GOTara is a Global Career Advice Network for women in STEM

It was started by a STEM woman with a clear mission. Meet D. Sangeeta, Founder and CEO of Gotara.

D.-Sangeeta-Gotara-Founder-& CEO. Image of D. Sangeeta seated with her arms crossed casually on her lap, facing the camera, and smiling. She has shoulder length brown, way hair and is wearing a sleeveless white collared shirt and blue jeans.

“My dream is to use human ingenuity and data science to disrupt the gender imbalance in the STEM worlds. That’s how Gotara came to life.”

 

– D. SANGEETA, PHD,
Founder, and CEO of Gotara

After a 26-year career in the STEM world and 26 patents, Sangeeta decided to leave her role at Amazon as Vice President of Connections in the spring of 2020 to launch Gotara. (Yes, it was in the middle of the pandemic, but Sangeeta has been an innovator and pioneer all her life. Putting her dream on hold wasn’t an option.)

D. Sangeeta is a perfect example of what happens when passion meets purpose. In her case, her mission is clear: She launched Gotara because she wants to address the gender gap in STEM.

Nano-mentoring provides timely, confidential advice on the fly 

To do this, Gotara provides confidential and personalized career advice and support for women in STEM 24/7, whether they are landing their first job or striving for career advancement. We call it “nano-mentoring” because it’s on-the-fly career advice our members receive within 24 hours. The advice comes from seasoned leaders in the STEM world and it’s long term, tactical or urgent

Sangeeta’s vision is to make this service available to women around the world who trained in a STEM field or who are working in STEM industries as individuals or as leaders in corporate, academic or government settings, as well as those pursuing entrepreneurial ventures. You could be living in Africa, China or Thailand and connect with a Gotara advisor based in Seattle who has walked in “your career shoes.”  

Talk about “star power”

Truly—it’s part of Gotara’s DNA because, in Sanskrit, tara means “star.” “We’re committed to being a woman’s North Star when it comes to guiding her STEM career,” explains Sangeeta. “Sometimes, we all need advice or a little encouragement. At Gotara, we’ve got our members’ backs. We’re here for them, and we’re their biggest champion. The promise to our Gotara members is simple: Dream it. Build it. Grow it. The ‘it’ refers to that phenomenal career they’re reaching for. Who says you can’t reach for the stars? At Gotara, we’re all about that.

Facing the gender gap and five flights of stairs

Sangeeta has been reaching for the stars—often against the odds—all her life. When she was completing her master’s in chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology, in Kanpur, the ratio of women to men was 1 to 100.

The ratios weren’t that differrent at the universities she attended in the United States. After obtaining her PhD in materials chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she started her post-PhD studies working in a building where the women’s bathroom was on the second floor with the secretaries. The hitch? Sangeeta worked on the fifth floor with her male counterparts. “It was like a scene out of the film Hidden Figures,” she recalls. “I remember madly dashing down the stairs. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. It was just the way things were.”
 

The only woman in the room

In all the STEM career moves that followed—five years at General Electric Global Research Center, nine years at GE Aviation, nine years at Nielsen and three years at Amazon—Sangeeta grew accustomed to often being the only senior woman in the room. “When I was the Global Head of Data Science at Nielsen, I lobbied for my managers to hire qualified women,” she says. “Even though we hired women for junior roles, the top positions were all going to men. I wanted to change that.”

Sangeeta took on that challenge by mentoring and coaching women in her limited spare time. It was an enriching experience, and it inspired her to create a company dedicated to helping women in STEM. “I always wanted to do a start-up, and last year it became clear to me that now is the time for me to take on that challenge,” she says. “My dream is to use human ingenuity and data science to disrupt the gender imbalance in the STEM worlds. That’s how Gotara came to life.”