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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.
Liza Adams is Vice President of Category Marketing at Smartsheet, a leading software company that develops cloud-based work management solutions. With over 20 years of experience in the B2B technology domain, Liza is a transformative marketing leader and has a successful track record of taking companies to the next level of growth by building and leading teams through business transformations. Prior to joining Smartsheet in 2020, she held leadership roles at Pure Storage, Brocade Communications Systems (acquired by Broadcom) and Juniper Networks, among other organizations.
Liza lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, two children and furry child (a yellow Labrador). She enjoys running, fitness classes, volleyball, international travel, family vacations, photography and crafting.
Interviewed by Ritu Josan
// 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?
Gender gap stats for senior management positions show how far we have come. But they also show how much more work we have to do, particularly as we tackle the backslide from more women leaving the workforce or scaling down their work during the pandemic to support their families. I believe we need to focus on ensuring that we don't continue to lose ground and erase the progress that we have made over the past few years. Providing more flexible work schedules, continuing to provide women with management training and opportunities, and fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for women are low hanging fruit for companies to action.
// Have you faced any challenges as a woman in a senior leadership position? How did you overcome them?
Like many women in senior leadership roles in the tech industry, it is not uncommon for me to be the only woman and, in my case, the only person of color in a team. There have been several instances when my work, as well as my team’s work, was subjected to more scrutiny and pressure testing, intentionally or unintentionally. I have felt the pressure to consistently perform to meet a higher standard and prove my worth. It is par for the course given that my roles have been at the center of helping companies through transformation.
The need to be “on,” be prepared to defend, be self-aware and make adjustments, navigate ambiguity and uncertainty, learn and move on quickly, believe in my abilities, and build relationships to bring others along consistently require daily practice to gain mental strength, resilience and confidence. As they say, everything we need to know we learned in kindergarten — practice makes perfect. Believe me, I am far from perfect and there were/are tough patches. So I keep practicing every day until it gets a bit easier, especially as my team and I bring others along on the journey and deliver results.
// What steps can organizations take to improve gender diversity across all levels at the workplace?
The challenge is complex and multifaceted. So the steps that organizations can do to improve gender diversity are too. It starts with recognizing and acknowledging the problem, committing and resourcing to act upon it, taking action and being transparent as well as accountable to enable progress across the board — from recruiting, to training and mentorship, to flexible work schedules, to creating opportunities, to investing in our early childhood and youth STEM programs, and so much more.
There are many experts in this field who know much more than I do. However, where I believe most organizations can improve is in working together with other companies, communities and the government — share and learn from each other, combine efforts and leverage each other’s strengths, affect public policy together, and more. United efforts also have the ability to weather storms more easily. As the saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” But the option to go alone, in my opinion, is not an option with gender diversity. We have to go far to make our efforts last, not just for the current generation but for generations to come.
// How has COVID-19 affected your work-life balance?
It was quite a shift in my routine when we all started working from home, given that I was a road warrior based in Colorado working for Silicon Valley-based companies. Honestly, I enjoy being home with the family now. But like many, it has been hard to create a separation between work and life during the pandemic. The days are long, starting with calls with folks in the East Coast early in the morning and continuing late West Coast time.
Here are some things I am doing to create some level of separation, get more out of time and create a bit more of a balance:
And for myself, I have found a way to fit in exercise during long workdays. I work on a desk (with my laptop, notebooks, mobile phone and cup of hot matcha) that my husband made to fit on top of my treadmill. I can usually get 2-4 miles of walking per day while working. I am also working hard to block off “work time” to avoid filling the workday with back-to-back Zoom meetings and “doing the work” on nights and weekends.
// Has your company’s business strategy changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, how?
I joined Smartsheet in February 2020, just four weeks before we started working from home. I joined the company because I was inspired by its vision of changing the way people work to make an impact on businesses, communities, the country and the world. I saw a direct correlation between my role in making Smartsheet relevant in the enterprise and that vision.
I have always been passionate about a transformation journey. What I did not anticipate was how the pandemic would shine the spotlight so clearly and brightly on the need to change the way people work. We not only had the opportunity to grow Smartsheet's business but, more importantly, COVID-19 created an opportunity for us to genuinely help where it was needed the most.
We saw an acceleration of our relevance in the enterprise and also in the impact of Smartsheet's strategy of empowering the workforce to work dynamically with a work management solution. In unifying collaboration, workflows and content management, companies used Smartsheet to help their employees be engaged, productive and agile as the business world pivoted to a fully remote work environment.
That said, our customers’ work — enabled by Smartsheet — was far more impactful. Our customers kept employees informed and safe with up-to-date HR resource hubs, managed blood tests to assist with COVID-related research and other testing, tracked protective equipment supplies and fittings, created new business processes to pivot from in-person transactions to online-only, reallocated resources to temporarily support new business motions like making masks or enabling online learning, evolved business processes for better customer experiences, and more. Our customers’ work truly makes a big difference in the world and that gives me purpose in my work every day.
// What are your thoughts on remote work processes in your organization? Will this trend continue even after the pandemic is over?
Much has been written about remote work continuing and being the new normal for many companies even after the pandemic. Ironically, given Smartsheet’s business as an enterprise work management platform solution, we were able to adapt and thrive in this remote environment probably better than most.
One of the biggest challenges for many organizations is that the way we work has changed but the tools we use to do the work and manage the work have not. To effectively compete, businesses must work dynamically. We need to simplify, streamline and integrate how work is initiated, managed and delivered by people and teams. That is at the core of what Smartsheet does. The future of work is about empowering individual users and teams to innovate as part of a dynamic workforce. This can help create action, initiate workflows and make an impact.
// If you could share one piece of advice with other women in the corporate world, what would it be?
Know that each one of us is a powerful being with the power to choose how we feel and control how much power we give others over us. We can lead with confidence, humility and compassion when we don’t let others bring us down, don’t allow someone’s opinion of us to determine our self-worth, don’t hold grudges, are not afraid of criticism or judgment, and we fear less and love more, especially ourselves.
I give myself the above advice as well and I work hard every day to do this. But it is easier said than done! I am super grateful to have the support of many to help me do this. In fact, this is an ongoing journey for me.
Acknowledge the problem and be open to learning
Roopal Shah, Vice President of Distribution Enablement, Salesforce.org
Equality needs to become a pillar of company culture
Michelle Chiantera, Vice President of Americas Growth Marketing, Global Segments and Industries, and Global Partner Marketing, Cisco Systems
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