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#IamRemarkable: Empowering Employees at EPAM

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In 2019, EPAM joined the #IamRemarkable initiative, an empowerment movement launched by Google that encourages women and men to share their achievements and teaches self-promotion skills. Reaching over 90,000 participants globally, facilitators conduct workshops and trainings to scale within companies and organizations across 100+ countries. 

Among one of the first to start the initiative at EPAM was Hanna Bandarenka, Senior People Program Specialist on the Diversity & Inclusion team. In just a few months, more than 500 people of all ages and interests have attended her workshops.

“After attending a few external workshops, I conducted the first #IamRemarkable workshop at EPAM for 80 employees,” Hanna says. “Together, with the help of my colleagues from EPAM’s Learning and Development team, #IamRemarkable is now one of our in-house programs because of its success. Employees from across EPAM’s Belarus locations can attend the workshop. The goal of these 90-minute workshops is to develop self-presentation and promotional skills in both your professional and personal life. Another huge benefit is that the workshop encourages us to discuss bias and stereotypes about self-presentation that are common in our society.”

Hanna has inspired other EPAMers, such as Hanna Klimovich, Aliaksandra Shauchuk and Hanna Yermalinskaya, to become facilitators as well. After the conclusion of the workshops, many EPAMers wanted to continue the conversation, leading them to conduct virtual meetings they call “Remarkable Wednesdays.” These meetings take place every two weeks, and participants share what they are proud of since the last meeting. It’s both a place to practice and a support group. We spoke with those EPAMers, and here’s what they had to say:

Hanna Klimovich, Software Engineer at EPAM:

“The #IamRemarkable workshops are about self-confidence and the ability to recognize your abilities. It helps you value yourself and your work. Often, we understate our merits, even though they’re an important part of our success. The issues we touched on during the workshops really resonated with me, so I decided to become a facilitator to increase my confidence and develop my presentation skills. At each workshop, we see more and more people who start off shy and lack confidence, but as they continue to work on it, it becomes easier for them to open up.”

Maksim Parshuta, Senior Content Strategist at EPAM:

“I used to do PR for athletes, so I can easily talk about how great other people are. But, it’s hard for me to discuss my own strengths and achievements. When you see others who have trouble with this, too, it makes it easier to open up. Talking about yourself means thinking about the importance and value of your work, even if you’re only one small part of a bigger project.”

Aliaksandra Shauchuk, Associate Experience Designer at EPAM:

“I’ve always been interested in women’s movements and meetings. In my research, I’ve found women are often afraid to apply for positions that men aren’t and are more likely to suffer from imposter syndrome. This training helps you understand that we are alike and are not alone in our challenges. At the training, both women and men share nice things about themselves, and others support their bravery. It’s always been in my nature to help, so I decided to become a facilitator to help others become stronger and ask for more without shame or guilt.”

Hanna Yermalinskaya, Administrative Assistant at EPAM:

“I think that the #IamRemarkable training is especially useful for newcomers to the company who may lack confidence. When a person is afraid to talk about their achievements, it’s important to help them understand that they should be proud of what they do. It’s been amazing to see how my colleagues go out of their comfort zone and share their victories – big and small. And the workshop has a great rule: what’s said there, stays there.”

Aksana Prakharchuk, Director, Head of People at EPAM:

“It can be awkward when you need to talk about yourself and your achievements. No matter what your experience is, it’s easier to talk about your responsibilities and tasks or just describe your role – whether it’s during a job interview or while talking with your manager. The problem is that if you’re not ready to share your achievements or what you’re proud of, you limit your opportunities and chances for success. The opposite is also true: openly communicating what we’re good at, what skills we have or what our goals are makes us happier with our jobs, our tasks, our projects…and makes us better at finding new opportunities to grow professionally and in our careers.”

With the program’s success in Belarus, the team is looking to expand #IamRemarkable to other countries and regions, like Russia, Poland and North America. We look forward to seeing EPAMers’ confidence grow!