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April - 2008 - issue > How I Got Where I am Today
Paving the path to progress
Jaya Smitha Menon
Monday, March 31, 2008
Vani Sharma, Director - Engineering, Citrix, brims with energy and brilliance. She represents the dynamic women in the industry who are moving ahead dynamically breaking the glass ceiling. Fifteen years back, when she started her career in the IT industry, the industry was in the nascent stage. But Vani had identified her area of focus, and she wanted to make a career in products domain because she saw a great opportunity to enhance her technical skills as well as to explore different technologies. Her decision proved right and today Vani is an accomplished engineering leader with indepth knowledge in the system software development area covering Windows, OS/2, and NetWare platforms, life cycle of enterprise software development.

A graduate in Electronics Engineering from the University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering in 1992, most of her career experience comes from IBM and Novell. She joined IBM as a developer in systems software division working on products built over OS/2 and Windows and handled successful project transitions to the Bangalore unit of IBM. In 1998 she joined Novell Software as a lead developer. She quickly grew from development lead role to engineering management and to senior management at Novell.

Vani has been an active management team member by taking up organization development responsibilities along with engineering responsibilities. At Novell, Vani was in the forefront of accomplishing the challenging goal of growing the engineering talent three fold in 2007. She joined Citrix a few months back and in her current role she takes care of the core development and testing activities of the core products of Citrix. She is also engaged in building the technical competencies of engineers in the company.

Vani has led the teams at technically challenging situations. In one such situation, when the team had to beat the competition in resource management space, they had to redesign a component for a product in a very sharp committed schedule; Vani led the team successfully to accomplish the task and encouraged the team members to file for patent around the technology.

Vani attributes her success to her strong determination and passion to achieve what she wants in life. “More than defining one’s goal and planning the career”, Vani says, “It is important to perform the current job well.” “One should concentrate more on the day-to-day activities and increase the competency level to exceed the expectations of your superiors,” explains Vani. Though a manager, she prefers to call herself a facilitator who provides a platform for her teammates to experiment, contribute, and excel in their job. In an age when managers find it difficult to delegate their work, Vani says that delegation is important for mutual growth. “A manager should use her powers to delegate and grow leaders within the team so that she can move higher and think of superior things to do”.

Apart from working with complex technologies and achieving milestones in her career, Vani also takes time to pursue activities of her interest. She enrolled herself in carnatic music classes after getting inspired by her daughter who was learning the same. As a workingwoman and a mother she feels time management is very crucial for women. “If you can properly prioritize your tasks and effectively manage the time you will not be plagued by the feeling of guilt that is so often found to stalk working women. This will help them not to compromise on both ends,” says Vani before she signs off.

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