Meet Ashu Thangaraj, director of Engineering from Bangalore, India. In this post, Ashu shares her experience working as a leader in the tech industry and talks about her ever-growing passion for diversity in the workplace.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your role here at OpenText?
I am Ashu Thangaraj, and I joined OpenText as part of the HP acquisition in 2016. I spent close to a decade working at HP, and Infosys prior to that.
I’ve worked in the IT industry for over two decades working on various Product Development programs. Currently, I lead the CEM team in Bangalore where I oversee the OpenText Output Management Solution: a family of products that ensures the delivery of print jobs to output resources, like: printers, fax destinations, web destinations, email and more.
What inspired you to get into the field of Engineering?
Interestingly enough, science always use to intrigue me as a kid and I had a flair for mathematics. Logical and analytical skills were my key strengths. Also, growing up, I was exposed to a whole community of Engineers, many of whom I looked up to. Overall, I grew up during a time when India was a developing country and I could see multiple engineering problems still to be solved. This inspired me to take up Engineering and I am glad that I did.
What does a typical day look like for you at OpenText?
On a typical day at OpenText, I spend most of my time working at our Bangalore office, and then a couple of hours at home in the evening. Every morning, I like to make a plan for the day ahead. Then, I’ll reply to any urgent emails and check on the status of each project on the go. This is followed by a couple of meetings, mostly around the program that I lead. I am also passionate about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and I recently started a small initiative for this cause in the Bangalore office.
Tell us a little bit more about this Diversity and Inclusion initiative!
Shortly after I came to OpenText, I wanted to start an initiative that would complement the existing D&I programs that were implemented in our offices around the world. So, some colleagues and I got together and started one of our own! Our objective was to promote mentorship for women; we wanted to create an environment where women could be supported, encouraged and coached in their career journeys. We also wanted to see more women becoming brand ambassadors for OpenText. Our initiative took off quite quickly, and before we knew it, we had all kinds of industry leaders coming to OpenText to speak to our women employees and inspire them. I am proud to see this initiative grow, and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the years to come.
What do you love most about working at OpenText?
I love creating new ways to build solutions for our customers and also having the opportunity to give back to the community.
What has been one of your biggest accomplishments at OpenText thus far?
Even though I’ve only been with OpenText for just over a year, I feel like I’ve had the chance to work on so many incredible projects. Within the first few months that I was here, I was able to establish our Output Management Solution team–and together, we completed a major project in record time!
In March, we celebrate International Women’s Day. Why is this day important to you?
International Women’s Day reinstates the key role that women play in all areas of life–not just in their professional roles, but in their homes, their communities and in the global economy.
You recently attended the Grace Hopper Celebration in India. What was that experience like?
I’ve been part of the Grace Hopper Celebration from the very first year it started in India–as a member and also as a speaker. To me, the Grace Hopper Celebration provides a great platform for people to network, learn from one another and get inspired by so many senior women in leadership roles.
This is also a great opportunity to showcase our organization and display some of the cool work that the company is doing. Just to give an example: the first cloud based print service from HP was demoed at the GHC back in 2011.
Last year, the celebration was bigger than ever, with an even stronger focus on career progression–both in technical as well as leadership roles. It also covered some of the key innovations happening in the STEM field. I was honoured to be a part of it all.
Anything else you’d like to share about yourself and/or your perspective on diversity in the workplace?
By nature, I am truly a people person and that is always where I put my focus. While I’m a true believer in the power of technology, I’m also equally inspired by the power of people–both male and female. As a leader, it gives me great satisfaction to see my colleagues from different backgrounds come together to create such innovative solutions for our customers at large.