When Erika Beskar accepts a challenge, she’s all in.
“She’s extremely passionate about what she does,” said Lakshmi Holehonnur, an engineer at our company whom Erika mentored as part of a program to advance women in technical leadership roles. “I’ve never seen her make a half-hearted attempt at anything. She’s all in and is looking to help anyone she deals with to the maximum extent possible.”
Erika’s passion and mentorship helped Lakshmi’s application for our company’s Technical Ladder succeed and also inspired her to work with high school students and introduce them to career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math. “I see Erika doing that consistently, and it was a big inspiration for me,” she said.
Whether she’s encouraging women to advance in their engineering careers, advocating for STEM education or leading her team, Erika uses her growing influence to blaze a path for others.
“The power of your voice can impact the next generation and can change the way we shape technology in the future,” she said. “This can create more engineers and drive more change. This has become my passion.”
Erika’s professional stature has grown because of a rare combination – technical acumen, people skills and an ability to execute plans well, said Sreenivasan Koduri, a TI Fellow. “She doesn’t just come up with great ideas, she gets everybody aligned, executes the ideas methodically and delivers results. This is a rare combination,” he said. “That’s why she is one of the few people moving up our company’s technical and management ladders at the same time.”
Already a member of the TI Technical Ladder – which provides a defined career path for technical employees – Erika in January 2018 was elected Senior Member, Technical Staff. She now is the highest-ranking Latina on this prestigious technical career track. Later in the year, a promotion also placed her in a senior leadership position in our validation and testing group.
Learning to grow strong
Erika is used to taking the road less traveled.
Growing up in Ensenada, a small city in Baja California, Mexico, Erika’s father, an ophthalmologist, pushed his four daughters to excel in school, develop independence and pursue careers. When Erika expressed interest in engineering, he suggested an internship at a nearby company. Her artistic side – classical piano, ballet and flamenco dancing – came from her mother, who owned a dance studio.
And in her first engineering class at Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, she was the only woman in a class of 100. “The class was fun and interesting, and I was brave enough to stay,” she said. “These experiences teach you to be strong and have a thick skin.” She graduated four years later with a degree in electrical engineering.
The courage to act boldly
Today, Erika leads a team at our company that tests semiconductor chips to ensure that they work as they were designed to work. The validation process includes software, hardware, analytics, content, measurement libraries and driving strategy.
“I see the role as making our products better and enhancing our customers’ experience,” she said.
Her passion for helping others succeed expanded when she led Unidos, our company’s network for Hispanic employees, and through her community work inspiring students to pursue technical careers. After speaking at one eighth-grade career day, she received cards from students who told her that she had persuaded them to become engineers. “That was rewarding,” she said. “You can make an impact just by having a conversation.”
“Erika has a passion to drive change, and that passion has yielded a broad, positive impact for TI and for our community,” said Ray Upton, a vice president at our company. “She sees a vision for where she wants to take things, and she has the courage to act boldly to achieve that vision.”