By: Kathryn Rainville
July marked the 3rd anniversary for the DISH Women’s Network. As Michelle Calkins, co-founder and president of DWN said in her opening remarks, “…we’ve seen our members grow personally and professionally as they’ve broadened their connections across the company, earned promotions, and expanded their roles to become impactful players at DISH.” Each year, the DISH Women’s Network team selects women and men for various awards to recognize the milestones these incredible people have achieved over the course of the year. As Alison Moy, DWN VP of Member Engagement reminded us: “These rewards are an opportunity to not only recognize the winners but to also reflect on the cast talent around us and appreciate those who are pushing us to be better.”
This year, the DISH Women’s Network team received an overwhelming number of nominations which made the decision difficult. Congratulations to all of the nominees for all of their hard work. Right now, we would like to congratulate each of the incredibly deserving winners for all they have contributed to their peers, to their teams, and to the larger DISH community.
Kristen Machemer is this year’s Trailblazer award recipient. As stated in at awards ceremony, Kristen is a Technical Product Owner with DISH Technologies. Her co-workers have cited her impressive ability to manage two teams, communicate effectively between parties, and make working on high stress projects fun for all involved. Managing each team would be a full-time job in and of itself, but Kristen tracks all areas of each product in a constantly evolving environment and takes calculated risks to lead her teams to success. As if that isn’t enough, Kristen’s nominators boast her 15-year career with DISH Technologies in software development as part of her trailblazing and example setting across the company. Kristen embodies the spirit of the DISH Women’s Network and impacts the business through her dedication to her craft and how she inspires others.
XiXi Hua is this year’s Woman to Watch award recipient. As a programming mentor and Product Owner for DISH, her team cites her talent in QT development, her “gusto,” and her drive to consistently improve herself. She seeks out those who can help her improve her skills, including involving her team in an ad-hoc “word of the day” game “to improve her already excellent English speaking skills,” turning into an enjoyable team-building exercise. From these kinds of team-building moments and her leadership, Xixi helped her team “deliver more features than [they] could count!” Xixi excels in her job and motivates others to achieve more than they thought possible, which was shown in what her teammates considered a well-earned promotion. Her accomplishments and her talent show the tremendous promise, and for that, she is the woman to watch this year, and the many years to come.
Hyerim Kaplan is this year’s Mentor of the Year. As a Senior Instructional Designer for the Design & Development team with Sales Training & Support, Hyerim boasts a 15-year career with DISH, and is always there for her team. She supports and leads with her “specific guidance” and encouragement. Her co-workers state that “her genuine care for others and desire to create the best team possible can be felt everyday despite her distance.” Although she is the only one from her team based in Roseland, NJ, she continues to mentor those who have even been promoted above her, and graciously helps those who are new to the team. One teammate says, “her patience is boundless…she always answers honestly.” Hyerim embodies the “Best Team” DISH goal and excels in building those relationships both internally and externally. Finally, as one of her nominators says she “…balances wisdom and humility in such a way that makes her a most excellent mentor.”
Jeremy Van Essen is this year’s Ally of the Year. As a Senior IT Manager, Jeremy has served at the IT liaison for DWN for the past year. When faced with difficult questions about equality, Jeremy defends his role and belief in the women’s network. He is a member of the Ally Engagement working group for the DWN steering committee and dedicates time to the ally engagement initiative to increase participation in the DISH Women’s Network. Jeremy is a reliable volunteer of the DISH Women’s Network, and helps at any opportunity, such as sitting on the first ever Ally Panel for the DISH Women’s Network in May. Within his own org, he “…ensures that women on his team are given the opportunity to participate and flourish,” but continues to promote inclusion and equality in the larger IT ecosystem. It takes allies like Jeremy to continue to lean in for the business and its team’s continual advancement.
Again, congratulations to all of the nominees and winners of this year’s DISH Women’s Network awards. We are so proud to call you each colleagues, friends, and allies. It is your example and your spirit that remind us how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. We will leave you with the parting words of our president, Michelle Calkins: “Educate yourself. Read as much as you can. Ask the women in your lives about the challenges they’ve facing in the workplace. Be a mentor. Come to the Network’s First Friday Coffee and join the conversation. Be open-minded, learn from those around you, and then start being part of the change.”