Sr. Vice President- Technology
I completed my formative education in Bhopal and my engineering from Indore. My father was a civil engineer with the government and motivated me to pursue a career in technology or engineering. My mother inculcated the habit of reading and learning in me.
I pursued Electronics and Telecommunication engineering, cleared UPSC and became an Indian Engineering Services Officer in 1989, serving the government for 17 years.
When I decided to transition to private sector, I joined Tech Mahindra. There is a big difference in how public versus private sectors work. The transition to private sector meant huge new learning while relearning other aspects. Private sector exposed me to business and customer driven environment, global teams, working in different time zones, tight proposals and pre-sales skills giving me an excellent insight to the telecom world across the globe. I gathered a lot of technical knowledge while at Tech Mahindra and it became my key strength.
After a few years, I moved to Airtel Chennai as CTO. Within 6-8 months fixed line long distance and mobile networks businesses merged into one entity resulting in a welcome role expansion for me. The four years in Airtel Chennai and Bangalore were really exciting, cut short by a personal reason to shift my base to Pune. But in less than a year I re-joined Airtel’s Pune office in my present role as hub CTO for West and North.
Life at Airtel has taught me how to work collaboratively with partners. On personal front, a very supportive husband has really influenced my thinking and decisions alike. With unwavering support from a progressive mother in law, I feel lucky to have a support system at home that is extremely important for a working woman. After my second child too I was skeptical about joining back work again, but my family’s confidence in me has really given me the courage to achieve my dreams. My children have been a source of joy and inspiration for me and their understanding and support has been unconditional.
I feel women are natural at multi-tasking. We are focused taskmasters and lead a team with sensitivity. My advice to new age mothers is that there is a right time for everything and family priorities should not be delayed. Mantra for work-life balance is to set your priorities and manage time intelligently. I vividly remember Heren in Thomas Cook once said ‘People don’t remember you for what you have achieved, they only know how you influence or touch them’. Suddha Murthy also mesmerizes me is as she is a change maker.
Entry-level professionals should understand that there is no short cut to hard work. Have the desire to learn and innovate continuously. Define boundaries and the way people can behave with you so that you should always feel safe wherever you are working. The ability to learn and sincerity towards work should be the driving force.
When you rise up the ranks, it’s really important to understand how the last person in the chain works on the ground.
I see the young generation being very particular in profile selection. When you are on the job, there’s always a learning curve, so take feedback and work with an open mind. I would highly recommend simple books on habits, time management, Power of Now to help you through your career. ‘Who moved my Cheese’ is another great book for simple tips that I found very useful!