Meet The SHEROES - Aruma Kansal, Knowlarity Communications
Aruma Kansal, Product Manager at Knowlarity Communications speaks to SHEROES.in today:
How was your childhood like? Could you tell us about your backgound--your education, early work, etc?
Being an only child, and a daughter, I was super-pampered--not just by my parents, but also by my extended family. My father was a renowned pathologist and my mother an architect. My path was pretty much decided before I took my first step.
I, however, had a completely different plan in mind. Technology has always enthralled me--from my first Nintendo machine to all my latest gizmos. What sealed my decision on a career was growing up in an era of the fastest evolution technology has ever seen. The first time my parents brought in one of those landline phones with a caller ID display, I was hooked!
After finishing my bachelors in technology, my mother allowed me to work with her to gain experience. In the architectural world, I learnt to work with creative, yet introspective, minds.
The next step for me was to hone the skills I had picked up thus far. I decided to pursue post graduation from the London School of Economics with information systems management as my major. This, along with my internship in Deloitte, meant that London helped me interact with people from multicultural backgrounds.
After my master’s I took up a job in Deutsche Bank, London as a business analyst. My strong desire to work on the soil of my roots brought me back to India. Snapdeal gave me an opportunity as an associate product manager to jump into the craze that e-commerce is. I got to work with some financial giants like American Express, Citibank and PNB Housing Finance Limited.
How long have you been associated with Knowlarity? How has your experience in this profession been?
I have been associated with Knowlarity for a little over six months now. The journey, though short, has been a great learning experience for me. Every step has allowed me to push myself further and and it has been a good learning experience. I'm amazed to see how the company has grown in the last seven years, and it has so much to offer.
What are the core products / services offered by Knowlarity? In your daily scope of work, what are some of the challenges you face and some of the things you are inspired by?
Knowlarity Communications, with its flagship product SuperReceptionist, brings cloud telephony within the reach of small businesses, empowering them by helping them run campaigns, manage their calls and reach out to their customer base in a more organized fashion.
Working in a start-up--a tech-firm at that--has its own set of challenges. The foremost is keeping pace with the dynamic nature of technology: Navigating and mastering the complexity of products, projects, processes, teams and communication, the possibilities that cloud telephony brings to the masses in India--all of this ensures we have our work cut out for us.
Keeping all teams in sync and up to date, prioritizing the features and fixes you need to work on, identifying opportunities to reuse and synchronize projects, items and components to reduce risk and save time, struggling to delight business customers while juggling overtaxed resources and tight deadlines are some of the challenges we face on a daily basis.
In the midst of all this craziness, the thing that inspires me the most in my day-to-day work is seeing the sparkle in the eyes of people around me when we reveal the latest feature we have added to the product. A very recent incident which my colleagues and I draw major inspiration from was the disruption of telephone lines which affected our data centre in Delhi recently. With a third of our business in the dumps, all teams came together in an unprecedented way--the sales team worked on support lines, tech team worked with communications and even our customers took a stand for us on social media. People stayed back in the office for 96 hours in a row, sleeping on couches and bean-bags.
What is a typical day at work like for you?
There is no typical day when you work in a start-up. Each day comes with a new shade added to Picasso’s painting that my role is here. Constant brainstorming and dynamic work environment are the norm at work. I like it too, because it keeps things interesting and I love a good challenge. Life at work is never boring!
As a working woman professional, what are your thoughts on work-life-bank balance?
Work-life balance... it is a tricky thing, not taken seriously enough by the population of this country. Men and women work extended hours and sacrifice their social life without beating an eyelash. Women just split the same hours into office and family chores when they get married. The next promotion or familial needs have us running around ticking checklists all our life.
It is important for us to find time to nurture life with more than the basic material needs. Stop, take a breath, plant a tree, play catch with your child--these are the things that ensure a happy home. Sadly, the ever-elusive aim of achieving a perfect 10 on the work-life balance scale is a dream not many achieve--more so in a marketplace as competitive as India.
I'm one of the lucky few for whom this balance is a tad easier--a major reason for which is the endless support I receive from my husband and family. The support system and sharing of responsibilities--both at work and at home--is the most essential part of keeping the balance intact. As a child, I have seen my mother always maintaining the perfect balance--something that helped me reach to my current position.
What message would you give younger women joining the workforce today?
The message is short and simple: Don’t pick a career based on ‘saleability’, pick it based on passion. And once you finish studying, join a company that ticks all the things on your checklist, not the other way round. And when you do start working somewhere, give it your best. Be excited about the work you do and always stay grounded.
Find time for your family too. And finally, marry and have your own family when you are truly ready. Understand how important the balance between work and family is and be prepared to choose your priorities in life.
collated by Paroma Sen