Once a month, typically from the backyard of his California home, Atul Bhatnagar opens his laptop and greets what is an unusual audience for a public-company CEO: the children of his employees.
For nearly an hour, the top executive of Cambium Networks , an international wireless technology company, shares personal stories, answers questions and addresses topics as varied as settling on a college major to choosing the right friends.
The sessions, called “Mentoring With Atul,” have attracted a swath of participants, from 10-year-olds to new college graduates. Designed to help employees and their families struggling in the pandemic, the meetings have become a sort of Zoom-era cross between take-your-children-to-work days and online ask-me-anything sessions.
Mr. Bhatnagar, a father of five, says the boundaries between work and life have vanished, so leaders must do a better job of acknowledging the realities parents face at home. If executives can offer helpful wisdom or serve as an additional sounding board, Mr. Bhatnagar says, they should do so. “Life has changed,” he says. “In Covid, we all face issues together. So as leaders, we also had a chance to express our compassion, our understanding of the issues.”
The 63-year-old executive has advised students to follow their passions but to prioritize education. He has offered time-management techniques, stressed the importance of exercise and health, and discussed ways to handle online bullying, criticism and personal setbacks. Attendees have logged on from the U.S., India, Europe, Africa and elsewhere; the company says U.S.-based families have participated as much as those from abroad.