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July - 2008 - issue > Woman Achiever
Grabbing-the-Opportunities-of-Success
Vimali Swamy
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
With over 13 years of experience in the Semiconductor industry Jaya Jagadish, Verification Manager at AMD, is a role model for today’s young women who are reluctant to venture into this industry. “As a student I was fascinated by this field because I felt that this was one industry that has a great potential to change peoples’ lives. I would be constantly amazed that how a tiny chip of a millimeter square area could hold millions of transistors and play a vital role in our everyday life, making it easy and comfortable,” says Jaya.

As a young girl she had always dreamt of becoming an engineer; quite natural for someone whose family and relatives were into engineering. She graduated in Electronics and Communications from Bangalore University and went to the U.S.A. for higher studies. She obtained her Masters Degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Dallas. Jaya’s dream was realized when she was offered a job with AMD as a Design Engineer. After a few years at AMD she moved to Mentor Graphics as a consultant where she handled clients like Motorola, Lucent, ARM, AMD, and Rockwell. Working on multiple projects for multiple clients gave her good exposure to the different aspects of the semiconductor industry. Three and a half years later she joined Analog Devices where she worked as a Verification Lead for about four years.

Jaya then felt the need to relocate to India with her family and hence took a transfer to the company’s India office and moved back to India. After working here for a couple of months, one day, one of her former colleagues offered her a chance to join AMD again. Jaya did not think twice and grabbed the opportunity and joined AMD, bringing her career to a full circle. Today, she has been with the company for three years and has never been happier. In her current role as a Verification Manager, Jaya and her team handle the verification of the core IP that goes into every AMD product.

Currently, she has a team of nine people along with a few contractors from WIPRO. Though the team size may seem small it is not an easy task for Jaya as a manager. “Be it a small team or large, it is always a tough task for a manager. I have always believed that most people quit jobs because of bad managers. If the manager is good employees do not usually quit, even if the work is not good enough,” says Jaya. “Hence I make sure that there is always a constant interaction between my team and me. I also take out time to have one on one interaction and listen to every individual’s problems,” she adds.

Moreover, the needs of each individual are different. Some want instant appreciation for every job well done, while others may just not care. Hence the trick in managing a team efficiently is in understanding every individual’s needs and approaching them accordingly, explains Jaya. Her involvement with her team reflects in the fact that she never hands over a project to them before she understands the technicalities herself. And in case of any problems, technical or otherwise, Jaya too gets involved and does not rest unless a solution has been found.

One of the greatest challenges as a manager is to continuously foster innovation in the team. “Being in a verification process does not leave much scope for innovation, but I always motivate my team to find out new ways of making the work easier,” says Jaya. Grooming the next level of leaders is another important challenge. While some have a natural flair for leadership, others need to be trained to be leaders. Hence Jaya tries to delegate work by identifying everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. She gives them the independence to do the work in their style, and constantly teams up the experienced members with freshers for technical mentorship.

Jaya’s signature strength is sincerity and enthusiasm towards work. The proof for this is the numerous awards and accolades that she has always received from both the companies she has worked with and their clients. She has been constantly winning spotlight awards for excellent performance. In 1999, she won the award for ‘Best Consultant’ at Mentor Graphics.

She attributes all her success to her family that has been supportive in all her career decisions. She believes that women bring a totally different perspective to every work they do. They also have a natural flair for multi tasking and taking ownership of every work they do, a key strength for success. Hence, it upsets her when she sees women employees compromising their career for other duties.

Always energetic and bubbling with passion for her work, Jaya comes across as a totally different person once she is out from her office. At home, she loves spending time with her family and relaxing. One of her deepest passion is music. She has been practicing classical music for over 15 years. She has completed her Junior and Senior Exams in Carnatic Music and will be appearing for her Proficiency exam shortly. In her free time she also teaches music to many students. Jaya also enjoys reading and traveling with her family and now hopes to realize her other dream of a long leisurely holiday with her family at Hawaii.
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