Priyanka Viswanathan, Senior Engineering Auditor at Arm Ltd, talks about her experience as a CQI volunteer.

What is your professional background?

Priyanka Viswanathan (PV): I am an experienced quality assurance professional with an engineering background (electronics and communications). I am currently working at Arm Ltd, a leading semiconductor company, as a Senior Engineering Auditor. In this role I lead various engineering and functional safety audits. As a quality professional I have also contributed to the development, improvement and implementation of management systems at the organisations I have worked with over the past eight years.

Which branch are you a member of and where are you based?

PV: I am an active core committee member of the CQI Cambridge and Peterborough Branch and I live and work in Cambridge.

How long have you been a CQI volunteer?

PV: I have been a CQI volunteer for over a year now.

What inspired you to volunteer with the CQI?

PV: I initially joined the CQI to develop a professional network, after I relocated to the UK from India. It helped me to keep up to date with the changes happening in the quality world. It was a fantastic way to meet and interact with likeminded people, to discuss problems faced by various industries and to share ideas and best practices, which help develop solutions to practical problems.

The CQI started giving me a lot in terms of networks, ideas, friends, job opportunities etc. At that stage, I thought it was time for me to give back to the CQI and to contribute to its mission and vision in any way I possibly could; promoting the image of quality and thus adding value to the world.

How did you become a volunteer?

PV: I started attending CQI events through the membership that my previous employer sponsored. The events, seminars and talks offered by the CQI helped me to keep up to date with changes to standards, regulations and emerging trends in quality.

It never occurred to me that I could contribute to the work the CQI is doing to promote quality professionals, as everyone in the committee were experienced quality gurus.

I continued attending events and began connecting with the committee and branch members. I got to a stage where I was comfortable enough to ask if I could help with the branch activities as I wanted to contribute to the profession in every little way I could. That step was the first on my journey to becoming a member of the core committee last year.

I would like to tell young quality professionals that if you would like to contribute to the work this great organisation is doing in any way, just don’t hesitate to ask. There is always some way in which you can contribute to the CQI.

What is the most rewarding part of volunteering with the CQI?

PV: The feeling that I am contributing to promoting quality and the quality profession in every little way I can. I welcome new quality professionals to the branch, send out CPD certificates, organise branch events, contribute to set branch objectives and work towards achieving it etc.

What has been the highlight of your volunteer experience so far?

PV: I recently organised a CQI Cambridge and Peterborough Branch event. It was a very satisfying experience and I believe the little steps I took initially are starting to make a positive difference in promoting quality and improving my leadership skills. I was also a panellist for the Women in Quality event conducted by the CQI. This was a fantastic opportunity to share my thoughts and views and to shape the future of our professional body.

All this was possible because I took that first step of asking if I could get involved in the work the CQI is doing. In addition, it has helped me to develop a strong support network of quality professionals, whom I can contact when faced with issues or problems.

What are the challenges of being a volunteer?

PV: The main challenge I face is finding time to accommodate the responsibilities of my volunteering role amidst a full-time job and a young family. But I think what I have done well is to use this challenge to develop my time management, which I find is a very useful skill to keep developing as I progress in my career.

Would you recommend others to become a volunteer? If so, why?

PV: I would recommend volunteering to others, especially young quality professionals, as it helps to build a very strong support network of likeminded quality professionals. It also gives you a safe and warm environment to develop your communication, influencing and leadership skills, which are all critical to becoming a successful quality professional.  At the same time, it will give you a great sense of involvement in the great work the CQI is doing in shaping the future of quality and the quality profession.