[100 Emerging Women Leaders] Yamini Reddy believes being a tennis player helped her become a good entrepreneur
“Honestly, I feel sports has given me an edge as compared to anything else in my life. The exposure, the confidence, the awareness, the ability to handle failure, and bounce back from it much faster, all of it. Staying calm, following a routine, there are so many small things…,” says Yamini Reddy.
Her father was a professional tennis player and her a basketball player. “So, they wanted us to play a sport, and they felt an individual sport would be good,” she adds.
What started off as fun became a bit more serious when she was about 14-15. She got the opportunity to play and travel internationally, finishing fifth in Asia and going on to play the junior Australian Open.
Yamini has led client mandates in the sectors of technology and sports, driving advocacy for some of the largest global semiconductor companies and creating category awareness and acceptance for new technologies.
Her forte has been to build strong teams and deliver client service excellence. An alumna of The University of South Dakota in Strategic Communications, the former athlete took the entrepreneurial plunge by starting her own public relations (PR) firm, The Outlier.
Yamini had to face two challenges—gender and age. She explains, the idea is to stick to what you do and be intellectually honest. By this she means it is important to be true to the work you do.
She says, “I'm actually pleasantly surprised by how open and accepting people have been. Before I came back, I was afraid of how I would be treated– whether people would respect my ideas and my opinions. I do believe though that it is the way you put your point across that matters. If you can back it up with relevant data and insights, I don't think gender matters on that front. I think your knowledge and your quality of work will prove itself in the long run. That's what I've really found to be true.”
Working in a field dominated by men hasn’t affected her work, the entrepreneur says.
“I work with a majority of men in leadership positions, and it's really encouraging to see a rise in women entrepreneurs. It's also encouraging to see the acceptance because people are willing to listen today, regardless of who you are, what you look like, where you come from, if you're good, you're good,” Yamini shares about her learnings as a leader.
What should the leaders of tomorrow keep in mind?
“I think you need to know what you want and you need to motivate yourself. There's no amount of motivation that can come from outside unless you're willing to do it yourself. So, you need to have that fire within yourself to wake up every day and want to go after what you want. And if you don't want it bad enough, you will know because you're not going to be putting in that effort,” advises Yamini.
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti