 hour weeks, right. And I feel stressed. But like when I go home at night, I can be done. I’m not working on paper, so I’m just really commend students and you specifically like to take this on and better yourself on top of all of the other demands that you have in this stress to start your career in the US and.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 29:24

Alex Devine 29:51

Go beyond right level up. Like you said, it’s a lot. So I I just commend you for your commitment to it for showing up on time for for teaching me.

It’s good. I really, really respect it and you will have no problem. I think it will actually be like a nice break to get like a demanding career, honestly, and have more time for yourself and paid well. So that was something that stuck out to me. I think it’s.

I could see how you wouldn’t want to commit because you don’t have the time, but like you said, sometimes we gotta.

Gotta hustle to get to the next spot.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 30:23

Yeah. Yeah, it’s all water. It’s it’ll make sense at the end of it. Yeah. And I really appreciate you.

Alex Devine 30:25


Yeah, you can do anything.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 30:29

for making time for me. And I know you’ve been very flexible with me and I know how busy you are. Have seen you. How busy you are. And yeah, I mean, I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. Alex. And I mean it from the bottom of my heart because I.

Alex Devine 30:38


Ashlesha N. Tiwari 30:47

I have never seen such a confident woman in my workspace, and I I think I’m working that away from you. I’m. I’m gonna take a little piece of that and carry it forward.

Alex Devine 30:57

Take some. Take it all. I have too much. Take more. Yeah.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 31:01

Carry it forward and you’ve Yeah, you’ve really taught me to believe in myself because that was something that we’ve talked about since day one. I am. I am into a self deprecating mode which you try to pull it out of me. And if I’m successful one day it’s all because of you, Alex.

Alex Devine 31:12


No, no, you see self deprecating. You have to take someone your own credit. But no, I I love that representations important. Let’s both take this experience, turn right around and give it to other women around us so that we pass it on.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 31:26


Absolutely, absolutely.

Alex Devine 31:33

Good. OK. Well, thank you for sharing your experience with me. We have lots of more mentorship activities to do. We’re not done yet, but it’s nice to reflect. So very grateful to have you in my life and to have been connected and you will do amazing things. Anyone would be lucky to have you.

Ashlesha N. Tiwari 31:40


Thank you so much, Alex. I really appreciate you doing this with me and.

Alex Devine 31:52


Ashlesha N. Tiwari 31:52

Ohh yeah, it’s fantastic. Yeah, absolutely.

Alex Devine 31:54

We’ll see you soon.