In a conversation with DQ Channels Sonal Puri, CEO of Webscale Networks Shares her Journey to success as a Woman Entrepreneur.
Webscale, an E-Commerce Cloud Company and pioneer in integrated web application delivery in the cloud. Delivered as-a-Service. An Indian talent-led US Cloud company headquartered in the US Silicon Valley, with development supported from Bangalore, is making mid-size e-commerce and enterprises a Godfather-like offer they can’t refuse: the world’s first and only integrated web application delivery solution that provides scalability, high performance, security and control in a single, powerful platform for mid and smaller e-Commerce and Enterprises. Experts in cloud technology and creating powerful solutions for mid-market e-commerce and enterprise customers.
The Challenges Of Being A Woman Executive In A Top Role
The challenges are just about the same as any executive would face in such a role, man or woman. Whether setting the vision for the company, hiring the best team to support our growth or raising venture capital to build the business.
I have a Masters Degree from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and a Bachelors Degree from the University of Mumbai, Sir JJ College of Architecture in Mumbai. My school years were spent across 9 different Kendriya Vidhyalayas across India.
I come from an army background and my father, Lt. Col (Dr) K.K Puri is a retired Army Colonel and completed his PhD when I was 20. His family is the well known Puris of Bollywood and he now lives in Mumbai.
My mother Renuka Puri was a graduate and was pursuing a law degree before she married my father and followed his career across many states in India. My sister Kanchan Puri-Shetty is a nationally renowned lighting designer practising in Mumbai and is also a Director, Webscale India.
I met my husband Gaurav Singh when we were at USC together and truly believe we are more together as a couple than as individuals. Through our careers, we have been partners, supporting each other through our decision making and providing counsel as needed. Our two children complete the picture and life is pretty close to perfect.
Working in Male-dominated field of IT
There is a tremendous imbalance in the numbers at every stage but especially in executive ranks and boardrooms. I’ve been very fortunate to work with some of the most forward-thinking investors, mentors and co-workers throughout my career, many of them men. I’ve certainly experienced a handful of situations where gender played a role but sidestepping it and choosing to take the longer route has worked just as well.
Does a Glass ceiling exist?
It more than likely does though I will say I’ve not felt exceptionally held back by it, perhaps because I’ve found myself fortunate in being well supported at home, in the workplace and through my career. Things are certainly harder for women in every way but we’re just that much stronger.
My hobbies are my work, my family and our home. Life doesn’t leave much more time or mental capacity for anything else but I truly enjoy travelling the world.
Continue to build Webscale!
- Your Fitness Mantra:
My husband and I walk our dog Bella every evening for about 3 miles. It is good exercise, gives us some time together to talk about our work, our lives, the children and our families. Bella makes the best personal trainer as she makes sure we never slack off, rain or shine, summer or freezing winters!
- Your De-stressing Mantra:
My kids’ laughter! Rayan, a 14-year-old high schooler and Reyna a 12-year-old middle schooler, both have a tremendous sense of humour and keep us laughing every day.
- Where you like to shop?
I shop online and only online. I do my groceries through an app, buy my clothes and our kids’ clothes from the same three stores and avoid going to malls as much as possible.
- Your favourite holiday destination:
I prefer somewhere new, unique places with historical significance. Earlier as a couple and then as a family, we’ve visited many places in the world including Israel, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Italy, China, Japan, France, Mexico, Canada and more. And our wish list for travel keeps growing.
- 5 things you cannot live without:
My family, my phone, a good book, my laptop and my car, in that order!
- Wake up at 6.55AM
- Morning activities: Pack kids lunch, drop them off at school, rush to work and get there before 9 AM
- Leaving Office at 6.10PM
- First half in office: Sales meetings, email and investor calls.
- Lunch: Almost always with the team around the lunch table eating my salad or at a work-related lunch meeting with a prospect, investor or customer.
- Post Lunch: Deep thinking, writing, planning for the next day.
- How you spend your evenings: With my family at home and with no TV on weekdays! After the kids go to bed at 9 PM, I catch up on some more work or on reading.
- Sleeping time: 11.30PM. I try and get between 7-8 hours of sleep each night because I find myself more alert and productive during the day. I’m also more fun to be around if I am well rested. I’ve survived on 4-5 hours in previous startups but that has led to significant stress and poor health and it is not something I would recommend. There is no glory in chronic exhaustion.