Emerging Leader Spotlight: Monica Bajaj

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Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what she is doing to take the lead in her career. We invite her to share how she achieved her current position, what obstacles she encountered on her climb, as well as tips for how to be a rising woman of influence.

This month we shine the Emerging Leader Spotlight on Monica Bajaj, Director of Engineering with Perforce.

Monica Bajaj: Emerging Leader Spotlight talking about her careeer pathFavorite Quote:

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” — Sheryl Sandberg.

Why did you choose your current career path?

Growing up, I was always focused towards analytical and creative thinking. Math, Art and Science were always my favorite subjects. As a result, I got into Computer Science, did my Masters at IIT Bombay.  Having a passion for interacting with people, I started my career as a Faculty in Computer Science at the same institute where I did my undergraduate degree. After few years, I decided to move into the corporate world. I landed a software engineer position and moved to the United States 19 years ago.

Mentoring has always been close to my heart. I wanted to try new challenges, explore other parts of the world and improve my skills.

During the course of this journey, I got an opportunity to land a position in the world of management. It was definitely a different beast. When I made my first transition into management, I didn’t have a clear idea as to what I was entering. I had vague feelings around challenges of managing people. I also wanted to evaluate myself and see if I could do as good a job as my mentors did throughout my career. The blend of technology and management experience, as well as the learning and support from peers and mentors have stretched my thinking. It has refined my skills over the course of this journey. I am learning each day as I am moving along.

What is the most important thing you have learned that has been critical to your career success?

I strongly believe in 3 Ps:

• Purpose for solving problems,
Passion for our customers, and
People whom you can mentor, support and learn from.

These are the three big elements which have been critical to my success. I am extremely grateful to the people (especially my parents and my grandfather) who encouraged me and helped develop and shape me for my career, which I cherish today.

What is your leadership style?

Being confident and believing in your own self-worth is the recipe for success in achieving your potential. Never hesitate to sit at the table, even if you are the ONLY woman in the room. The first step is always hard but utilizing your experience can be the key to showing your value.

The other element of leadership is “Never hesitate to speak up”.  Always remember that growth and comfort do not coexist and if you can be comfortable being uncomfortable, you’ll be prepared to handle whatever situation comes along in your own life.

What are some top tips you can recommend to other emerging leaders?

As we are all aware, technology jobs are still very male-dominated. Most of the women give up their careers or ambitions as they start rising up in the chain due to multiple challenges. Women need to realize that they are gifted with the management and multitasking skills in the form of a daughter, mother, wife, mentor and a professional.  Here are the few traits that have been helpful for me:

1. Be fearless.

2. Always ask for more, be it work, promotion or any other opportunity you strongly feel about.

3. Do promote yourself, and take the lead.

4. Expand your circle of influence. If you are passionate about something, lead by example and be receptive to feedback.

5. Life is full of surprises so keep your priorities straight. Growth and comfort do not coexist, hence keep a good balance between the needs of your personal and professional life.

Stop by and connect with Monica on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Angie Klein

As Operations and Marketing Manager, Angie Klein is responsible for maintaining the day to day operations of Women’s Leadership Coaching, Inc. and Be Leaderly.com. Angie manages all aspects of training program logistics, registrations, SEO, social media engagement and customer service.

Follow @kleina2012 on Twitter.

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