“AN ODE TO WOMEN OF SUBSTANCE” – SANDHYA PENTAREDDY
Voylla.com has started a special 7-part series celebrating women hood. In this we will feature one influential woman every day. Here these ‘women of substance’ will share their achievements, their challenges and also a word of advice for all budding women entrepreneurs and leaders
Sandhya Pentareddy – Executive Director at VIT, India
Q1: Every women dreams to be successful and famous. You are someone who has managed to create a niche for yourself, so please share how was your journey so far? The Challenges & the Achievements?
Dreams are not static. They keep morphing as one grows. The dynamism makes life more interesting. I started out with passion to build outstanding engineering and software products. My software career has been fulfilling. When my customers were happy and my companies saw the fruits, I felt satisfied through the impact I made. As a manager, I could increase that impact many fold. After climbing the career ladder and after a certain point, there was a yearning in me to give back to fields that were more fundamental and mattered more in a sense. That led me to my second passion – the quality of higher education. The transition from software to education and from US to India has been interesting. Even though the analytical and management skills from my past experience helped me, the transition taught me many new things. I couldn’t take timeliness and disciplined work environment for granted anymore. There were internal and external politics to deal with. The heterogeneous environment brought its own challenges. But at the end of the day, it feels good to survive a different kind of world.
Q2: Its said that we should keep on striving for more because if we stop we stagnate, so what is the next milestone you are aiming for?
I am now working on establishing a Private University in Bangalore, under the outstanding VIT banner. I’d like to make a difference in the way students learn. I’d like to make studies joyful and fruitful. This involves a redo of how we teach and learn. It also entails an attitude adjustment among administrators, teachers and students. In five years from now, I would like to see VIT-Bangalore provide such an atmosphere, where people enjoy learning and take pride in their work and outcomes.
Q3: I think most of the women have faced this challenge of maintaining a perfect balance between work-life & personal-life. So, we will like to know how you strike a balance between the two?
This is not too hard. The trick is to not do it all yourself. Don’t strive to be that super woman, but strive to have better outcomes. Delegate at the office (but effectively) and delegate at home. Make your family members aware that they too are responsible for the household work and chores. Let everyone pitch in. Seek help where you must. Hire help where you can. You’ll also be helping provide employment for some, this way. After a long day of work, don’t come home to spend precious time cleaning and cooking. Spend your time on quality things while delegating mundane matters to the extent possible.
If you are a working woman, and there are kids, husband, in-laws or parents at home expecting you to wait on them, you are not managing your life well. There is a difference between waiting on them and helping them. Do the latter which will be good for everyone.
I think the challenge of achieving work-life balance ought to be the same for men and women. It wouldn’t be any different for women if men played an equal role at home, or if you let them do so.
Q4: There are so many budding women entrepreneurs and leaders you are trying to make it big, any word of advice for them?
Dare to dream. Believe in yourself. Keep a cool head. Be realistic about outcomes and timelines. Be proactive. Remember the good old SWOT for it never goes wrong. Be willing to adjust and adopt. Be there for your colleagues. Work hard to achieve your dream. Above all, learn every day and teach some.