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  1. Blog
  2. Partners in Diversity
  3. July 29, 2021

She Leads: Mekka Williams Is a Principal Engineer at NetApp

In a time when mental health benefits and flexibility are so important, this tech company knows how to put employee wellness first

NetApp's San Jose headquarters
Photo courtesy of NetApp

This article is part of InHerSight's Partners in Diversity series. Discover companies partnering with InHerSight to better support women in the workplace.

The pandemic has brought many workplace needs to the forefront, but none so much as mental health support and flexibility, two consistently sought-after benefits during mass remote work, chaotic news cycles, school closures, and all-around uncertainty. During this time of crisis, employers who’ve prioritized their teams’ lives outside work have become some of our favorites to feature on InHerSight—because work and life have always been integrated in some capacity, especially for women. And it’s high time that all companies recognize that.

Enter NetApp. This data-driven tech company scores most highly for Ability to Telecommute, Flexible Work Hours, and Wellness Initiatives, meaning women who work here feel their time and their health are valued by their employer. Add to those perks employee resource groups for women, Black employees, Latinos, LGTBQ+ employees, and veterans, and it’s easy to gauge how seen you might feel working here. NetApp is set up for success where diversity, equity, and inclusion are concerned.

But what’s it like working here every day? We asked Mekka Williams, a principal engineer at NetApp, to share her experience at the company. This is how they bring their top three InHerSight metrics to life.


Mekka Williams

Principal Engineer, Office of the CTO at NetApp with 14 years of experience

Her top three must-haves at work

  • Learning Opportunities
  • Sponsorship or Mentorship Program
  • Support for Diversity

Tell us about your role as an engineer at NetApp. What are you responsible for, who do you collaborate with, and what stands out in your day-to-day work as unique to being a NetApp employee?

I’ve worked in various roles within engineering over my 14 years with the company, and it just so happens that I am in an exciting new role working for the Office of the CTO. My group is an innovation incubator for NetApp cloud solutions. We not only help customers use existing products in the most effective way possible, but we also drive thought into action, paving the way for future cloud solutions. My day-to-day work can consist of collaborating with cloud operations engineers, cloud automation engineers, developers, performance analysts, or even just picking the brain of some seasoned architect. I learn something from someone brilliant at NetApp almost every day.

Tech as an industry has a reputation for overwork or workaholism, but according to InHerSight data, NetApp thrives in areas that actively combat that stereotype—like Flexible Work Hours and Wellness Initiatives. As an employee, how has NetApp’s prioritization of work-life balance impacted you? 

NetApp’s Flexible Work Hours and Wellness Initiatives make life so much more manageable, especially in this time of the pandemic. I am extremely appreciative of our No-Meeting Fridays, and I never feel pressure when I need to take care of myself or my family. We also get paid volunteer time off, which makes giving back to our communities that much easier. It is important for us, especially women, to learn how to take that pressure off ourselves. We often stress out when we can’t be everywhere and do everything for everyone. NetApp’s programs really help me to regain my center and balance and in turn, enable me to do my best work.

Sponsored
NetApp

NetApp helps businesses get the most out of their data, and they want to help women get the most out of their careers! Most highly rated for Ability to Telecommute, Flexible Work Hours, and Wellness Initiatives, they also have employee resource groups for women, Black, Latino, and LGBTQ+ employees. We love that spirit of work-life integration! Click to explore NetApp's open jobs and company profile.

Learn more ›

It’s safe to say a lot of people are emotionally and mentally exhausted after a year-plus of working during the pandemic. NetApp responded to that feeling by giving employees monthly wellness days and shutting down the “office” for an entire week in July. What does it mean to you to have an employer that values mental health? How do you use that designated time away from work? 

For me, mental health is health. It is important to me that the company I work for supports this philosophy. Mental care is just as important as physical care, and this is emphasized at NetApp. Leadership up and down our organization almost commands that we don’t engage in work during these shutdowns and go so far as to limit lab support. During this recent shutdown, I made no plans. I stayed home and did not log in one time. I had no agenda. I took the time to rest and relax. In past years, I’ve used this time to take an extended family vacation or even extended staycation. In my experience, these breaks allow me to reset and recharge. I always feel energized going back after the break.

What advice would you give women interested in joining NetApp?

NetApp is such an exciting place to work. Some days it feels like we are innovating at light speed, and it is amazing to be a part of such dynamic and smart product and solution development. But NetApp also recognizes that diversity and inclusion are key ingredients for that innovation. Not only does NetApp recognize this, but the company also implements supportive programs to ensure diverse communities, including women, are represented, supported, encouraged, and uplifted so they can thrive. I encourage women interested in joining NetApp to check out the Women In Technology at NetApp content on social media and blogs to get a glimpse of the wonderful community we have here. Bring your bright, unique, and amazing ideas along with your tough questions, and I don’t doubt that you’ll find a supportive tech home here with us.

Featured image is NetApp's new San Jose, California, headquarters.

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This post was created in conjunction with one of InHerSight's paying partners. Although InHerSight partners join us in being dedicated to amplifying the voices and experiences of women at work, InHerSight maintains complete and total editorial review and approval of content featured on our platform. 

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