Vice President- Information Technology
When you are young, you look for inspiration, my inspiration were my father and brother (both are engineers) and I followed in their footsteps. My father was in the All India Government services that gave me an opportunity to move around cities in India and experience multiple cultures. I did my Electrical Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering in 1995. Being good in studies all along, I have been a college topper and a University gold medalist.
My first job was at Siemens that kicked off with trainings in India & HQ (Munich). I worked with Siemens for 6 years across Delhi, Kolkata, Gurgaon and Bangalore. I then moved to Hughes Software Systems. When my husband relocated to Indonesia I moved with him and joined Siemens over there. I then had a wonderful stint with Ericsson before joining Airtel a year ago.
My parents were my first and best mentors; they gave me a solid foundation. I have been lucky to have very good bosses who have guided me over the years. Both home and work are equally important for me. What fluctuates with time is that at a particular time one aspect takes more importance vis-a-vis the others. My successful career would not have happened without a supportive husband; there have been times when he has taken charge of the home and managed the home front brilliantly.
For a working woman in India, the initial years of settling in are not tough; the first change comes when you get married. The second milestone hits when you have kids. That’s when it starts getting tougher. When I shifted to Bangalore with a 2-month old son, I was on crossroads on how to manage his care & work. Thanks to great advice from my HR head, I enrolled my son into a day care facility and today I strongly appreciate day care facilities, especially for families when both parents are working. To make it work one needs to create a supportive ecosystem both at home and at work – house help, day cares, flexi-time, work from home when needed etc. Also women need to be honest & hard working as it is a fine balancing act and most importantly they need to be courageous and open to taking up newer roles and widening their experiences to become more wholesome professionals.
In 2000, I got my first mobile phone and the connection was Airtel. While in Siemens and Ericsson, I got the opportunity to see the telecom industry very closely across the globe from a vendor’s perspective. The next move in my mind was to see it from an operator’s side and Airtel being the best among network operators in India, I feel fortunate to have gotten this opportunity. It is a very different exposure as I had never been involved in the B2B business space before and I was open to taking up a new challenge. B2B in India is on a high growth trajectory, and hence all functions at Airtel, including IT need to support this growth which makes my job very interesting. Online, mobile apps, cloud, internet, IOT are some of the interesting new developments that are completely changing the telecom industry and I simply love being in Telecom IT.
I think the USP of Airtel is that it’s a very innovative company. Open to taking risks, experimenting with new ideas – Airtel has had a quite big share of introducing various 1st in the Indian Market and that is something that defines Airtel. It takes true courage to be what Airtel is.
I like to read inspiring and motivating writers which includes successful and motivating women in the industry and what they have to say including Sheryl Sandberg, Elizabeth Gilbert, Chanda Kochhar and Indra Nooyi. One quote that I really like is “No one can have it all”. To sum up I will say chase your dreams, it’s totally worth it!