Own your life and career, leave inhibitions behind: Mangalapadma Srinivasan of Verizon India

By Rekha Balakrishnan
October 24, 2022, Updated on : Mon Oct 31 2022 09:42:22 GMT+0000
Own your life and career, leave inhibitions behind: Mangalapadma Srinivasan of Verizon India
Our Woman in Tech this week, Mangalapadma Srinivasan, Director - Customer Experience Management, Verizon Consumer Group, India, believes understanding what to focus on at a specific juncture of life is a life skill every working woman in tech needs to master.
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With over 23 years experience in new technology solutions, delivery, and client engagement roles, Mangalapadma Srinivasan’s career high points have always been “a by-product of risk-taking and stepping outside known boundaries”.


As the Director - Customer Experience Management, Verizon Consumer Group, India she drives strategic innovation with 5G, mobile edge computing (MEC), and customer experience.


Growing up in Chennai, with both her parents as working professionals, she was drawn to science and computers right from childhood.


“I was so enamoured by computer science in high school, you would either find me poring over books on science fiction and next-gen technologies, or in the computer lab. This fuelled my imagination and deepened my understanding of technology applications to solve complex problems,” she tells HerStory.


The whole process of interpreting, critically evaluating the problem scenario, and devising a solution framework through the application of logic continued to fascinate her. This also gave Mangalapadma a starting point, and with technological advancements already taking place around her, where she says she was able to connect the dots.


She went on to pursue a bachelor’s in physics and master’s in computer applications from Madras University. She started as a developer, test strategist, building technical proposals, implementing automation roadmaps, and now leads digital transformation with the application of Agile methodologies, data analytics, and AI/ML models.

Mangalapadma

Mangalapadma Srinivasan

“Having been involved in IT for over 25 years, I have had the good fortune to see tech evolve up close. Starting from the object-oriented era to navigating in the Y2K wave with technology projects, driving digital transformation initiatives towards the middle of my career, and now business transformation and client engagement in my leadership role in Verizon India, it's been an exciting journey,” she says.

Mangalapadma joined Verizon in 2020 and heads the Client Experience portfolio for the Verizon Consumer group in India, overseeing strategic initiatives across customer experience and business transformations. Prior to this, she worked in corporate organisations like Cognizant and Accenture.


At Verizon, she leads a team of 500 tech professionals overseeing the experience management portfolio.


“I had the opportunity to oversee Quality Engineering, Intelligent Enterprise-wide Automation, Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) practices, System Engineering practices, and managing client experience and improvements while leading Agile Transformation across the board for consumer organisations,” she says.

Enabling women in tech

Mangalapadma is actively involved as an industry speaker in guiding aspiring young women on the skill sets required for navigating through a volatile industry environment and getting them equipped for a diverse workplace. She was part of the Tech4Girls STEM workshop in Cambridge, sponsored by Verizon and also engages with women technologists across forums like Techgeek Goddess.


According to her, women in tech need four key things. Enablement from the organisations to help them with the relevant learning and development opportunities to build on their career journey without having to make a trade-off with any aspect of personal or professional life; the right mentorship framework; a good support system that enables them to defy all odds with flexibility, autonomy, favourable policies, and an inclusive environment for all. Above all, they should own their life and career journey by pushing themselves of any inhibitions.


She believes retaining women, particularly mid-career, is the biggest challenge as that is when women have to juggle expanded responsibilities in personal as well as professional lives.


“As an ally to my team, I had the opportunity to define workplace policies by initiating part-time roles and policy frameworks for returning mothers with self-paced learning programmes to get up to speed once they return to work,” she says.


At Verizon, Mangalapadma also spearheads Tech for Women, a leadership programme that empowers Associate Directors and Seniors Managers in her team.


As the Executive  Sponsor of Women of the World (WOW), one of the company’s D&I women's leadership development programmes, she has mentored and curated a learning path for a group of 15 to 20 aspiring women leaders with a strategic focus on five core aspects of leadership development: developing self-leadership, creating a personal brand, communicating effectively, using critical thinking, and being empowered to own their career journeys.

The biggest challenges in Mangalapadma's journey so far have been “prioritisation and re-prioritisation in career and personal life”.

“Understanding what to focus on at a specific juncture of life is a life skill every working woman in tech needs to master. Also, constantly looking for ways to upskill is of utmost importance to hold this chain with oneself. Over a period of time, I have learned the art to balance it out which continues to help me juggle my professional and personal priorities at different stages of life as a woman,” she adds.


Looking back, she wishes that as a young mother, she had the innovative working models women have now. She remembers spending long hours in the office due to lack of an infrastructure support system like remote working options and equipment to be able to operate from anywhere.


“Over the last 15-20 years, there has been a drastic shift in the way teams engage with one another in a space agnostic set up, which has further multiplied the productivity levels to a great extent,” she says.


Mangalapadma’s biggest inspiration in life is her father who has taught her many life lessons– “not by telling but by doing”–encouraging her to look beyond boundaries, explore new things, test and learn.  


For, life is all about pushing yourself to dream, and achieve big.


(The story has been updated to reflect a change in designation)


Edited by Megha Reddy