The Journey: Early Days to How I Got Here
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Women City

Sheela KL

Sheela KL

Vice
President
– Global
HR,Collabera
The Journey: Early Days to How I Got Here
I hail from a third generation entrepreneurial family. Growing up in the steel city of Visakhapatnam, I loved and cherished my childhood with four siblings. On the professional front, I have been working for over 15 years in the corporate sector – in the areas of HR consulting, Business-human resources and Learning &Organizational Development.I have had good supervisors and bad – and I have been both too. I have also had good employees and bad – and been both of those as well. I have dealt with annoying co-workers and demanding customers. I have hired and been hired, managed and been managed. As a result, I have a good understanding of both employees and company concerns and can easily relate to a lot of workplace situations.

Insight of My Company and the Role I Play in it
Collabera is a US $440 million fast growing, end-to-end information technology services and solutions provider working with leading Global 2000 organizations from the Financial Services, Communications, Media, Manufacturing, Retail, Energy and Utilities domains. Collabera delivers highly responsive and innovative solutions that help clients align their IT strategy with their business goals to address the most important IT needs through a combination of consulting solutions, proprietary methodologies, assets based services and Collaborative Engagement Model.
I lead the all-encompassing Human Resources function at Collabera.

Decisions That Mattered
I haven’t allowed myself to get involved in a routineto the point that I experienced a burn out. I've always been the type of person who thrives on new assignments, so that I stay motivated and interested. Four jobs in fifteen years has been a window to the corporate worldand more importantly,understanding people at their work and heralding their development.

My Vision as a Leader
“To every man there comes a time in his lifetime, that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered that special chance to do a very special thing, unique to him and fitted to his talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified to do the work which could have been his finest hour.” - Winston Churchill
To support and prepare people for their finest hour is how I envision my role as a leader. Take river Ganges for instance – itkeeps flowing, opening new paths, cleansing, healing, connecting,nourishing...it never runs dry. To my mind, this is the kind of infectious strength a leader should possess; this is more than mere positional power.

Resolving Challenges Faced as a Women
I sometimes had difficulty choosing between two equally good ideas –thechoice to get married and have a family or chase the dreams to live on myterms while remaining single,either live in India or make a living in a foreign land.
These challenges were my moments of truth, steering me to be clear and stay focused all through.
My parents always a feeling in methat their girls could do anything they wanted to do, as long as they didn’t catch a cold or a cough!
My guiding principle is:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." - Reinhold Niebuhr.

Work - life Balance
My philosophy on work life balance is simple. When one enjoys the work, the issue of work life balance has minimum relevance.In some scenarios when work may not be where one’s "calling" is, then there is a need to create a work-life balance that lets one pursue their "true self" more outside the confines of the workplace, even if this means less hours and less income. And less income means facing the resources to give them that freedom through better planning, and  acceptance of a simple and frugal way of living. It is all possible, especially if it's in the pursuit of finding and sustaining one’s true sense of self.
Every person needs time out, whether anintrovert or extrovert, single or committed, young or old. Solitude is time for rejuvenation and self-talks, for peace and for realizing that purposeful "aloneness" is not a bad place to be, but rather, a liberating part of your life.

Starting Over from Scratch, What I Would Like to do Differently
Measure my progress and adjust the career plan accordingly. My motto in life is to be Flexible!The plan is a living document – it will change as I learn more about a new career, my circumstances change, and I need to make new decisions along the way;making sure I am on top of how any decision will affect the whole plan – the budget, the time line and the final objective.
Golden rule I believe in: Look back with pride, look forward with enthusiasm.

My Learning Along the Way
One hour of practice beats a day of theory. The learning is,to get ready for the dead ends and not get fluttered with small glitches. A lot of it in life is trial and error. More often than not, when one hits a bump in the road, and sometimes falls flat on one’s face, be prepared to understand and accept that this is a part of the process, and commit to getting right back up and starting over.
It's not going to be easy – it never has been for anybody – but if one learns to see that as a chance to prove how much one wants to discoverhimself or herself, then we will find fulfillment and security in the pursuit. When you are yourself, everyone will respect you more. Best of all, you will always feel good about yourself and this will reflect onto others, making them feel even more certain about your sense of self.

Two Years Down the Line
I thoroughly enjoy developing new avenues and methodologies for employees’ career development, especially in the areas of leadership development. On the vocation, I would love to spend time with professional colleges in tier II cities and help them bridge the skills gap from college to corporate.

An Accomplishment You are Most Proud of?
Quite early in my career, I have had chance to hire candidates from outside the organization, recruiting someone within the organization to join my group, spotting a talented person who was a couple of levels down within my team and then placing people into positions that motivate them, allowing them to function at their natural best, to be freed up to produce well and collaborate positively. It is most fulfilling for me to know that they are all doing fine in their personal and professional lives.
I learnt to move on quickly from my past accomplishments, because new mountains are always more interesting to climb.

Advice/Suggestions
Design a career change journey that will allow you to change your destination.
Youmight have an idea in your head about the career and retirement you want. It may not be perfectly focused to begin with.. Hindsight is 20/20 vision, but foresight is not! So plan your transition in such a way that you have a bit of flexibility and stay relevant at the same time.
Ask yourself every question in the book. Ask yourself the questions that are difficult.
"What do I want to look back on in my life and say that I never regretted?" Would you regret never having traveled abroad? Would you regret never having asked that person out, even if it meant risking rejection? Would you regret having married? Would you regret not investing in a relationship? Would you regret not spending enough time for yourself when you could? Would you regret your child’sabysmal performance at school? Answering them will help –the earlier the better.


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