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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

February - 2009 - issue > Woman Achiever

Break the Preset Norms

Vimali Swamy
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Vimali Swamy
Gone are the industrial days when a strong physique and hard skills were crucial. In this IT era all that is needed is strong technical knowledge and soft skills. "I don't see why women cannot excel professionally when they do at home," says Manisha Sood, Country Manager India, SanDisk. With over 20 years of experience in IT sales and marketing, currently she manages a business, that of storage devices such as USB flash drives, Flash memory cards, solid state cards, and more for desktop and mobile phones, which caters to 20,000 retailers and 200 dealers in India.

"We women are preconditioned from birth, struggling for everything and preset to abide by certain rules set by the society and behave in the manner expected of us," says Manisha Sood, Country Manager India, SanDisk. Given an equal opportunity, she believes, women can excel in all aspects of life as well as men, if not better. "Hence, there is no point talking just at the organizational level in terms of women empowerment or leadership, but rather the entire society has to play a role in this," she explains.

Born in a middle class Gujarati family, Manisha is the eldest of four daughters. Since childhood she was raised to be independent and it was mandatory that she be financially independent too. There was always complete support and freedom in terms of education and career decisions. Hence, Manisha went on to complete her graduation in chemistry and post graduation in computer science.

Soon after finishing her studies Manisha joined a small size software company in Mumbai as a programmer but her stint there was a brief one as she realized that she did not have much interest sitting in front of a machine all day and writing lines and lines of codes. Being always a people’s person, she realized that she would be much happier interacting with people than just with machines. Having already studied about computer and technology, the next logical move was to sell them. Hence, she joined DCM Data Products as a management trainee. It was here that she learnt the various aspects of sales of computer software and hardware. Two years later, she moved to Modi Olivetti, a company that developed software for various banking purposes. This was the time the Rangarajan Committee had released a report on the need for the computerization of national banks. Manisha was intensively involved in this project and worked with the banks all over the country helping them with banking and ATM solutions.

In order to take up more challenging projects, Manisha joined Kodak in 1996. This was a huge change because along with shifting to another organization she had also changed her work domain. From sales and marketing of computer hardware and software she was now taking charge of digital products and solutions. The task involved hardcore sales strategy and dealing with the customers directly with no third party involvement. Manisha considers her stint at Kodak a turning point in her career. "I thoroughly enjoyed the phase at Kodak and found it a great opportunity to learn different things. From understanding market and customer needs to reaching out to them, working on innovative strategies and diversifying the business, I learnt it all," explains Manisha. It's a matter of pride for her, for she was involved in launching the first digital camera in the country. After ten long adventurous years, she left Kodak in 2006 as the country manager and joined SanDisk in the same position and has been there since then, focusing on increasing the company’s footprint in India, right from establishing a distribution channel to expanding the business.


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