Anuradha Rao graduated from Osmania University and did her MS in IIT Madras in 1974.She was part of the debate team of IITM.She worked with Curtis Instruments before joining IBM as a project manager and has many patents to her name.
Lessons from her on being a Woman in a very Innovative Global Computer / IT Company–
1. Understand the power of influence in your work environment. Be prepared to assume leadership roles and influence the direction and outcome of any project you take up. Understand the Organizational Dynamics.
2. Be innovative and find new ways to solve old and new problems. As Albert Einstein says, ” To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle requires creative imagination and marks a real advance in science and technology “. Following this adage has helped me become a Master Inventor in IBM .
3. Be passionate about anything and everything you do and do not be afraid of failure. Failure is but a stepping stone to success.
4. Be appreciative of the diversity around you and embrace it. I think coming from India we see a melting pot of customs, languages etc. Leverage that advantage and appreciate the culture of the country you live in ( USA in my case). You can assimilate and still maintain a unique identity.
5. Last but not least, communicate well with everyone, be it coworkers or family members.
My time at IIT Madras prepared me well for my future life in USA and the corporate world–
I was in IIT Madras from 1974-1976 and lived at the Sarayu hostel. It was without a doubt one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. I was the only woman in my class and learnt to work well with men from the start. I appreciated their perspective on different issues. This prepared me to work well in teams that are male dominated ( Hardware Engineering, Business roles etc). However being the only female in the class also taught me to be independent, self-reliant and to stand up for myself when needed.
I remember with great fondness all the people I met and the friends I made in IITM. Like many others, I was away for the first time from home and as such everything was an adventure. Late night discussions at the Gajendra circle, movies at OAT on Friday nights, early morning rides to Adyar beach to watch the sun rise, walking in the deer park, fighting the monkeys in the hostel with buckets, all of which are the different stitches in the rich tapestry of my experience at IITM.
A group of us who were in Sarayu during that 2 year time frame have kept in touch throughout the years and now meet once a year in USA. Whenever we are in India we try to get in touch with the other Sarayuites there. We have developed a very strong bond while in Sarayu, that has withstood the test of time and distances. We have all struggled with work life balance, climbed corporate ladders, successfully raised our families and compromised when needed. IITM played a very strong role in shaping my life and making it more meaningful through the friends that I made there.