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April - 2009 - issue > Woman Achiever
It is All About Proving one’s Merit
Vimali Swamy
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Post B.E. in Electrical Engineering, Radhika was not willing to join the rat race for joining MNCs as a programmer. She felt that sitting and coding for endless hours was not what she wanted in her career. Quite vivacious and a people’s person, she wanted to do something that allowed her to interact with people while working on the technical front. She found this ideal opportunity with Microland. She joined the company as a management trainee in the Support Engineering team and stayed in it for five years. Here she got an opportunity to work on various technologies including Microsoft, Cisco, Netware and Lotus notes. Later she had a brief stint at Aditi Technologies before switching to Satyam. She fondly remembers her time at Satyam, as it was here that she got her first opportunity to work outside India at customer sites. Radhika worked on numerous Data Warehousing projects that involved hands-on experience in various technologies like Microsoft, Informatica and Hyperion.

Being quite happy with her career, the turning point came when she got the opportunity to work for Microsoft GTSC. “I was in Singapore at that time working on a project when an instant messenger from my friend opened up a completely different opportunity for me. I came back to India and within a week’s time I was holding the appointment letter from Microsoft. I still remember being in a state of euphoria for the next few weeks. It had always been my dream to work at Microsoft, and out of the blue the dream had come true,” Radhika narrates fondly.

She joined Microsoft GTSC in 2003 as a team manager and headed various support teams for Microsoft products. This was a great opportunity as till then she had been working on various Microsoft technologies and was now providing technical support to others for the same. Also it allowed her to work with international teams, giving her exposure to cross boundary cultures.

Some time back, Radhika decide to shift the course of her career. Having grown quite comfortable in her job, she decided to do something new and take challenging roles and responsibilities. She decided to try her hand in learning and development and eventually took the final plunge. Currently as the field readiness manager, Radhika is in-charge of training and development of the 1,500 people across Microsoft GTSC and Services India- for the trainees to understand.

“As a field readiness manager, the constant challenge is to ensure that the trainee team is ramped up on the latest technologies as quickly as possible. The constant struggle is to move away from traditional training methods and find innovative ways of training and teach things that are relevant, can be learnt quickly, would help the trainees to use them in their everyday jobs, and help them grow in their career,” explains Radhika.

A strong believer in values like honesty, commitment, integrity, and sharing Radhika believes in leading by example. Especially in the case of women she advocates the added advantages of qualities like multitasking, self-awareness, and open mind to feedback. She believes that instead of trying to juggle different roles one needs to prioritize the different roles and responsibilities. “No one is a super human being and all that one needs is to prioritize one’s work. It also helps if one speaks with the management and seeks advice on opting for work from home, telecommuting, or working part time. When I had my child, my job needed me at times to stay over night as I was in charge of networks for one of the major accounts. Since my priority at that time was to be with my child, I spoke with the management and shifted into the role of head of incubation. This not only allowed me to have normal work timings but also explore a new work role,” she says. There are times when one has to take conscious decisions that might slow you down in the rat race but it is important not to feel guilty. Coming back to the talk of encountering glass ceilings at work, Radhika defies the existence of such a syndrome. Women usually tend to be perfectionists and always work on gathering all information before jumping into a new role or responsibility. Men on the other hand just ask for what they want. While men ask for an opportunity, women wait for one and often tend to miss the bus. We, women, must learn to voice our wants and once we prove our credentials, no one can stop us from succeeding in our career, she says.

Another factor that Radhika believes is important for a career woman is to build her network for influence. “If you play, you might as well win. A good network of friends and mentors always comes in handy as they will guide you in career and also give you feedback from time to time,” she explains. It has been qualities like this that have earned her various awards, the most recent being for the best leader in the Microsoft worldwide Readiness Group.

Though she works hard, Radhika also believes in playing hard. Once she crosses out the threshold of office, she makes sure she devotes all her time and attention towards her family and personal interests. Though in training and development the fact is she often does not get enough time to help her son with his studies. Apart from spending time with her family, Radhika also has varied range of interests that include artwork, cooking and movies.
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