Women City

Veena Padmanabhan

Veena Padmanabhan

Director -
Talent Mgt
& OD,Schneider
Electric
The Journey: Early Days to How I Got Here
I did my graduation from Delhi University and my post-graduation from XLRI. I have 18 years’ of experience predominantly in IT industry and across various Corporate and Business HR roles - having started my career with Wipro in 1994 and currently with Schneider Electric since mid-2011. Over the course of my career, I have tried to explore the different facets of the larger people function by being open to different roles – hiring to line HR, capability building and M&A. The most interesting area I have worked on has been in harnessing employee interest in areas around Sustainability – for the environment.

Insight of My Company and the Role I Play in it

Schneider Electric is a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in energy and infrastructure, industrial processes, building automation and data centres/networks, as well as a broad presence in residential applications. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, and efficient, the companys 130,000 plus employees achieved sales of 22.4 billion euros in 2011, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations “Make the most of their energy.”

At Schneider Electric, I work as Director – Talent Management & OD. The primary responsibility of my role is to create a high performance culture and identify and nurture talent.

Decisions That Mattered

In hindsight, I would say that I was open to different roles, locations and businesses which have helped me become a well rounded professional. I am curious and like to know more about the businesses, and therefore the impact of the people and processes in the success of any team and organization.

Vision as a Leader

To do the right thing – however difficult it may be, be it in personal or professional capacity. Challenge as a leader is how to create the space and trust for people to do the right thing.

Resolving Challenges Faced as a Women

I have always seen myself as a professional first. Yes, there are situations which remind you about your gender and it has almost always been outside of the office.  In the early days I got used to Placement officers in different engineering colleges looking at the door expectantly to see someone else walk in (maybe a grey haired male!) and sometimes even asking me if someone else was accompanying me.  And yes, on some occasions I have learnt to be vigilant especially when travelling alone.

Work- life Balance

We all face challenges in finding time for all that we want to do, be it work, the demands of family or pursuit of hobbies and interests. I don’t view work and life as separate, and like everything else, there never is a perfect balance all the time. Sometimes work takes precedence, sometimes pursuit of hobby and sometimes the family. But as long as there is a passion and commitment to do all of them well, one will able find the time.

Starting Over from Scratch, What I Would Like to do Differently
I would perhaps not have taken myself as seriously as I think I did in the early days of my career. I would still like to give my best as I tried to, but in a more light hearted manner.

Women Leaders: Driving Force for Powering Business
There are more women working today than ever before, be it in organizations or running smaller firms, small businesses or give their time and talent to causes of social relevance.  This brings diverse perspectives to any organization and ensures that organizations do not fall into the rut of being uni-dimensional. However, like all things, this diversity needs to be managed well and thoughtfully for the above value to be realized.

My Learning Along the Way

Persistence and patience – there is no alternative mantra! I believe that if you stick with these two, success will follow.

Two Years Down the Line

I would see myself spending larger amounts of my time on solving the sustainability challenges that business will confront.

An Accomplishment You are Most Proud of?
On the professional front, I was extremely proud of taking on a consulting role for a year in the Sustainability area.

Advice/Suggestions
Follow your passion and paths open up.

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