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Malini Nambiar

General Manager, Industry Business - R & D of Schneider Electric India


Why tech is the best work domain for women

1.What do you think is the biggest reason that there are not many women technology leaders in India?

In India, lack of a strong support system and congenial environment at home are some of the reasons for a set-back in women's career. In addition to that, there are also unconscious biases at work with respect to women's growth. While women today have come a long way and there are many motivating success stories around, we at times still come across old school mindsets and biases which may become a roadblock. While all these are external circumstances, strong determination to go past all these conditions, if at all any; is a must-have attitude that women need to adopt.

2.How would you describe your journey from being a techie to a technology leader? 

My career journey has been exciting and enriching. I have always believed that hard work pays. It's not necessary to succeed in every step you take, but it is important to be perseverant, correct yourself as you go along and continue with grit.

3.We often hear women say that it is hard to keep a healthy work life balance in a tech role. How you have managed this aspect all this while?

Prioritizing well is absolutely necessary to strike a good work-life balance. Like I said before, everyone needs a strong support system for a successful career and you need to empower, delegate and groom the next level of leaders in order to help grow yourself and everyone else around you. Another very important aspect is to keep your health at its best; both physical and mental.

4.What are the drivers of change for women in technology?

They are:
• Excellent quality education for women as well.
• Advances in digitization, automation, robotics, cyber security and artificial intelligence, increasing jobs in the information and communication technology arena which is preferred sector for women instead of shop floors.
• Inclusive work culture.
• Flexible workplace to enhance work-life balance.
• Availability of mentors and role models.
• Identification and grooming of women talent.
• Realizing the need for a diverse perspective to evolve products as there is a rise in aggressive decision making by women consumers.
• Conscious efforts to work with the unconscious biases at workplace.

5.What unique qualities can help a woman become a successful techie as well as leader?

Technical skill-wise there is nothing unique to women alone, absolutely same as for all; there is no compromise to skill whatsoever. However, there are certain characteristics that women need to be conscious about, which help them improve their chances of succeeding and going places in their career.Along with being strongly engaged and persevering at work, being adaptable to changes, reaching out for opportunities & networking well, are some of the key points women need to pay attention to and work consciously upon - these are not something that come naturally to women. Additionally, corporates are taking a big leap to ensure congenial work environment for women; it is the responsibility of every women employee to acknowledge and honour these efforts ensuring no lapses on accountability.

6.Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

After working in R&D for 18 years, it would be interesting to understand the other side of business and work closer to the customers understanding the latent expectations. I want to be in position to establish a rich, loyal customer footprint for the global market, with advanced technology based state-of-the art products.In next five years, I would like to be in a position to be able to influence and drive such innovations from our product development teams.

7.What do you do after work?

I enjoy music. I am currently pursuing training in Hindustani classical vocal. I enjoy keeping fit and indulge in running twice a week. Badminton and swimming are part of my outdoor sports that I enjoy with my family. I practice mediation. Traveling to new destinations, learning new cultures and exploring new regions is something I look forward to and my work helps me keep this wish alive.

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