AN INTERVIEW WITH
AN INTERVIEW WITH
I'm originally from India and I have an engineering degree in electronics and telecommunications. I was 21 years old when I got married and moved to US to join my husband who lived in Cleveland, Ohio. When I moved to the US, I wanted to fulfill one of my dreams of becoming a painter, so I joined a local college to purse a degree in “Art.” I studied to become a painter but soon realized it wasn’t meant for me. I was an engineer at heart, one who had a strong creative side. I had a change of heart, which led me to pursue a Masters in computer science from Cleveland State University in Cleveland, OH.
Fast forward to becoming an engineer…I worked at many different companies. I worked at companies like BP America, BF Goodrich, KeyBank, Helena Chemicals, et cetera. Thus, I have worked for a large range of companies all the way from oil to chemical to electronics to distributors and when I landed at NCR, it was quite accidentally. I was at a time in my career when I was considering becoming an entrepreneur. I was moving from another company to entrepreneurship when NCR reached out to me. And the rest is history.
The people who interviewed me, specifically the vice president, convinced me to join NCR because of how customer focused and people oriented they were. Another reason why I joined NCR was the global nature of the company — the fact that NCR is present in so many different countries was one of the biggest perks and fascinating factors that convinced me to join.
As the global IT system manager, I am responsible for management of IT applications that support Sales Operations and Finance functions for NCR, globally. My team supports Order to Cash, Finance, Service Contract and Digital Automation. I love the new challenges and learnings that come with supporting our global customer base. It's interesting to learn about different countries and their cultures. The challenging part of the role is every day you are working on a new issue for a new country. I always say my day starts in Japan with the rise of the sun and my day ends in the US at sunset. In my role, I get to go from one continent to another, meeting people virtually from different parts of the world, which makes every day interesting. That's the fascinating part of NCR.
I have a great team of strong people who support me. I'm not a superwoman, obviously, but I have a lot of superheroes who work for me. People all over the globe who work on my team are the ones who make this happen. It always requires a team effort to make sure systems are stable. My team is primarily the development team. We are the ones responsible for any new capabilities and features that get delivered. Is it stressful? Yes, it is stressful. Like I said, when you serve as many countries as NCR does — which in my case, I support systems for 70+ countries — there is always something going on somewhere that needs support. But you figure it out as you gain more experience! This helps you understand and prioritize which problems you want to focus your initial attention on.
“Culture” & “People” ...that is what makes me want to stay at NCR. I love the people I work with, and I have made many friendships over the years. I have a wonderful team that makes every day easy. The push for DE&I at every level of the organization is visible and makes me feel good to be part of the organization that takes diversity seriously. Being an engineer at heart, I love the fact that my team and I get freedom to innovate, leveraging technology and “diversity of ideas” to make business process improvements.
The fact that you're talking to me speaks volumes about diversity. I'm not from the US, I'm from India. But, I've lived here longer than I've lived in India, so this is my home. Being from another country originally, I bring in that unique perspective of an outsider who's now an insider. Now, my mission is to figure out how we can bring the whole world in to become an insider.
For the first time in my career, after having worked in so many different companies, I can tell you the peers I have at NCR are world class. The women leaders, especially, are so present and supportive. They are smart, supportive and so focused on mentorship.
I'm an engineer by background with a lot of experience delivering systems and applications to help businesses. I have a lot of tenure in various industries, especially with M&As (Mergers and Acquisitions). The fact my team is part of many such initiatives at NCR greatly impacted my decision to join the team. When I did come to NCR, one of my concerns was that I’d be stuck in a big company in one specific area. The NCR IT culture, however, doesn't allow you to be pigeonholed, or more so, you can choose not to be pigeonholed.
From a work perspective, I touch many different technologies. I am a geek at heart and will tell you that very, very clearly as a proud geek woman. I love science and technology, and I wear that as a badge of honor. I love it and I share this message with the people I mentor. You’ve got to become a specialist in something. Don't shy away from technology. If you don't necessarily like technology, keep in mind there are various areas that you might still be a great fit for and can become a specialist in. Own it and become good in that area so that people will hire you for your expertise. Then, you become a leader. It shouldn’t matter that you’re a woman. I want us to evolve past that. I don't want women to think of themselves as a woman, rather, I want them to think of themselves as people of technology, who are experts in a specific space, which is why they were hired. The only thing I want as a woman leader is a chance. It’s the chance to get interviewed and hired for what I'm good at — don't hire me because I'm a woman and don't write me off because I'm a woman.
On another note, I think the biggest way I've grown at NCR is personally. I have developed friendships that cross different countries, cultures, and teams that have enriched my journey. My experience leading the IT culture team was eye-opening for me, having come from another culture and country. To be given the opportunity to lead the culture change in itself was phenomenal. It shows a lot about the culture of NCR’s leadership, in that they were ready to put someone who is an outsider at the forefront to help solve an insider problem. That speaks a lot about the culture and I think they took a great first step towards diversity there.
I got to hear first-hand about things that mattered a lot to our millennials, my peers and my seniors. I had this unique opportunity where nothing was off the table. I had full access to all the senior leadership at NCR and when it comes to it, interacting with them to create the new culture was personally very gratifying and very inspiring. It really led me to get active in IDEAS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Allyship, Storytelling) because you don't develop empathy magically, you develop empathy when you actually interact with real people and you have real conversations. That's what these kinds of platforms allowed me to have. I’ve also had the amazing opportunity to mentor other girls because I'm passionate about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math). If I could make a difference in just one person's life because of my experience — that one person is worth it.
You'll likely find me pouring over investment documents or articles around new influences and where I should be investing. I also stay very on top of the emerging design trends and I'm a history buff. To boil it down to the things that I'm super, super passionate about, one is art, the second is investing, the third is history and I have to mention my love for dance. So you’ll likely find me at an Art Gallery, Book Store, Music Festival or Dance Studio learning new Dance Forms in my free time.
The first thing I tell prospective candidates is to be an expert in something. Develop some skills. Whatever those skills are, your focus should be to become an expert. The first thing I tell new hires is that their job at that stage in their career is to become really good at something, which transcends into becoming a good leader. It leads you to new opportunities that you wouldn't have had otherwise.