Kalpana is passionate about contributing to women's growth in technical field and she extended her warm support to talk to us and provide encouragement to be positive, brave and above all..happy! Read her interview to know more.
Thank you Kalpana for opening the group with your valuable words.You are certainly our pillar of strength!
An introduction: Professional background, family, interests
I have 29+ years of industry experience and have been with IBM for last 19 years. I have been with India Software Lab(ISL) since its inception in 2001 and have played key leadership roles across functions in growing the lab to its current level.
Born and brought up in Bangalore, I have completed my Masters Degree in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1982, after which I embarked on an 11-year career with PSI Data Systems.
Family - I am married to a Chartered Accountant, have a son who is 24 years old and stay with my extended family which includes my mother-in-law.
I like listening to old hindi music and read a lot and mostly fiction.
What made you choose a career in technology? Can you explain how you guided your career to be where you are today?
When I was in doing my undergraduate degree, I had a friend who was always talking about a post-graduate degree course in Engineering in the premier Indian Institute of Science (IISc) at Bangalore and that she was applying for it. So I just went along, took the entrance test, got through it and joined the Bachelor’s course in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. I also went on to do my Masters in Engineering from IISc itself. Thereby, a chance discussion and a lot of encouragement and support from my parents, my father in particular, took me along this path and here I am enjoying a career in technology!
How have you balanced your professional and personal demands simultaneously?
I like the current term a lot better - "Work Life Integration" than the work life balance. It has been a challenge given that we work in a global company. I try to keep the week-ends for my family and be there for important events or testing times. I ensure I am there when I am most needed. The flexibility work options provided by IBM are useful. I also built a good team with the team members having a strong mutual trust - this team contributes to each one managing work and life.
Our health tends to take a back seat due to work and personal commitments. What are your suggestions for nutrition and fitness?
I believe that if the woman in the house stays fit and healthy, she can then ensure the others are healthy too. Health is one area where we must lead by example. Personally, I try and make time for walking, and I try to walk a lot! Also, have been interested in Yoga and have picked it up in the last couple of years.
Any advice on women who choose to pursue a career in technology?
Given our education and experience we have the skills to take up a career and be successful. But the challenge has been on who we think is responsible for our career. Personally I feel we are equally responsible as our manager and the organization. But first and foremost we have to decide “to want a career” and learn to look at work as not a physical place but a state of being, of integration with our regular flow of daily life. Career in technology is great place to be today - given the changes that are happening and how much technology is influencing our daily lives and also the various business. Opportunities are many. Go for it.
In addition, Focus on Personal Excellence, never be satisfied with what you know, Integrity, Positive Attitude are important; try to maintain good relationship with people you work with; Never hesitate to ask someone to teach you what you want to learn and keep continuously learning.