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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.
Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.
Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others.
A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications.
Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.
Priyokumar Singh Naorem
He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.
A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.
She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.
Purna Chandra Mahato
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.
Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.
Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.
Concept and Direction
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
Michelle serves as Vice President of Americas Growth Marketing, Global Segments and Industries, and Global Partner Marketing at Cisco Systems, the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. She leads a team of marketers who integrate with sales to capture market share, accelerate growth, and strive to deliver an amazing customer experience. Michelle has been a leader at Cisco for close to 20 years. While leading with marketing innovation and cutting-edge technology, she believes strongly that keeping the human touch in marketing achieves customer loyalty. Leading and empowering her team to grow, take risks, and get out of their comfort zones is at the heart of how Michelle operates.
Interviewed by Nimish Vohra
// In a recent research study conducted by Grant Thornton, it was reported that only 29% of senior management positions in companies are occupied by women. What are your thoughts on the gender gap in the corporate world?
We have seen advancement in recent years, with females holding executive positions in technology companies and corporations.
However, barriers such as gender bias can prevent women from being considered for senior leadership positions. At Cisco, we hold the core value of inclusivity and diversity in everything we do and are dedicated to protecting equality of all people inside and outside the workplace.
// Have you faced any challenges as a woman in a senior leadership position? How did you overcome them?
I like to approach a challenge as an opportunity, but there are times when the challenges can overwhelm. To manage these challenges, I focus on the factors in my direct control, which usually anchor on three things:
// What steps can organizations take to improve gender diversity across all levels at the workplace?
Companies can approach a culture of inclusivity in several ways. The first is to ensure equality is one of the core beliefs in the company, exemplified by senior leaders and upheld through all levels of management.
Host virtual events which focus on women’s leadership and career advancement. To uphold inclusivity, male senior leaders should be encouraged and welcomed to these events, deepening their understanding of developing female talent.
Mentorship programs providing women opportunities to network with senior managers are also valuable initiatives that build organic opportunities within the organization.
At Cisco, we host learning programs that encourage young women to pursue career pathways in STEM industries to help crush the gender barrier.
When equality becomes one of the pillars of your company culture, you create an environment where women are openly encouraged to envision their career pathways, supported by a network of mentors, coaches, and leaders.
// Is there anything you would like to bring to the attention of your male counterparts in the corporate world?
I recently read an article on Leanin.org that shared how males and females attribute success. Men tend to believe their own qualities and skills have brought them to where they are, while women credit external factors like ‘getting help from others’.
This tendency results in women becoming undervalued, losing confidence and drive to put themselves forward for promotions and stretch assignments.
Leaders need to ensure women are given acknowledgement for good work and provided opportunities for advancement.
// How has COVID-19 affected your work-life balance?
I used to travel very frequently and extensively. My husband and 10-year-old daughter became used to this lifestyle, and we worked our family balance around my travel schedule. Once the COVID-19 pandemic gained ground in the U.S., internal travel was suspended at all levels. I found myself at home with my family – like many others – with restrictions on activities and outings. At first, this was a huge adjustment for each of us! But all in all, I have really enjoyed the increase in our family time at home. I force myself to step away from my laptop in the evenings and use cooking as my creative outlet.
// Has your company’s business strategy changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, how?
In the last year, Cisco has focused on ways to support customers, enable partners, and protect our people in the right way. Our primary focus was not to sell; rather, it was to help customers uphold business continuity and support our communities and governments through our technologies.
We coordinated with heads of state and government agencies to keep their economies, medical professionals, and schools productive while ensuring public safety. With help from our partner network, we brought video conferencing and networking solutions to communities that needed the communication infrastructure to survive.
One year on, our goals remain the same: to solve our customers’ issues and enable them to communicate securely through technology.
// What are your thoughts on remote work processes in your organization? Will this trend continue even after the pandemic is over?
I truly believe remote work – to a certain portion of the population – is here to stay. We are not out of this pandemic yet in most of the world, and entire populations have adapted to a productive work-life balance by connecting remotely.
Students have been forced to embrace remote learning, and remote and hybrid models are evolving to sustain longevity. The corporate world has had to shift a large portion of in-person events to virtual experiences, and we are now scaling best practices to show other companies how to engage customers with a personalized experience.
While the world waits for widespread vaccination, we have embraced a way of doing business and living life in a remote setting.
// If you could share one piece of advice with other women in the corporate world, what would it be?
Authenticity is the key. Ensure that you are acting in a way that is true to yourself.
Acknowledge the problem and be open to learning
Roopal Shah, Vice President of Distribution Enablement, Salesforce.org
Building professional relationships is key to growth
Linda Palus, Former Global Vice President, Digital Marketing & Ecommerce, NewAge Inc.
Facilitating gender equality in the workplace
Lucille DeHart, Former Director (CRM, Marketing Strategy & Business Development), Bed Bath & Beyond
Eliminating gender bias starts with children
Nicole Summitt, Vice President, Field Marketing & Events, Sprinklr
Women need to be forthright about their achievements
Danita Belcher, VP of Global Contact Center Sales, RingCentral. Inc