In our Women in Tech series this week, we feature Gayathri Vaidyanathan, Director of Software Engineering at Lowe’s India. In 2010, she took a break from her career and returned to the industry after seven years, taking up an internship with Target. Her hard work has certainly paid off.
Rising Above Career Break Challenges
In 2010, Gayathri Vaidyanathan made a life-altering decision to take a career break, which extended to seven years. At the time, she was at a crucial juncture in her profession, boasting over 12 years of experience, with 10 of those years spent at Lucent, working on cutting-edge projects in the rapidly evolving information technology (IT) industry. A career break of this magnitude might seem daunting, especially in the fast-paced world of IT, but Vaidyanathan’s determination and resilience propelled her back into the industry.
“After my break, I had to restart my career as an intern at Target. The office was in Bengaluru, and I would travel during the weekends to be with my family in Hyderabad. I must admit that there were times when I felt whether it was worth it or whether I should give it all up and be happy in the comfort of my home,” she shared in an interview with HerStory. –Breaking Barriers: Gayathri Vaidyanathan’s Inspiring Journey to the Top in Tech
Breaking Barriers: Gayathri Vaidyanathan’s Inspiring Journey to the Top in Tech
Despite occasional moments of self-doubt, Vaidyanathan persevered. She recognized the demands of being a homemaker and the value of engaging intellectually and contributing to her family and herself. “It was important to do justice to my capabilities, what I trained and built my skill sets for, apart from being financially independent,” she said. – Breaking Barriers: Gayathri Vaidyanathan’s Inspiring Journey to the Top in Tech
Embracing Continuous Learning
During her seven-year break, Vaidyanathan remained connected to technology through tech blogging as a freelancer, focusing on emerging technologies. She also became a certified Scrum Master, delving into the agile methodology. Additionally, she mentored school and college students in programming.
When she left her job at Lucent, where she served as a technical specialist, and joined Target, she transitioned to a different domain, retail. While there were overlaps in skills, she acknowledged the need for continuous learning, relearning, and unlearning in her new role. –Gayathri Vaidyanathan Inspiring Journey to the Top in Tech
Vaidyanathan’s career has always been characterized by continuous evolution and learning. She became the first engineer in her family after earning her BE in Electronics and Communication from the College of Engineering, Guindy, in Tamil Nadu in 1998. She holds an MS in Telecommunications and Software Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Challenges in a Male-Dominated Field
Reflecting on her early career, Vaidyanathan recalled the initial challenges of being one of the few women engineers. She emphasized that while opportunities were limited, the challenges were more societal and environmental.
“It was not easy for women at the time to work for 16-18 hours like they do today if the job demanded it. Access to resources or the internet was not so common. Even having internet access at the office was huge. And staying for longer hours was the only way you could have access to these,” she said.
During her tenure at Lucent, Vaidyanathan was part of the Bell Labs’ India Product Realization Centre in Hyderabad, where she worked on groundbreaking projects in telecom. Despite the challenges, she found inspiration in working alongside seasoned professionals who were passionate about research and development.
Leading the Way in Tech
In 2020, Vaidyanathan joined Lowe’s India as the Director of Software Engineering. She currently heads the Sourcing (Customer Promise) Engineering division, where she is responsible for ensuring the brand’s fulfillment promise to customers is met. This involves tracking product availability across various channels and optimizing order fulfillment locations.
While the tech industry is witnessing more women entering the field, Vaidyanathan believes that reaching leadership roles can be challenging, often due to societal expectations where women are still predominantly caregivers for children or the elderly. However, she emphasizes the importance of prioritization and time management, allowing women to strike a balance between work and family without guilt.
“Opportunities are sometimes missed because one doesn’t want to ask for help. Women should be able to make choices without feeling guilty and advocate for what they want,” she said.
Championing Women in Tech
Vaidyanathan encourages women to seize opportunities and not fear failure. Networking with a diverse group of people and peers can provide valuable perspectives and insights on tackling life and career challenges. She also underscores the importance of returnship programs and initiatives that support women in restarting their tech careers.
“At Lowe’s India, we have a Do-It-Herself program, our flagship women’s internship program for those who want to restart their tech careers. Some programs help women come back to work after their maternity leave. There are targeted training programs for women leaders, and the company spends a great amount of time, resources, and effort to ensure that it’s a diverse and inclusive environment,” she explained.
As a mentor to aspiring engineers, Vaidyanathan encourages them to invest in their personal growth and advocate for themselves. She believes that everyone should identify what makes them happy and pursue it without regrets.
In conclusion, Gayathri Vaidyanathan’s inspiring journey is a testament to resilience, continuous learning, and the pursuit of one’s passions and dreams, regardless of career breaks or challenges. Her story serves as an inspiration to women in tech and beyond, reminding them that they can champion their cause and achieve their goals.
At Madhav Fashion, we believe that empowerment knows no boundaries. We are not just a brand; we are a community that thrives on celebrating the incredible achievements of women from all walks of life. Today, we are proud to shine a spotlight on the inspiring journey of Gayathri Vaidyanathan, Director of Software Engineering at Lowe’s India.
In our commitment to empower women and showcase their remarkable stories, we have initiated a special program dedicated to highlighting the achievements of women like Gayathri Vaidyanathan. We firmly believe that every success story deserves a platform, and we are honored to provide that space right here on our official website, www.madhavfashion.com.
Madhav Fashion stands as the biggest Embroidered Fabric Manufacturing brand in Asia, and our dedication to excellence goes beyond fashion. We understand the importance of acknowledging and sharing the stories of women who have overcome challenges, shattered glass ceilings, and achieved their dreams.
Gayathri’s story is a testament to resilience, determination, and continuous learning—a journey that mirrors our own pursuit of excellence in the world of fashion. We invite you to read her inspiring story and join us in celebrating the spirit of empowerment.
Source and Inspired: yourstory