Varsha Anand : An Activist at Heart

 

JOB PROFILE: Currently working as the country head for strategy and planning in Avaya India, Varsha Anand plays a vital role in corporate planning and execution. She works on projects around topics which she says are close to her heart, like growth, sales process, people process, and vertical domain development. She is also a part of global team which implements Avaya projects on saales acceleration front, giving her a cross-regional exposure. Anand is also involved in strategizing future growth by collaborating with business leaders to execute the defined strategies as per plan to achieve revenue and profitability.

 

BACKGROUND: Born and brought up in Mumbai to a typical Maharashtrian family, Anand studied engineering from Sardar Patel College of Engineering and later went for a management course from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies. The lady is also a Six Sigma certified Black Belt, Business Excellence Framework assessor, and a LEAN practitioner.

 

 

GETTING INTO IT: Hailing from the family of doctors, Anand too was expected to make a career in the medical field. But, destiny had other plans. “I grew up in a family doctors, so the influence was obvious. Everyone in my family, including myself, wanted me to become a doctor. Things changed after 12th standard exams,” says Anand. Her tryst with the IT sector happened accidentally, a development which she now considers lucky for her. “I did not plan to get into the IT space, it happened to me by accident, but luckily the decisions I made turned out just fine for me. In the beginning, I got enamored by sales, customer acquisition process. Early success made me stick to it for many years, and gradually I got into all other business angles-non-sales divisions,” reveals Anand. Prior to joining Avaya, Anand worked with SAP labs. She started her career with Wipro where she worked for 12 years. The lady has also been associated with HCL and 3Com.

 

CHALLENGES TO THRIVE IN THE MALE-DOMINATED SECTOR: The young professional agrees that the industry is male-dominated to some extent, but adds that time is changing with more and more women venturing and making their mark in the sector. “It is definitely an industry which has a skewed male-female ratio at some levels. I would not really call it male dominated though. I personally know many women in the IT industry who are focused towards achieving their goals. Though the number of such women is not very large, they, however, have a significant impact in the industry. In fact, it is a privilege to be a woman in the IT industry,” shares Anand.

 

STRENGTHS: Confessing that she is still learning and honing her skills in strategy and planning, Anand reveals that customer acquisition and understanding customer domain are some areas where she excels. “My strengths include customer acquisition skills, ability to understand customer domain, and ability to convert that knowledge into design and implement business process improvements. Strategy and planning is something that I am trying very hard to acquire and hone. What has took me in good stead is continuous learning and determination to make things happen,” she says.

 

ADVICE TO WORKING WOMEN: ‘Never compromise on basics’ is the piece of advice that Anand wants to give to all the working women. She strongly feels that working ladies should balance their personal and professional lives, never taking their health for granted. “Women tend to face a lot of challenges like managing their health and their work together. It is important to realize that to work better, it is important to be healthy. Women need to take good care of themselves on all fronts. It is very important for them to set their priorities in line with the demands of their diverse roles. Women tend to compromise on themselves to cater to others, which in the long run can never work. My advice is never compromise on basics,” says the elegant lady.

 

BALANCING WORK AND LIFE: As Anand believes in striking a balance between work and family and emphasizes on a healthy lifestyle, she never misses out an opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family. “I firmly believe that it is important to balance work, personal life, and health. I am a work addict and never realized that all the stress was taking a toll on me. I realized that to be able to work better in the long run, I will have to change my lifestyle. So now, I try and spend maximum time with family, including my husband. We enjoy watching all the new movies that hit theatres over the weekend,” she says. Also, her love for animals keeps her busy in free time. “Another way for me to unwind is to work for a cause, for me it has been animal protection. I am an activist at heart and try and invest time in understanding its legal framework. I have got involved in some projects for the same,” adds Anand.

 

HOBBIES: Anand is a big movie buff and loves watching movies of different languages. “I love watching Hindi, English, and other international languages’ movies. I love music and dancing too. Besides, I like studying anything related to health and fitness,” shares Anand.

 

FUTURE PLANS: Being an ardent learner, Anand wishes to sharpen her skills in corporate strategy, planning, and other areas of IT in future. She says, “I plan to invest my time and attention in further skilling myself on corporate strategy, planning, and related topics. Continuous knowledge acquisition and applying whatever I have learnt so far is the key. I believe in constantly improving myself; it is a must for me.”

 

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