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Supriya Padmanabhan - Managing Director, My Persona

  • Kaajal Ahuja
  • in
  • Mentors Speak
  • |
  • 28 Feb 2017
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Our Mentor for the week, Supriya Padmanabhan, the Managing Director at My Persona, is well known for her ability to connect with people, and surface in them the power of expression. Supriya, who was the former Vice President at RMG Connect – a Direct Marketing Division of J Walter Thompson, has over 20 years of experience in the field of communication.

She works creatively towards helping people communicate with themselves and the groups with which they interact in a way that’s transparent, yet productive.

My Persona, which she jointly founded with her Managing Partner Anita Gupta, helps professionals and firms realize and enhance their leadership pipeline.

In an interview with JobsForHer, she allows us a peek into her treasure trove of experience and knowledge…

1. Hi Supriya, thank you for taking the time to inspire our women and share with us your personal & professional experiences along the way. Tell us, did you take a break in your career? If yes, then what was the reason?

I did take a break in my career when my son was a couple of years old. At the time, I felt I was unable to do a good job at work and was not doing a great job at home either. Because of the discontentment, work was not so exciting anymore. So I gave up a corporate life to enjoy my family life.

2. As always, women stepping up to the plate! So then, what was the feeling like when you decided to return to the working world?

Coming back to work was tough. I did not want to go back to doing what I did earlier. In my time away, I had undertaken some courses and found that my interests had shifted slightly.

So, firstly, I was unsure what designation or job profile to look for.

Secondly, I did not want to work full time. The flexibility and freedom of being in charge of my own time was not something I wanted to let go of. Besides, I felt I may not have the stamina to do a full working day again. So I allowed myself to ease back into the workspace.

Finally, I was not sure I could report to someone and deal with corporate targets and confused clients, anymore! 

When you concentrate on what you want (and not the how), I believe that the universe conspires to give it to you. An ex-colleague and friend asked for help, and we began a business together. Today, I am doing exactly what I enjoy most. 

3. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were younger?

I wish I had experimented more, taken up weekend courses, attended seminars, gained a couple more certifications, joined some networking groups and stayed in touch with people. 

4. What would you say is the key to a successful career for a woman?

Stop thinking of yourself as a woman!  

Think of yourself as a human being - a person, first. A part of a large group of human beings – of people. Today, the whole world is creating segments on the basis of race, gender, nationality, religion…the list is endless! No one is simply a human anymore.

Even as women, if we began seeing ourselves as human beings first, coming to work, behaving and acting like normal people, THEN our strength and impact would make a visible difference. 

Don't label yourself. See yourself as a key player in the workforce.  It should not matter what your gender is. Do a good job. Be proud of yourself and keep evolving. 

5. Wow! I must say, 'that' sure is 'food for thought'. Is there anything your parents did for you that many parents don’t do, that had a lasting impact? 

They taught me to enjoy the journey, and not restrict it to the destination only. That’s something that’ll always stay with me. 

6. Beautiful. What is a habit or routine that you credit for your success? 

Doing a job list first thing in the morning! And ticking off jobs as they get done.

7. And coming to our last one for today, what from your experience is the best way to stay focused at work? 

 Take a break periodically. Walk around. Talk to others. Be curious, but also share your learnings with people around. 

If Supriya's forthrightness, has stirred within you a thirst to know more about a second career, then chat with the Mentor herself, in an online webinar, on Thursday, 2nd March, at 12 noon. To attend the chat, go here. 

Follow Supriya Padmanabhan on the MentorForHer page on our portal HERE.

About the Writer:

 Kaajal Ahuja is a commerce graduate, who worked in the field of Customer Support first at HDFC Bank, and then at Dell International. During her 11-year career break, she spent four years volunteering as a Teacher at a government-run educational institution and also ran her own enterprise – ‘Hey Gorgeous’ – alongside, for 8 years. It was during her break that she discovered her love for writing, and is now back, working part-time as a Senior Content Writer at JobsForHer. She is married and is an upbeat mommy to a 13-year-old.

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