A. Nandini talks about women in leadership, innovation and her journey with GlobalLogic
A. Nandini joined GlobalLogic as VP Engineering and Delivery in June 2007. It has been eight years since and Nandini has grown with the organisation. “I have seen the organisation acquire competencies, centres and geographies.” Nandini started at GlobalLogic with 3 projects and about 50 people. Today she is managing the Nodia centre that has 1200 plus employees.
HerStory spoke with Nandini about her career, her journey with GlobalLogic, the challenges she has tackled head on over the years and some of the learnings she has acquired there. Here are some excerpts from the conversation.
This Tamilian was born and brought up in Delhi and happily announces that she is a Delhiite to the core. “Some of the best years of my life were spent at Delhi University.” She did Mathematics Hons and MCA too from Delhi University and was a University topper as well. As campus hire she joined Tata Unisys limited. Joining a big company gave her good exposure, helped her understand the value of processes and taught her to work with big teams.
After a five year run she moved to a role in the telecom domain. “I wanted to get a taste of telecom,” she says. Two years into it she realized that telecom did not come naturally to her so she decided to pursue something that her heart yearned for. She went and joined a very small organisation called Interra Information Technologies because she wanted to grow. “I think I was the 50th employee or so. They didn’t have any full-blown support department and things like HR policy in place. So we decided to do things from scratch. Here my Tata Unisys exposure came in handy and this was a great experience. I could focus on managerial skills and not just focus on technology and delivery. In fact I headed the CMM level 5 certification and that was a great milestone.”
I am the delivery head for Noida and also the centre head. So basically I am responsible for the health and growth of the centre. As the delivery head my responsibility is to ensure every deliverable speaks for itself and the customer is left with a wow experience. We try and make things better and different every year with innovation.
The happiness is evident on her face when she talks about her journey with GlobalLogic. “These 8 years have been fulfilling. I have grown with the organisation, I have seen the organisation grow. It is one of the rare organisations where you get to experience so many cultures, sitting in one location. I understand Ukraine, Argentina, and Slovakia, which I think I would never get a chance to elsewhere. You understand the psyche of the people, you always have something to learn. Everybody talks about being global but I think we are truly global because there is a lot of collaboration and interaction which keeps happening.”
GlobalLogic deals with big data, IoT, cloud and many other huge sectors. Solutions have to be at the cross roads of multiple things and cannot be driven by one thing or sector. It cuts across sectors and that is the value we add. According to Nandini, what it means is that the focus is continuously on innovation and often these sectors overlap and convene to provide unique solutions.
Trends in Technology
The trend that I see is that the lines between the real and the virtual has almost blurred.
She explains how Internet of Things has changed things for us and how smart technology is here to stay and lead to many more innovations. Contextual intelligence (derived from data, analytics etc.) is helping people make better decisions.
“There were initial teething troubles,” she says talking about challenges, “they were tough, but there was a lot of learning and I have to thank my team because you are as good or as bad as your team.”
Nandini is appreciative of the support extended by her executive management team and the mentorship she has found in Shashank Samant, the CEO of GlobalLogic.
Shashank has been a pillar of support. Whenever I have felt that I am at the crossroads, he has always been there to guide and help. So the journey has been made very fruitful thanks to all this support.
For Nandini the glass ceiling does not exist. According to her, “Women use it as an excuse to not get to where they want to get to.” She admires women who have risen from ground zero and don’t boast of a big
name or a godfather figure.Nandini points to the GlobalLogic website where women figure in leadership roles. Herself the leader of a large centre, she constantly gets support from their CEO to staff more women overall and in the leadership team too.
“We are a very women friendly company. We have a crèche where women can leave their kids and even check on them so they work without distractions. We have flexible work timings as long as the deliverables are met. We do make dedicated drives when we feel that the ratio of women in a certain team is low or skewed.”
Nandini also helps to mentor women who are a part of Wise (Women inspired to shine and excel) an initiative started by one of her friends.
Staying on top of things
Nandini shares that once in a while she does feel guilty not to be around her children but instead of giving in to guilt she looks for solutions. She says that to be on top of work one does not need to be a superwoman. “I balance things, one weekends I cook for my children, I have a driver because I don’t want to take on that additional stress of driving and I take those two hours of travel and use them productively to take all the calls while I am travelling.”
Just because you have a body of work does not mean you can sit back and relax. Learning is a continuous process. You have to be on the driver’s seat and never lose focus.
She puts a high premium on hard work and says that there are no shortcuts to it despite the younger generation looking for instant gratification and feeling that things are within easy reach.
She signs off by saying that GlobalLogic has big plans for the future. “We want to see ourselves doubling hopefully in the very near future.”