At 38, Abhinaya Vedula deputy general manager, SatNav Technologies, has had a dynamic career. But it was a tough ride as in the first few years of her career her colleagues at work would doubt her talent and abilities.
"As a young woman people don't take you seriously. The attitude towards young women at workplace is like she is so young, what kind of work experience does she have. Actually young inexperienced women are not taken seriously at the workplace," says Abhinaya.
However, she was always confident she would prove the naysayers wrong. And today she has emerged as a strong individual ready to take on any challenge.
She also had a successful stint as an education entrepreneur in the US -- she has a degree in Child Pschology from Chicago University and Masters in Education from University of Washington, Seattle -- which she wound up after seven years because she and her husband wanted to expose their two children to Indian culture."
In a telephonic interview with Prasanna D Zore, Abhinaya spoke about her career, success mantras and the values she abides by in her life on the eve of International Women's Day.
Your experience as an entrepreneur...
Initially it is hard to convince your family especially when you are talking about certain investments that have to come. I think it is always easier for a guy to decide that this is the money and I am going to invest it.
While convincing my family was a challenge, once I got them on board I asked for a certain amount of money. In about six months I actually started doubling their money, tripling it, and it became a pretty big enterprise. I started my business with just a thousand dollars and six months later I invested another US 15,000 dollars.
How did you manage work and family?
I wound up this company 7 years later because my husband, two sons, and I wanted to come back to India.
10 years back cities like Hyderabad were not very developed. Today MNCs from across the world are coming and setting up shops here. Today there is hardly any lifestyle difference between the US and the metros in India. My husband and I wanted to expose our children to Indian culture, learn a couple of languages, to see our rich ancestry.
We took our sons to our villages and showed them the beauty and culture of rural India. The kids loved it.
Values your parents taught you...
My mom has been a very good influence on me. My father is very outspoken and that's the trait I've taken from him. I always express what I feel; be it at work or in my personal life. That has got me into little bit of trouble sometimes but I was taught to be upright. That is something I have guided myself by.
The other thing I learnt from my parents was to contribute to the society. My father would always ask me as to what was the reason for one's existence. Life is not just meant to be a wife, mother or a father but to do some good for the society.
These are the two basic principles that have helped me life.
Success mantras at the workplace as a woman...
As a young woman people don't take you seriously. The attitude towards young women at workplace is like she is so young, what kind of work experience does she have. Actually young inexperienced women are not taken seriously at the workplace.
However, the way to overcome it is that every woman must take her own initiative. It is important for women to get involved and make a change within their group or division or right across the organization. You can't just limit yourself and say if it does not concern me I am not going to get involved. Take the initiative, make a difference, get involved and show that you mean business. And within a span of a few weeks people will sit up and start noticing you.
Always challenge yourself to learn something new. I learnt this from my dad who, at 70, asks himself 'what new thing did I learn today'. Day-by-day, month-on-month, year-on-year you have to keep on assessing yourself. Understand your weaknesses and sincerely work towards mending them.