(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)
Meenakshi Vashist is the Founder and CEO of Technology Uncorked. She is an Entrepreneur and a Technical Leader with experience of working in cutting edge, high technology areas in full-fledged hardware, software product development and semiconductor IC development for wireless, networking, telecom, automotive & consumer segments. She has an experience of seeding several business teams from scratch as well as leading organizational transformation initiatives at the global level.
What makes you do what you do?
I have always loved the challenges, which made me take up and succeed at what I call defining events in my life – choosing to study tech in a man’s world in the late 80s, starting a career in tech, in space research 3000km away from home in a city which spoke a language alien to me and always raising my hand to take up challenging and stress assignments at work despite marriage and young children to take care of. In two decades of engineering years, I found myself in a global leadership role in a leading technology company and yet felt I was searching for a deeper dimension to my life. That was the time I decided to enter into the world of entrepreneurship with a dream of setting up a woman led deep tech start-up in India and to take on the challenge of creating something from nothing and TekUncorked was born. I spent a year traveling across rural and urban India meeting young students and change-makers. Over 10000 students engaged with us over 4 years to help us evolve a lean and collaborative innovation methodology to solve operational and customer engagement challenges for micro, small and medium infrastructure led businesses in India through Internet of Things.
How did you rise in the industry you are in?
I have always chosen to do things that I am extremely passionate about and totally believe in. Passion drives me to give my best shot at anything I undertake. Belief makes me persevere and stand up every time I fall or face an obstacle, to give things another go.
Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
I founded TekUncorked to fill my dream of founding a deep tech start-up and someday put it on the world map. I want to challenge the norm and defy the perceptions that women can not seed and successfully lead a deep tech innovation business or be successful as tech leaders.
I am driven by a dream – a dream of building a world where machines talk to each other and the surroundings, take intelligent decisions to make the world more secure, safe, and comfortable – a world which minimizes wastage and enhances productivity to allow us – humans to be at our best.
Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work? How did you make a match if you did, and how did you end up being mentored by him/her?
I never had a mentor. I always seek my inspirations among ordinary people chasing extraordinary dreams. I have also been deeply influenced by the passion and the entrepreneurial journey of Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Paul Galvin. Besides, I am a fast learner. I learn from my own mistakes and mistakes of others and continuously work on myself to evolve, improve and go up the value chain.
Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?
I always look for young talent who is driven by passion and is looking for opportunity to do some great work with a great team. College fresh outs have to intern with TekUncorked for 6 months. That is the time we assess them on collaboration, ability to deal with ambiguity, passion, execution focus, and urgency to deliver. Strong focus on collaboration, creative opportunities, flat hierarchy, and an open culture which nurtures and recognizes innovation, learning and impact keeps our team energized and growing.
Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?
I consciously support diversity. I strongly believe that a diverse team strengthens our work culture, brings greater value, and creates a stronger impact on the work we do.
What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?
Perseverance, hard work, ability to spring back faster after every rejection and failure, constant learning, collaboration, strength to defy the norm and the status quo, and ability to smile and stay positive in the face of adversity.
Advice for others?
My focus is to take powerful IoT solutions offered by TekUncorked to eliminate wastage and pilferage and help create new revenue opportunities for infrastructure led businesses in India. We shall also continue to enable young entrepreneurs, change makers and innovators to drive impact and change for the segments they are working in, through our technology solutions.
If you’d like to get in touch with Meenakshi Vashist, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/meenakshivashist/
To learn more about Technology Uncorked , please click here.